Ian Skuse

Q&A WITH PETER FULLER

 

Having joined Virgin Trains last September, Peter looks after the SME booking portal Railblazers and a handful of TMCs. Peter has a real interest in enhancing the booking processes for businesses who need to manage their own travel. Following on from his close work with Evolvi Rail Systems and PXP payment platforms, he can provide knowledge of a TMC agent booker alongside a corporate sales mindset. Peter has worked closely with Networking groups and regional Chambers of Commerce to raise awareness of Virgin Trains and their Business proposition.

Tell us a little about your travel history, how long have you been working in the industry?

I have been working in the rail industry for just over a year, before that the travel industry was a complete unknown for me. Coming straight out of university and starting a career in travel has launched me in to an industry that is exciting, diverse and presents unique challenges which I really enjoy. I now have a passion for the product that we provide and never thought I would end up learning the difference between a 5 car super voyager and a 9 car pendolino!

 

Have you spoken at BT Summit before?

I haven’t personally spoken at the Business Travel Summit before (can someone comment if VT have before?), but am looking forward to meeting and interacting with key travel buyers alongside other providers out there on the market. I believe that the summit will be as much presenting opportunity as a learning place for Virgin Trains.

 

What topic are you speaking on?

Virgin Trains will be talking about their direct SME proposition called Railblazers! Rather than a policy that is based on bespoke deals, Virgin Trains focus is on ensuring a wide-range of products are available to suit the needs and requirements of all business travellers.  Offering this level of choice to SME’s and providing the tools to effectively manage their travel is where the true value lies. There isn’t a one size fits all solution, but Railblazers seeks to provide an option for all.

 

What is/are the key issues facing this theme/topic right now?

Many businesses are cost-conscious and use the choice of fares that are available to best advantage, whereas others take advantage of a less ridged policy compared to that of a large corporate.  Working within parameters is essential.  Having guidelines – or indeed a “policy” is the best way to manage travel costs within any organisation.  Booking directly offers a great level of choice but also allows control and tracking of spend.

 

What major change can we expect on this topic in the next 5 years?

Over the next 5 years we will see a larger focus from travel providers on SME booking portals. We believe a wider variety of products will start to enter the travel market and Virgin Trains desire to be the leaders in this transition. With the increase in market competition, we are excited to work on new technical innovations that will change the landscape of business travel booking.

 

Why is it important for delegates to attend your session?

Our session will provide insight in to our direct business booking tool Railblazers. It will highlight the success of the channel and how, essentially, it can help your organisation manage rail travel and ultimately reduce cost.

 

Why did you choose to speak at BT Summit?

Virgin Trains highlighted the Business Travel Summit as a brilliant opportunity to speak to a wide variety of business decision makers and interact with current market competitors. Virgin Trains has had profound involvement in The Business Travel Show and Business Travel Magazines, which have proved marked successes. Virgin truly value the opportunity to speak face to face with new and existing clientele, to build relationships and have an opportunity to take learnings from other leading experts.

 

And finally…. Tell us something surprising about yourself

In my spare time I partake in a variety of endurance events: triathlons, duathlons, marathons and ultra-marathons. Having now attained a good for age marathon time, I am looking to take part in all the 6 world majors before I turn 30!