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John Vavrina, vice president of sales for Railbookers, believes in the power of train vacations. They provide clients with the unique experience of enjoying a country’s landscapes from one city center to the next, he says, and they are more immersive than flying.
Insider access, flexibility and extensive connectivity are just some of the features that characterize a booking experience with Railbookers, a brand within Yankee Leisure Group. In addition to train transport, Railbookers also provides accommodations, excursions and more throughout a guest’s journey — often at special discounted prices not available to the public. Depending on the type of package booked, guests are free to customize their preferences, as well.
Railbookers’ portfolio of offerings includes several countries in Europe — such as France, Italy and Switzerland, among others — in addition to destinations in North
America, Asia and Oceania. And now, clients can book three new vacation packages in Japan.
Here, Vavrina shares his thoughts on these recent additions.
Why did Railbookers expand in Japan?We noticed a trend of travel advisors needing a solution for independent travelers to Japan. We aim to be that solution for agents who are working with those clients. We are “the travel advisor for the travel advisor” — the goal is to take the complexity out of booking independent rail vacations.
How does Railbookers help agents who are planning a Japan trip for clients?We have the ability to move quickly and meet demand where it is strongest. What’s more, we are able to combine all the components of a vacation package in one booking. From accommodations, rail tickets and transfers to sightseeing, cooking classes and unique experiences, we do it all.
How will these vacations provide an off-the-beaten-path experience?Through Railbookers, clients explore not just Japan’s major cities, but also its outer areas. These new itineraries provide authentic, immersive experiences in the most sought-after Japanese cities, and our customization options give travelers a greater degree of flexibility for their independent exploration.
How does Railbookers make booking more convenient for both agents and their clients?Railbookers gives advisors the ability to book their clients on train vacations 24 months in advance, including pricing and schedules. Gone are the days of giving a client an estimated rail price, then having an uncomfortable conversation a few months prior to departure about how the price has increased once the rail tickets are released to the public. We make it easy — it’s one-and-done.
What type of clients are well-matched to a rail vacation?There are many motivators for independent travelers. Many clients travel by train for the scenery and the views that they would not have the opportunity to observe if they were flying on an airplane or doing a “white-knuckle” drive in a country in which they do not speak or read the language. Others travel by train for the comfort and convenience of being able to go from city center to city center, as well as for the ability to get up and stretch their legs whenever they like. All seem to like the independence and nostalgic appeal of train travel and enjoy avoiding the hassles of going through airport security or encountering road rage on congested highways.