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Published on Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Eurostar CEO reveals 'frightening and embarrassing' statistic

Eurostar is to step up its marketing strategy after research found that 82% of its customers have travelled on its trains only once.

Speaking at this week's ABTA Travel Matters Conference in London, CEO Mike Cooper said the statistic was both 'frightening and embarrassing' for the rail operator.

He said it would now be working hard to ensure that people don't just 'discover' the cross-Channel service but 'rediscover' it.

He said Eurostar has seen particular growth from the Asian and north American markets but the French-UK market has dropped in recent years.

He said the company was well placed to become an expert in the cities its trains serve.

While it's not possible for the likes of Google or Expedia to 'own' 100 destinations, he said, it was 'absolutely possible for us to say that we understand and are passionate about four or five cities, not just in terms of the Eurostar journey but beyond that'.

Cooper said he was 'generally pretty positive' about business which had 'bounced back' since its services had been disrupted during industrial action by customs officials at French stations.

He said there was significant opportunities for Eurostar to tap into the Dutch market since launching Amsterdam services.

But he admitted there were still issues with return journeys from Amsterdam to the UK due to requirements that all London-bound passengers disembark at Brussels Midi for immigration and customs clearance, adding to the journey time.

Cooper said he hopes these problems would be resolved by the end of this year, prompting Eurostar to seek a fifth daily service.

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  • Oh dear Richard English...

    The EU Customs Union relates to the movement of goods, not people... unless you're into people trafficking? <=Joke! It has no bearing on people trafficking because that's illegal, remember that! The agreement that allows people to move without hassle between EU states is known as the Schengen Agreement. It's what allows you to drive from France into Spain, or Italy into Austria etc. without stopping to have your passport checked. It removes hassle for individuals and the colossal cost of bureaucracy in micro-managing the cross-border movements of millions of 'free' people each day... it's pretty damn cool, I think you'll agree. The British Govt decided on our behalf, to keep us out of that agreement hence the extra hassle entering and leaving the UK compared to moving around the rest of Europe. Although created by the EU to benefit the people within it, being in or out of the EU specifically, has no direct correlation to being part of Schengen. Today, the Schengen Area encompasses most EU States, except for Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom. However, Bulgaria and Romania are currently in the process of joining the Schengen Area.  Of non-EU States, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein have joined the Schengen Area. 

    By ex Severn, Wednesday, July 10, 2019

  • I had assumed...

    ...that the customs and immigration delays referred to here for London-bound passengers would occur once we left the EU. If they are happening now it does make me wonder what benefit is there of belonging to the EU Customs Union.

    By Richard English, Tuesday, July 2, 2019

  • A passenger service should focus on passengers

    A small, personal experience... I used to use Euro* 'frequently, irregularly'. They had a loyalty system which worked quite well and which I enjoyed the benefits of. Then, due to other circumstances, it was not convenient to use them for 12months so they scrubbed my account of any loyalty credit and deleted my loyalty to the brand along with it. I tried to talk to someone about it but anyone customer-facing seemed to have no idea how any of it worked. There's nothing like a badly executed loyalty scheme to destroy loyalty so I suggest, if they want people to re-use the service, they focus on the needs, wishes and end-to-end experience of the PEOPLE rather than focusing on 'Owning the places' they go. All the marketing crap about hotels, car hire and 'destination features' just gets in the way and diminishes the brand value of the core service especially when most people know where they're going, staying, eating etc. I don't book trains on Via Michelin as I wouldn't book car-hire on Eurostar.

    By ex Severn, Thursday, June 27, 2019

  • We got disenchanted with Eurostar

    We travelled twice with Eurostar to Avignon and back to London, whilst it is comfortable, the promised wifi never worked, toilets were out of commission, and most annoyingly you still have to get off with all your luggage at Lille to go through customs on the return journey, hell for me with a bad back, a ridiculous system, also there is no sitting area at Avignon TGV station. So this year we are flying to Marseille instead and driving up to Gordes. The arrogant response of Eurostar to complaints is truly amazing. Just shows why monopolies don't work - what a shame, it could be so good.

    By Richard Earl of Bradford, Thursday, June 27, 2019

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