With the 2016 UEFA European Football Championship fast approaching, and with rail travel an ideal way to get to matches, ITTN asked Kelvin Dunk, Sales Manager, Voyages-sncf UK, how Irish travel agents can best avail of the company’s services.
Do you expect the UEFA European Football Championship in France from 10th June to 10th July 2016 to generate many bookings from Ireland?
As a nation of sport lovers and enthusiasts we are expecting a lot of interest from Ireland – and with over one million match tickets having been sold already customers are eager to organise their train travel for next summer. Travelling by train is the best way to take in all the action with frequent train services, travelling from city centre to city centre. We have even developed our own dedicated web page that will provide all the essential information needed – and more, including a map showing all the venues, a UEFA 2016 timeline listing trains that can be booked for the games, and a contact us area where agents will be able to contact our rail experts for further information.
How can agents start booking with Voyages-sncf?
It is really very easy: just go to www.voyages-sncf.eu. On the first visit simply click on the country tab and choose Ireland from the drop-down box. On the main homepage click on the ‘Register’ tab and complete the registration. It only takes a few minutes and we will normally activate your account within 48 hours.
How significant is the recent addition of Deutsche Bahn services to the Voyages-sncf.eu portfolio?
Thanks to the new partnership with Deutsche Bahn, the German national rail carrier, this allowed us to offer an increased product range and was a great addition to our portfolio of products. The majority of Irish travellers will start their journey with a flight into Germany, and with many German airports having their own stations the network is a great way to travel around. Not only does our website allow access to domestic German rail but also cross-border trains, national and international services, including the high-speed ICE services, which connect German cities, travelling at up to 186 mph. ICE services also connect German cities with destinations in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria and Denmark.
Will Voyages-sncf have promotional fares over the coming winter season?
Winter is a time of year when the European rail carriers like to showcase their products and there is no better way than for them to offer promotional fares. In previous winters we have seen various promotions, and there is no reason to think why this winter should be any different. It is dead easy to view any promotions that may be applicable: simply visit our website www.voyages-sncf.ue and click on to the promotions tab. Alternatively drop us an email at Ireland@uk.voyages-sncf.com with contact details and we will then keep you up to date with all of our promotions, activity and competitions.
How far in advance do Irish travellers book their rail tickets – and should it be different?
Irish travellers vary in the period of time in advance of travel of which they book their European rail tickets. For the leisure market there is a tendancy for the travel to be booked well in advance as soon as the trains become available. This allows for more choice of train and fares where the price is more critical to the traveller. For business travellers journeys are booked closer the date of travel, sometimes weeks or merely days before travel. This is where the e-ticket and TOD facility available on our website assists with those quick getaways. In general, the earlier the train ticket is booked the cheaper the fare is likely to be.
Finally, what is the best way for agents to learn more about you?
It is key for agents to have the product knowledge to assist them when booking continental rail travel. We realise the importance of this and have invested in our training programme. Our training course has been designed to help agents learn all there is about European rail: the benefits, the destinations, services and how to book. The course will take you through five quick and easy modules, making you an expert in no time at all. To get started simply visit www.beaeuropeanrailexpert.com