As a former Swissair employee, I would say I have some sort of emotional attachment to all things Swiss. I used to travel either to Geneva or Zurich for business reasons and always thought this was the perfect country for a “Swiss train holiday experience” so I decided it was about time and off I went.
Planning my trip around Switzerland was extremely simple: First choose the right Swiss Train Flexipass Ticket, simple, just one click and you have all the information you need at your fingertip. Still, if you are not entirely sure of your choice, the website provides you with a “Ticketfinder” feature where you can simply provide the information about your planned trip and the website tells you which Flexipass is the best option for you. Second step, payment, a matter of seconds. Finally, delivery, and two days later you receive your ticket at home in advance of travel. All set and ready to go! And for those of you traveling with children, under 16 years old travel for free!
There are many different types of train travel cards and flexipasses available and the whole experience is completely seamless, which shows the level of commitment and customer focus SBB – CFF – FFS, the Swiss railway group, has towards its customers.
My first train journey was from Zurich to Bern and, as anybody would expect, the train departed and arrived on time and the views where breathtaking. But it was not just my emotional attachment to this country, the punctuality of its services or the stunning views that blew my mind off, this trip revealed something that we keep listening to from travel experts, and is not a future trend anymore but a reality: the new travellers coming from emerging economies are already here. They are not a ‘future trend’ anymore.
If you have ever been to Switzerland, you most probably know that Bucherer is the most prestigious jewellery store in the country. Bucherer sells utterly expensive pieces of jewellery. The Luzern store in particular, displays also the largest watch mechanism in the world.
But back to the emerging economies. As I approached the store, I was simply speechless as a large crowd was descending from the buses parked in front of the store. Chinese, Indians, Russians… All queuing up to enter the store…. and the world’s largest watch mechanism was not the reason behind it.
Inside, the store was packed, you could hardly move. All these tourists were buying the most expensive watches and pieces of jewellery you could imagine. This was emerging markets tourism activity at its best! Do not forget that in Switzerland a capuccino could cost up to 6 Swiss Francs (more or less 5 Euros), so jewellery and watches do not come cheap!
This made me think that maybe it is time to come to terms with this ‘future trend of emerging markets‘, recurrent topic in white papers and travel conferences all over. The reality is that the trend is already happening, it is a fact and we better make the most of it. Besides the jewellery anecdote, these new travellers are booking flights, expensive hotels, they are spending a lot of money in ancillary services. Maybe this is the time to think and work on how best we can adapt our technology and services to their requirements. They come from different parts of the world, different cultures, they have different expectations and they demand new services.
All in all, it was a fantastic holiday that took me back to a country I love but it was also great to witness first hand this new type of traveller in action…