Eurostar, the high-speed passenger train operator between the UK and mainland Europe, achieved sales revenue of £178 million in the first three months of 2010 up more than 5% from £168 million for the same period in 2009.
Passenger numbers totalled 2 million in Q1 this year, up from 1.9 million in the first quarter of 2009. Interestingly, the number of travellers from overseas markets outside Europe increased by 22%.
The number of leisure passengers travelling between the UK and the continent went up by 6% with 1.76 million people travelling in Q1 this year compared to 1.65 million in the same period in 2009.
The ‘bottoming out’ of the business market that began in the latter part of the last year, continued in the first quarter, with sales broadly the same as in Q4 2009.
Eurostar corporate structure
The move to restructure Eurostar from being a partnership between three railway companies to a single unified corporate entity is well advanced. Eurostar’s shareholders (London & Continental Railways, SNCF and SNCB) have now signed a Framework Agreement enabling the final stages of the restructuring of the business to take place.
Nicolas Petrovic, who recently took over as CEO of Eurostar, said:
“I am very pleased that we are moving closer to the new corporate structure which will streamline decision-making, deliver consistency of service standards across the three countries and ensure that the business is well placed to compete in an open access world.”
Making connecting travel seamless
To make travel to additional destinations smoother and easier, Eurostar is trialling a service with SNCF whereby Eurostar passengers can travel between the UK and Provence, connecting through Lille, in specially reserved coaches on connecting TGVs. Through-tickets can be booked quickly and easily on eurostar.com
To ensure that their journey is as seamless as possible, on arrival at Lille, passengers are given advice and directions for their onward travel. Tickets for travel to Lyon and Marseille on the connecting services are on sale now for travel from 1 June and prices start from £109 return to Lyon and £119 return to Marseille1. Over the coming months, Eurostar will seek feedback from passengers, and if the service proves popular, will look to extend it to other destinations.
New loyalty programme
Eurostar has also introduced a new leisure loyalty programme, Eurostar Plus, which provides cash-back to passengers who travel on leisure tickets. Eurostar Plus offers customers the further option of earning points by booking travel for friends and family as well. With this online scheme, travellers collect 1 point for every £1/1€ spent on Eurostar travel booked via eurostar.com. Customers will receive a £20/20€ e-voucher for every 300 points they collect, which can be used to book future Eurostar travel.
“Whilst there is still uncertainty about the economic outlook, we have seen a big increase in leisure travel over the last three months, not just from the continent but from overseas markets,” said Nicolas Petrovic. “We are also seeing growing evidence of travellers wanting to switch from plane to high-speed train for longer, connecting journeys. Ensuring that our customers can enjoy seamless connections to other destinations on the continent is a key priority and we are committed to making that experience easy and efficient.”