Lindsay Dixon, head of trade sales at Great Rail Journeys shares her top tips on how to introduce the subject

There are so many holiday choices for customers these days. So how do agents make sure they are finding the right holiday for them?

You may start by asking the right questions to ascertain where they are interested in travelling to and what they like to do on holiday?

Then you offer them some choices to discuss and hopefully nail a sale.

But what if you are missing a choice that they may not have even thought about? Chances are it’s because you are either not aware yourself, or the customer hasn’t asked about it.

Knowledge is power, and by offering an option that your customers may not be aware of you are opening up much more choice plus some fantastic experiences for them to choose from.

Rail Tours are a great alternative to flying and the choice of destinations covers all over the world- from Yorkshire By Steam, to The Glacier Express in Switzerland or The Ghan in Australia.

And it’s not just about those iconic Rail Journeys such as Rocky Mountaineer and Venice Simplon Orient Express. They are only a small percentage of what we book at Great Rail Journeys.

Many of our Tours are using National Rail Networks and cover lots of destinations that may be asked for by your customers- but not necessarily by Rail. For example Lake Garda or Tuscany in Italy.

I know before I joined Great Rail Journeys I wasn’t aware of Rail Tours to an All Inclusive Villa experience in Tuscany, taking a wine tasting experience, Florence and the Leaning Tower Of Pisa. Or Simply Lake Garda, based in Desenzano on the Southern shores of the lake, including excursions to Verona, Isola del Garda and Sirmione.

Exploring Italy by train is by far and away the easiest and most comfortable way to see this historic country thanks to an extensive rail network that offers fast and reliable services to the majority of Italy’s most desirable destinations. Plus, of course, many of Italy’s railways afford a relaxing opportunity to admire Italy’s wonderful landscapes. Not to mention those customers that may not like flying!

There are many more examples of this Worldwide, including India’s Golden Triangle, or Vietnam, Cambodia and The Mekong Delta.

Touring is growing in the UK and it’s a reassuring message for customers that meals and excursions are included but more importantly, many companies have price promises. Great Rail Journeys promise customers that once they book a Tour with us, the price of their holiday will not increase.

So if you haven’t sold Escorted Touring before my top tips are:

• Familiarise yourself with a couple of Tours to start with so that you feel confident enough to offer them
• Introduce Rail Tours as part of the conversation on destination based enquiries, as an alternative option
• Contact a selection of Escorted Touring operators to ask for training in your store or region.
• Ask to be included on the Trade Communications for the Escorted Touring operators. That way you will be kept up to date with the latest offers and campaign, whilst giving you good ideas to suggest to your customers.