Clarissa Mattos, Eurail marketing manager, Americas & Pacific, was in Toronto this week to provide an update on the company’s performance in 2016 and highlight some of the changes that are taking place this year. Despite an overall drop in Canadian market sales last year, Mattos said that there were clear signs of recovery, bolstered by the emerging popularity of destinations such as Spain and Portugal.
The introduction of a longer pre-booking period, Mattos said, had proven hugely successful. It allows customers to purchase their Eurail Pass up to 11 months in advance of their trip, giving them the opportunity to book the pass at the same time as booking flights to their desired starting destination. She said that it had helped contribute to an ‘extraordinarily good December for Canada,’ giving customers 11 months to start travelling after availing of that month’s offer of 20 per cent off.
Other notable news included the increase of the age for the youth category to 28 and under, a policy which began in January this year. This reflects Eurail’s continued commitment to its youth segment, which Mattos said contributed to 39 per cent of sales in 2016 at the original age cap of 25; recent years have also seen the introduction of a First Class option for the Youth Pass. Mattos said that Eurail youth fares allowed savings of up to 35 per cent off the standard adult price; she also highlighted the continuing popularity of its children travel free policy, which allows children aged 11 and under to travel free of charge.
Mattos noted the emergence of new destinations that had partly offset the dent in sales caused by unrest in Europe over the past two years; Spain and Portugal, in particular, she said, have proven extremely popular. She said that Eurail had never offered greater choice, with 22 one-country passes now available, and hailed Eurail’s recently announced partnership with Eurostar, which means customers can now use their Eurail Pass on Eurostar trains. This, she said, would greatly facilitate travel between London and mainland Europe.
The variety of options on offer, Mattos said, is demonstrated by the introduction of new products such as the Italy-Switzerland pass, which allows travellers to experience both countries over 4, 5, 6, 8 or 10 days in two months. Meanwhile, Eurail’s current promotion offers travellers 1-5 free extra days to travel by train, depending on the length of trip; although the offer expires on March 31, 2017, the Eurail pass with extra days’ travel can be used at any time within 11 months of purchase.
Finally, Mattos urged travel agents to keep their eyes peeled for further news on Eurail in the future, noting that the company’s eagerness for agents to experience its products meant that special rates and discounts were often on offer for travel professionals.