The Rail Europe Family
Rail Europe 4A (Joint Venture between SBB and SNCF) is one of the four “Rail Europe” companies created by the French Railways for distribution abroad. Apart from Rail Europe 4A, there are 3 other entities:
• Rail Europe Group: Rail Europe Group, created in the 1930s, is a subsidiary of the French and Swiss Railways which has been distributing European rail products to travellers from the United States, Canada and Mexico. Besides its rail activity, Rail Europe Group has 3 divisions: DER (airline tickets, car rentals and hotel programmes), Avanti Destinations (FIT packages and speciality tours) and EuroGroups (customised arrangements for groups).
• Rail Europe Continentale: this wholly-owned subsidiary of the French Railways is in charge of marketing and distributing French domestic and international rail products in continental Europe. Rail Europe Continentale has its headquarters in Brussels and offices in Frankfurt, Milan, Geneva and Madrid.
• Rail Europe Limited: based in London, Rail Europe Limited is the specialist in European Rail Travel for the United Kingdom, selling tickets for Eurostar and the continental rail network.
This global presence combined with local expertise complimented by the synergies existing between the various offices, contribute to make the Rail Europe Network the world’s largest distributor of international rail travel. The total sales of the 4 companies reached EUR 413.5 million in 2004.
The Rail Europe 4A liaison offices
Rail Europe 4A has made decisive steps with regards to its expansion over the past year with the opening of 2 new liaison offices in Seoul (Korea) and Mumbai (India). These liaison offices come in addition to the Tokyo office which was opened in 1998.
These representative offices focus their activity on Marketing and Training and enable the sales agents to fully dedicate their resources and focus on selling.
Railplus Australasia Pty Ltd
REA took an equity position in Rail Plus in 1998 when its number one GSA in Australia and New Zealand, Thomas Cook, decided to terminate their contract. Rail Plus thus became the second largest agent. Its specificity was their focus on rail products only. The joint ownership with a New Zealand based company, Tek Travel, has worked perfectly since 1998.
Being a shareholder of one of its sales agents gives Rail Europe a very unique understanding of its clients’ needs and economics. Rail Plus is RE4A’s lab where policies and systems are tested, validated and sometimes abandoned.
The Sales Agents network
Rail Europe 4A does not sell directly to end-consumers but coordinates the activity of 74 General Sales Agents (GSAs) worldwide who are equipped with Euronet, our on-line booking system for all European trains. Some GSAs have many Euronet accounts and have set up their own network of sub-agents or remote printing locations. This helped augment our distribution with Euronet becoming spread across the world: in July 2005, some 284 Euronet accounts are active on RE4A markets.
The cooperation with RE4A agents is very strong and goes beyond pure distribution contracts. With RE4A’s support, agents are in charge of the full market development: training, marketing and promotion, information to the trade and to the end-consumer, etc. RE4A supports their agents with a strong product expertise as well as a network exchange that helps cross-information.