Welcome to our new member – Interrailing Packages
The beginnings of Interrailing Packages are rooted in its founder’s own interrailing experience, realising there was “more to it than just getting a pass.” With a successful first year in 2009, Donal McKenna’s company has since gone from strength to strength. Here’s the full story and what you can expect to see from this company on track to turn over GBP 1 million this year.
Tell us your story. How did Interrailing Packages get started?
The idea was developed back in 2008 after I finished my first interrail trip. I originally wanted someone to plan it all for us, but back then there was no-one offering it. So, the decision was made to get our interrail passes and see where we ended up. Like many people who decide to plan interrailing trips themselves, we very quickly realised that there was more to it than just getting a pass, hopping on a train and hoping for the best, due to the high amount of reservations and the less favourable accommodation we stayed in. Therefore, the niche for our product was identified. I then decided to build the website in 2009 and started trading. During our first year, we turned over GBP 33k and this year, we are set to turn over GBP 1 million.
A great achievement to mark your tenth year. What have you taken from your personal experiences and applied to Interrailing Packages that sets you apart from your competitors?
Flexibility and a commitment to customer service. While we offer pre-designed packages that have a set itinerary, we give our customers the option to plan their own unique interrailing trip, all they need to do is tell us where in Europe they want to visit, and we handle the rest.
We also have quality accommodation partnerships for both hotels and hostels across Europe that have been tried and tested by our team. Our customers have 24/7 support to help assist with any issues they may have while they’re away such as train delays or cancellations. Someone is always on hand to answer any queries our customers have, no matter what time of day it may be.
What is your favourite success story?
My favourite success story is from a Liverpudlian dad named, Greg Howell, who got in touch with us as he wanted to treat his two sons to a four-week interrailing trip around the continent. The trip was inspired by a trip Greg had done around Europe in the past.
Greg asked for our help as one of his sons, 20-year-old Jai Howell, has cerebral palsy, resulting in Jai having very limited mobility. This also meant his carer would have to accompany him on this once in a lifetime trip, visiting 11 cities across 8 countries! A lot of planning and research had to go into this package, tackling obstacles like, would we find suitable accommodation for Jai’s needs and would there be adequate facilities to get him on and off trains.
But with organisation, dedication and hard work, as well as the positivity from Jai and his family, we were able to pull it off. The group never let anything get in their way of having a good time. They attended nearly every single tour they wanted to from the Colosseum to Euro Disney!
That’s a great story and says a lot about your company ethos. So, what can we expect from Interrailing Packages in the future?
Increased media – we are working on developing individual videos for our pre-designed packages to allow our customers to visualise what the trip would be like. We are also currently working on a video based on how to use our Interrailing Packages customer app. As well as this, we are developing our festival packages for 2020. This year, we worked in conjunction with Sziget in Budapest and Ultra in Croatia. Next year, we want the festival packages to be even bigger and better.
Which trends do you see in youth travel?
Talking about media – a lot of travellers are looking for something off the beaten track that they can brag about on social media. Also, a lot of travellers want to get the most out of their trip, like visiting places with great beaches, attending huge festivals and stopping off in the iconic interrailing city favourites like Amsterdam, Prague, Budapest etc.
There is a strong demand for ‘independent’ travel; people want to be able to create their own itinerary rather than take part in large group trips. For example, our 2 week or 4 week Ireland packages, travellers want a tour or trip unique to that city or country, and they can get that in Northern Ireland with the amount of Game of Thrones and Titanic tours and experiences we have to offer. Not to mention The Open is being held in Portrush this year which is attracting large crowds from across the world!
Sign us up! And how do you ensure the health and safety of your young travellers?
The safety of our young travellers is extremely important to us. We ensure their safety by only working with pre-approved, handpicked accommodation that has been tried and tested by our team. As I mentioned, we offer a 24/7 support line for any emergencies that our customers may have while they’re away. We have also made having travel insurance for their trip with us compulsory.
Finally, what was your motivation to join WYSE Travel Confederation?
We joined with the aim to meet like-minded travel companies seeking professional, top-rated tour providers for the European market with ready-made products. We feel we are in a very strong position to meet the growing demand for our product and that we have the necessary technology to make partnerships and working together streamline.
Interrailing Packages sells organised independent Rail Tours across mainland Europe & Ireland providing 3 key elements, accommodation (with its pre-selected hotel and hostel partners) Interrail Pass & seat Reservations and its unique ETravelPack.
The E-Travel pack contains everything from train itinerary, accommodation directions, tourist information, discounted tours & attractions & emergency contact number.
For more information, visit: www.interrailingpackages.com.
Membership: WYSE Travel Confederation Full Member
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