Gullivers Travel Associates (gta) are launching a new online rail booking tool enabling travel agents in Asia, Australia and the Middle East to easily and instantly book European rail passes for their customers. Agents are gaining access to this tool at a key time given the upcoming World Cup football event to be held in Germany in June 2006 and the resultant demand for travellers from these regions to travel to Europe.
Historically, booking rail passes has typically been laborious and time consuming as agents had to make bookings by phone or fax. With this new online tool, agents will not only save time and increase productivity, but no prior training is required thanks to the self-guided booking process.
According to the Eurail Group, overall demand for European rail passes increased by 24% in 2005, representing a 19.4% increase in revenue. The North America and Asia-Pacific markets drove the majority of this growth.
“Rail is clearly an increasingly popular mode of transport particularly for travellers from the Asia-Pacific markets when travelling in Europe and we wanted to develop a more user friendly and efficient way for travel agents to book these passes,” said David Littlefair, General Manager, Gullivers Travel Associates, Thailand.
“In a world of falling commissions and lower margin travel content, our online rail tool provides a great opportunity for travel agents to increase their revenue,” he added.
“We are delighted to offer our agents this new online booking tool,” said Littlefair. “Agents are typically spending a fair amount of time booking tickets manually and I am confident that with this new tool our agents will be able to offer their customers a more efficient service, as well as simplifying their back office processes.”
Travel agents will be able to access the new online rail tool through the existing gta powered booking systems including Octopus Travel Retail and Wholesale Booking Systems and the Galileo Leisure Portal.
This new online booking tool will complement gta’s existing hotel inventory and their unrivalled ability to secure increasingly scarce accommodation during this year’s World Cup event in Germany. With less than five weeks remaining before the opening match in Munich on 9 June, room availability is tight.
“With many hotels applying strict conditions to bookings during the World Cup period, we have negotiated the most flexible conditions on behalf of our customers, and combined with our existing ground services including airport transfers, sightseeing tours and even concert tickets and restaurant reservations, gta will prove to be an excellent distribution channel of choice,” he concluded.