Busabout welcomed 50 travel agents, media, and social influencers to Grandview Lanes in Vancouver last week for a night of glow-in-the-dark bowling to celebrate the launch of their 2017 Europe brochure.
“It’s a bit of fun to get everybody involved,” Damien Bennett, Busabout’s sales director for North America, told PAX. “One of the great things about Busabout is that many people travel as individuals, but they meet new friends and end up travelling together. This captures that same spirit.”
Busabout’s main product – its hop on, hop off (HOHO) network of 46 cities in 15 countries – has been expanded to include Portugal for 2017. But the biggest change is that the pass types have been significantly simplified.
“Last year we had 22 types of passes. This year we have one,” Bennett said. The company has eliminated its loop structure, which divided Europe into segments. “Now there’s one simple network,” Bennett said. “You can choose how you want to travel around Europe.
The pass is valid for all Busabout destinations and is available in two-, three-, four-, or five-week options, or as an unlimited pass valid from May to October.
“Our HOHO product is about 90 per cent up,” Bennett Told PAX, “so the change is clearly working.
He noted that the new unlimited pass – the most popular option – can be used in “weird and wonderful ways,” including for several separate trips between May and October. For instance, a guest could travel for a few weeks in spring, head back to Canada, and then return to Europe get back on the HOHO network in the summer or early fall. With unlimited itinerary changes at no cost, it’s a low-commitment way to secure reliable transportation throughout Europe without having to nail down the details in advance.
“It’s like a giant jigsaw puzzle,” he said. You can pull the individual pieces together to create your perfect itinerary. Nobody else is doing that.”
Busabout guests are primarily female – 68 per cent – with a minimum age of 18 and no upper age limit. Bennett told PAX the “sweet spot” is the 20- to 40-year-old demographic, or, really, anyone who’s young at heart.
“The best thing about it is the social side,” Bennett told PAX, noting that everyone on the bus is there for the same reason – to holiday in Europe – unlike on a train, where travellers bump up against harried commuters. “We often see people change their itinerary to connect with people they meet in different cities or travel together. When a bus pulls into a city there are mini-reunions as people start to recognize each other from other stops.”
Access to a guide is another key benefit over travelling independently. “Almost everyone will ask the guide at least one question in a city,” Bennett told PAX, “whether it’s how to say hello in Italian or where to find the metro. Some might get more in-depth, and the guide can provide options for bike rides, bar crawls, and so on.”
The company has also introduced a new line of environmentally responsible coaches for 2017 complete with onboard entertainment including on-demand movies and Wi-Fi.
Agents can learn more at busabout.com or make reservations at agents.busabout.com.