Eurostar is synonymous with a certain type of travel – train journeys from London to Paris whether for business or pleasure.
Yet Guillemette Jacob, the new UK marketing boss at Eurostar, is keen to show that the brand is much more than that. Speaking to Marketing Week, she says Eurostar is in a “very key moment in its history” after recent investments in its customer experience, including a £1bn revamp of its fleet and new lounge in Paris.
“We want to make the most of all the changes we have made in recent months and years,” she explains.
Jacob took on her new role just a few months ago but she is no newcomer to the Eurostar brand. She has been with the company for seven years, previously working as a general marketing manager and a marketing and communication manager. In her new role she wants to move the brand’s focus to creating an emotional connection with its audience.
Her first job in the new role was to develop and deliver Eurostar’s new marketing campaign. It marks the first time Eurostar has been on TV in three years and is quite a departure from previous creative.
Rather than focus on people catching the train, it looks to promote a ‘Travel state of mind’. And it has moved away from Paris to look at the other European destinations it serves.
It has been a difficult couple of years for Eurostar in some ways. Terrorist attacks in the city have made it a less attractive destination for tourists. Ticket sales were down in the year following devastating attacks on the city and Eurostar was forced to cut jobs and the number of trains it runs to the city.
We are not only about a glamorous train going to Paris
Guillemette Jacob, Eurostar
Brexit also has not helped and there was a drop in traffic following the result of the EU referendum.
Yet Jacob shrugs off those concerns. She highlights that Paris still features, which Eurostar would not have done if they were concerned Paris is no longer an attractive destination.
And she says Eurostar wanted to showcase the range of cities it now visits. It has introduced the so-called ‘ski train’ in recent years that provides travellers with a direct train to the Alpes in the winter months. And this year it is set to start offering trains direct to Amsterdam
“Our services are changing and so our communications are changing to reflect this. We are not only about a glamorous train going to Paris, we are about Bruges, Brussels, Marseille, Lyon – and soon we will also be about Amsterdam” she explains.
“For weeks and months there were some changes in behaviours. People started to book in smaller cities where they felt safer, but now we are back to normal and Paris is back on the radar of many travellers,” she explains.
Beyond launching the new marketing campaign, Jacob says her focus is on “the data work we are doing at the moment”. She says Eurostar is creating a “very strong data policy” that will allow the company to interact with its customers in a “very personalised and relevant way”.
“This is a huge amount of work we have been doing for years but it is finally coming to a place where it will be visible. There is so much power in bringing this added value to the customer,” she says.
Going forward, bringing ‘a travel state of mind’ to life will also be a priority.
“Our strengths are the brand image, there is a real and strong bond to the brand. What we are working on at the moment is bringing a bit more emotion to a brand that is functional. It is a strength to be a functional brand but we want to bring more emotion to it and add that extra layer of emotion. Not having that extra layer is a weakness,” she concludes.