iDBUS looks for trade partnerships

Paul Bunting
Paul Bunting

Coach operator iDBUS is looking to build trade partnerships as it looks to grow its British passenger count.

The coach services, run by France-based SNCF, carried 130,000 people on routes from London to Paris, Lille and Lyon during 2013 but wants to see more young British tourists and young families on its coaches.
As Paul Bunting, development director, Europe at iDBUS told Travel Daily, one way it hopes to do this is to build trade relationships.
Agreements are likely to be formed with online-based companies with iDBUS currently developing its systems to allow an easier booking process.
“We’re looking to improve our distribution as the business and volumes grow,” he explained. “2014 will be the time to strengthen our awareness in the youth market and get the message out to older travellers or families. Our partnerships will reflect where we think those markets are booking.”
With a background in the coach market, Bunting is aware of the different model that iDBUS is undertaking, “learning from the mistakes of National Express and finding the right pricing level”.
Unlike competitors and other transport providers, iDBUS offers a set price it sticks to no matter when the traveller books. This works well for the late booking market but also means customers are confident prices won’t suddenly go up when demand does.
iDBUS has three routes from London to France
iDBUS has three routes from London to France

Its simple, quality offering has received rave customer ratings and helped spread the word of the brand, with social media recommendations lending a hand too.

There were initial concerns the coaches would take SNCF’s rail guests but instead iDBUS has catered to different markets, not just by demographic but by the distance they can stand sitting on a coach too. The form is naturally chosen for shorter journeys such as those in France, with not many passengers connecting to head onto other iDBUS destinations in Europe.
iDBUS is now looking to grow its passenger numbers by 50%.
“There’s a big environmental message when it comes to coach travel as the impact is lower than other transport, and with customers looking for value and fuel prices going up there has been interest and demand for a consistent coach product,” explained Bunting.
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