By Martin Cowen, following the OpenJaw t-Retailing Summit 2014
Voyage-sncf, France's largest online travel agency, will expand its new France-focused "Instant V" product to include events in London and Paris packaged with Eurostar seats.
Instant V launched in France this week using OpenJaw's t-Retail platform, enabling Voyages-sncf.com to merchandise leisure activities with train journeys.
Its launch in France has been boosted by a marketing campaign which had gone viral with more than 1m views on YouTube.
Frederic Burtz, chief executive, said the new brand was very much event-driven and part of the company's move into destination marketing.
"We found out that 65% of French people were put off attending an event because of how difficult it was to book travel to the event. OpenJaw's technology has removed that barrier."
Currently the product packages tickets from over 4,500 partners under five categories - concerts, sport, festival, museums and exhibitions and theme parks. Seats on France's high-speed TGV and some regional services can be booked at the same time as the event ticket.
It has teamed up with France's leading ticketing agency FranceBillet as its main partner after a competitive tender.
The Eurostar product will also be powered by OpenJaw.
"Last summer, the Bowie exhibition [at the Victoria and Albert Museum] was all over the media in France, and this is the sort of event which would appeal to our customers in France.
"Also, we know that 20% of people who attend the Rock en Seine festival in Paris at the end of August are British, so this would be the sort of package we could sell to British travellers."
Kieron Branagan, chief executive of OpenJaw, added: "Selling events and attaching a seat is a great proposition for a train company looking to add new revenue streams."
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