VisitBritain has launched a partnership with Eurostar and Virgin Trains to offer a ‘united travel service’ for the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) market, to drive growth in international business events to the UK.
The partnership, launched 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 Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham, 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 in 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 discovering artesian history with art classes.
Eurostar and Virgin Trains were part of the 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 Governments 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.