Pay lower this year on BritRail bookings

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- One thing Rail Europe will not be doing for agents this year is paying them an 8% commission on BritRail pass bookings, as it has in the past, but instead will dole out a 5% commission.

The change came about in January when Rail Europe lost its exclusive distribution contract with BritRail to Montreal-based ACP marketing.

"The economics of the new deal with BritRail forced us into this position," said Bernard Frelat, Rail Europe's president.

"What we are getting for selling the product is 40% less than what we had received when we had the contract," Frelat added.

In 2000, Rail Europe's BritRail business amounted to $30.2 million.

"We are trying to salvage the impact this reduction might have on agents and will run several promotions with a higher commission," Frelat said.

For instance, Rail Europe is running a $5 bonus commission program through April 30 on Web bookings for the Eurailpass, Eurail Selectpass, Europass and BritRail Pass.

BritRail, with offices in Hoboken, N.J., pays 10% commission on CRS bookings; 9% on passes booked through either the Web site or the call center, and 8% on point-to-point booking made through the Web or the call center.

CIT and DER both pay 10% commission on BritRail passes and 8% on BritRail point-to-point bookings.

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