RAIL Europe launched yesterday its new B2B online portal for South-east Asia, giving travel agents in the region access to the company’s range of European rail products.
Agents will be able to book rail passes offered by Eurail, BritRail, Swiss Passes and France Railpass among others, as well as domestic and international point-to-point tickets offered by Eurostar, TGV, Thalys, AVE, FrecciaRossa and other train operators.
“We are launching this new B2B portal with a South-east Asian focus to respond to the demand from our strong GSA network in the region, as well as the outstanding sales result achieved”, said Rail Europe CEO Pierre-Stéphane Austi.
Between January and July 2011, Rail Europe’s bookings from Asia increased by 60 per cent. In South-east Asia, its Vietnam business saw a 91 per cent jump, while there was also significant growth from the Philippines (71 per cent), Malaysia (59 per cent), Singapore (54 per cent), and Indonesia and Thailand (both 28 per cent).
Dynasty Travel, Rail Europe’s Singapore GSA and appointed handler for its B2B and B2C operations in Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, will provide support for agents using the new online B2B services.
Juliana Gan, general manager outbound travel with Dynasty Travel, said: “Other than leisure travellers, corporates will be an important clientele for this B2B platform.”
Gan said her corporate clients, which include the likes of Hogg Robinson Group and American Express, were more inclined to use rail instead of air connections in Europe. “High-speed rail travel in Europe is faster compared to travel by air, plus it is more comfortable and saves on check-in time,” she said.
“It is also more accessible, especially in Germany where the industrial areas have little plane access.”
Meanwhile, Rail Europe’s Asian flagship retail outlet opened in Hong Kong in May (TTG Asia e-Daily, May 16) has resulted in a 50 per cent increase in bookings from the Hong Kong market since the launch, according to Austi.
“The operation was an experiment and has been really successful. The 10 queue lines at the retail outlet are always occupied with consumers,” he said. “We plan to open another retail outlet in Hong Kong next year.”