IAS Smarts works to kill off coach travel myths

National Express has brought in its first retained agency in five years to dispel misconceptions about coach travel.

The UK’s largest coach company has handed the six-figure account to Birmingham-based IAS Smarts. The agency has been briefed to position the company as modern and advanced and to target a new audience of families with young children.

‘There is a perception gap between current and potential users. Existing customers see National Express as reliable, but potential customers see it as archaic, slow and a bit of an elephant compared to services like Virgin Trains,’ said IAS account director Sara Jenkins.

National Express coaches will now be fitted with wi-fi systems and the company is to introduce e-ticketing. A national and regional campaign, ‘freedom to travel’, will plug the company’s tourist attraction routes, as well as a fresh focus on sports and event travel.

National Express currently owns 59 per cent of coaches on the road. Its services account for 67 per cent of the mileage covered by coaches in the UK.

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