Rail Europe has made the transition to its new brand identity of Voyages-sncf.

Travel agents and tour operators will be able to find information on European rail travel and make bookings on behalf of their clients via the new dedicated trade website www.Voyages-sncf.eu.

Voyages-sncf.eu now provides a distribution network adapted to the needs of the UK’s ever evolving travel trade. This is backed up by the trade sales team, based at the company’s UK head office in Kent. 

A new E-Learning platform will be launched, offering agents the opportunity to develop their knowledge and expertise in European rail travel through an informative and fun series of modules, testing their knowledge of European destinations, train operators, routes and travel styles.

Paul Lacey, head of trade sales at Rail Europe Ltd said: “Agents and operators are listening to their customers and becoming more willing to offer rail travel as an option for their clients. We’re seeing an increase in the number of rail inclusive packages that are featuring in major tour operator’s brochures, as consumers become more familiar with the benefits of travelling by train. With the transition to Voyages-sncf.eu, we are now better positioned to capitalise on our current strong sales position.”

Results of a recent survey carried out in advance of the rebranding show that although rail travel is still quite a niche market, one third of adults questioned would consider travelling by train on their next European holiday. This reflects the growing interest from the travel industry in including rail travel options in their programmes.

Public perception of the benefits of rail travel is positive; almost half of those surveyed think that travelling by train to Europe would be more enjoyable than flying, while nearly two thirds of people questioned think that train travel would be a fun adventure. The same number agree that it is better for the environment.

When asked to state which of the four most commonly used forms of travel to Europe they would find most stressful, only 7% of British adults thought that the train would be the most stressful travel option for their holiday in Europe, compared to the 79% split across plane, car and coach travel. With city centre to city centre travel on modern, high speed trains, passengers can enjoy a quick and comfortable journey to their end destination, without the need for lengthy and expensive airport transfers.

Yves Tyrode, Director General of Voyages-sncf.com group added “The development of Voyages-sncf.com into a truly pan-European brand brings benefits to everyone involved. The integration of Rail Europe into the Voyages-sncf group, allows us to capitalise on their current strong position in the UK market. Their experience and knowledge of the requirements of the British travel trade, coupled with the group’s technological expertise will help us to communicate more effectively with British agents and tour operators, to make it easier for them to find the information they need and to book their European rail tickets quickly and simply for their clients.”

Other key survey findings include:

· The train appears to be high on the radar of those thinking of taking a city break in the next year with nearly half saying they would consider travelling by train to Europe in the next year.

· Potential skiers also have a strong tendency to consider rail travel with 57% saying that they would consider travelling by train to Europe within the next year.

· 66% of British adults think that travelling by train would be a fun adventure.

· 55% of people thinking of taking a city break in Europe have travelled by train when they have travelled to Europe in the past.

· Nearly two thirds of people who are planning a ski holiday in the next year have travelled by train to Europe in the past

· 67% of people who found plane travel most stressful have actually travelled by plane to Europe in the past, while only 36% of those who chose the train as the most stressful option have actually travelled by train.

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