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Since 2003, Railbookers has been operating out of the U.K., providing customers with multiple-destination train journeys. In 2013, the tour operator opened up a branch in Los Angeles. Now, the company intends to work with U.S.-based travel agents to bring its brand of rail travel to North American clients.
“The most important company value for us is customer experience,” said John Hale, director of marketing and communications for Railbookers. “When you travel, it has to be an experience. People want to have the holiday of a lifetime, to their exact specifications, so we do absolutely everything to ensure that.”
Making Rail Travel Easy“Booking train travel in Europe as a member of the public is, in some cases, almost impossible,” Hale said. “The majority of operators’ websites are in different languages, and a lot of them don’t even have a website. Also, the majority of rail providers in Europe don’t release their schedules until three months before travel.” However, Railbookers’ established relationships with rail providers allows the company to coordinate travel across multiple destinations, in addition to extra excursions, to create the exact rail journey clients want.
Commission IncludedRailbookers also offers agents a competitive commission rate.
“Commission starts at 11 percent or higher, and the commission we offer is from the total booking value, so it doesn’t matter if there are any extras added,” Hale said.
Selling What They Know“Our employees take three fam trips per year,” Hale said. “The training process for us is much slower than the typical travel company. It’s not until between six and 12 months that we really open the majority of our product to our sales consultants.”
These trips ultimately help influence the company’s offerings, Hale says.
“There’s a new tunnel called Gotthard Base Tunnel running in Switzerland that goes from Zurich to Milan,” he said. “Along the way, there’s an hour-and-a-half of fantastic scenery — probably some of the world’s best — and it’s our travel consultants’ knowledge that allows clients to experience that.”
24/7 Access“One of our main values as a company is global excellence,” Hale said. “We have four offices around the globe [in Los Angeles, London, Sydney and Auckland, New Zealand], which means that if we have a client traveling, it doesn’t matter what time of the day — their agent will have someone to call.”