The partnership, officially launched today at IBTM World in Barcelona, gives international event planners the freedom to book multi-stop journeys from mainland Europe to British destinations on the Eurostar and Virgin Trains networks through a ‘one-stop-shop’ booking experience.
The new booking service provides ease of access and strengthens route connectivity, opening up new MICE destinations including Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester, enabling groups to discover more venues, attractions, heritage and culture in cities beyond London.
Event planners will also be able to book out carriages or trains for their MICE events at discounted travel rates and can change or transfer tickets between delegates.
VisitBritain’s Head of Business Events Kerrin MacPhie said:
“We are excited to be part of a collaboration to drive growth to more destinations across the UK for the international MICE market, giving event planners and their delegates the chance to easily explore our wider business events offer.
“This new booking experience provides convenience for the MICE market, easing the planning process and encouraging more international meetings to take place right across our nations and regions. Travelling is part of the meeting experience and offering seamless transport options positions the UK a step closer to being the leading destination for international MICE events.”
Simon Tyler, Head of Sales at Eurostar, said:
“We are pleased to extend our MICE offer working with Virgin Trains to make it even easier for groups to discover a wider range of destinations. Our dedicated MICE experiences have proved popular since they launched this summer, with passengers able to relax and enjoy tailored activities in their exclusive Eurostar carriage. We look forward to launching this partnership and offering even more MICE travellers a journey to remember.”
Head of Offline Channels for Virgin Trains, Adrienne Nankivell, said:
“This partnership provides the ideal solution for the business traveller searching for the best way to travel between destinations in the United Kingdom and mainland Europe.
“By creating a ‘one-stop-shop’ booking service we are able to offer a convenient way to travel for both individuals and groups who want an excellent customer experience. We are very much looking forward to developing this service and helping to drive international business to the United Kingdom.”
Groups can choose from three travel classes and exclusive carriage services offered on both networks, including branded headrests and cushions as well as a variety of catering options.
Eurostar’s MICE initiative, which can now be booked through Virgin Trains, also offers tailored on-board experiences based on the event or destination delegates are travelling to, with activities including cheese and wine tasting, learning about the latest beauty trends and taking part in history-led art classes.
Eurostar and Virgin Trains are part of VisitBritain’s ‘Great Launches in Great Britain’ stand at IBTM celebrating ‘big’ market initiatives for the UK MICE market. Other partners on the stand include; The Event Complex Aberdeen (TECA), opening early 2019 following a £333 million investment; the International Convention Centre Wales (ICC) which is a joint £83 million venture between Celtic Manor Resort and the Welsh Government; and Blackpool’s new £25 million conference and exhibition centre, Blackpool Winter Gardens.
VisitBritain promotes business events worldwide under Events are GREAT, part of the UK Government's GREAT Britain campaign. Events are GREAT drives awareness of Britain’s destinations and products, highlighting its history of research and high-quality infrastructure, positioning it as a leading destination for business events.
Notes to editors:
- VisitBritain, Eurostar and Virgin Trains announced the collaboration at a press conference at IBTM, at 12pm on the 27 November, 2018.
- The new booking experience is available from the 27 November, 2018. For more information or to book email MICE@eurostar.com, visit eurostar4agents.com/mice or call the Eurostar contact centre on 0344 8224 800.
Eurostar is the high-speed train service linking the UK to destinations across Belgium, France and The Netherlands. From its early days of operation Eurostar has championed the environmental benefits of high speed rail and the switch to sustainable modes of transport for short haul travel. A Eurostar journey from London to Amsterdam emits 80% less carbon than the equivalent short haul flight making it a clear choice for the future of travel in Europe.
Customers travelling by Eurostar can enjoy a range of benefits including:
- Seamless city centre to city centre travel, with stations located in the heart of our destinations
- Comfort and space on board to work or unwind with Wi-Fi connectivity and on-board entertainment
- Fast and convenient check-in - passengers are asked to arrive only 30 minutes before departure
- Generous, free-of-charge baggage allowance with each passenger allowed 2 bags/suitcases and 1 piece of hand luggage
- No queues or baggage reclaim upon arrival - simply take your bag with you on board
Eurostar’s MICE service offers great value reduced ticket prices to any of destinations on the network, including the option to reserve and personalise an exclusive carriage or charter a whole train. With a dedicated booking team, contactable on MICE@eurostar.com, it’s never been easier to create that unique travel experience for your guests.
Virgin Trains is committed to delivering a high speed, high frequency service, offering shorter journey times, more comfortable travel and excellent customer service. Virgin Trains operated the East Coast route between March 1, 2015 and June 24, 2018. In that time investing £75 million to create a more personalised travel experience, including over £40m in the existing fleet. Customers have benefitted from 48 additional services between Edinburgh and London every week, and an extra 22 Saturday services between Leeds and London – a total of 1.74 million additional seats since May 2015. Stagecoach and Virgin are working in partnership to operate the West Coast inter-city route under the Virgin Trains brand, revolutionising travel on one of the UK’s key rail arteries. The network connects some of the nation’s most iconic destinations including Glasgow, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester and London.
The partnership railway of the public and private sectors has published a long-term plan, called In Partnership for Britain’s Prosperity, to change and improve Britain’s railway. The plan will secure almost £85bn of additional economic benefits to the country whilst enabling further investment and improvement, and contains four commitments which will see rail companies: strengthen our economic contribution to the country; improve customers’ satisfaction; boost the communities we serve; and, create more and better jobs in rail. For more information see Britain Runs on Rail.