Virgin Trains will refocus on the leisure market when the long awaited West Coast Main Line rail upgrade is finally completed.
Marketing director Sarah Copely says that the completion of the works early next year will lead to a “step-change” in the way the company is able to market itself.
At present, engineering work on the tracks between London and the North-west means that Virgin cannot run the same service at weekends as it does during the week.
She says: “Having a weekend service opens up a whole range of new markets – there has been a massive expansion in demand for theatre breaks for example. But it is a market that we just can’t promote at the moment.”
Virgin is unveiling a new timetable in December with an increase in capacity and services between Manchester and Euston leaving every 20 minutes throughout the day and at weekends.
It hopes the timetable will help it beat off competition from airlines, coaches and even private cars.
Virgin Trains is in the middle of a pitch that could see it consolidate its advertising, customer relationship management and digital accounts into a single agency, although the three strands are being reviewed independently. It currently works with RKCR, Craik Jones and Glue. Media planning and buying, held by Manning Gottlieb OMD, is unaffected.
The appointed agencies will oversee a big marketing push next year, although the company says that it will wait for the service to bed down before it is unveiled.