Interview with Agnes Pastuszak, Chairman, Global Passenger Network (GPN)
What is GPN?
Global Passenger Network (GPN) is a global network of coach operators providing high-quality transportation services through their privately-owned fleet of motor coaches. Today the network is comprised of GPN members from 42 different countries across five continents, sharing the same values and offering over 26.000 vehicles for hire.
Before being accepted in our network, motorcoach operators are carefully evaluated through a due diligence process to ensure that they fulfil the standards set for GPN membership eligibility.
We focus on the quality of services provided, the company’s experience and credibility, its financial stability, the quality of the safety standards, and the response times – that must be within 24 hours on working days.
All requests from the motorcoach operators that want to join our network are handled with professionalism; clients and partners who have already co-operated with one of GPN’s members can expect the same level of service regardless of the country of operation.
How have coach services/companies evolved in the last year and which trends are emerging?
The last couple of years have been a major challenge for the entire travel & tourism industry, including the motorcoach industry due to the pandemic and the travel restrictions. Each coach operator had to re-evaluate its business, operation and adapt to the changes required based on our clients’ needs, which are constantly evolving.
Clients have become more conscious about sanitary measures taken which has led us to implement enhanced cleaning processes. At the same time, it has become very important to communicate these in a very clear and explicit manner to both clients and passengers for their peace of mind. For this reason, GPN has created a Safe Travel by Coach protocol that members have implemented ensuring that sanitary measures are taken.
Furthermore, we noticed that there are great concerns in finding reliable partners that are financially stable, that will be able to provide the promised service in a professional manner. Working with GPN members provides this assurance as we are constantly monitoring the situation for all members.
How can a network like GPN help ETOA’s members?
During any tour, passengers’ transportation is one of the most important factors, and the selection of the right partner has a major contribution to its success for the group. However, tour operators looking to expand to new destinations and work directly with the transportation provider (to avoid extra commissions and fees) find it difficult to reach reliable partners.
GPN is a non-profit organization with a clear and simple business model mutually beneficial for tour operators and its members. We are a network of coach operators from around the world that acts as an association. We are not a broker or middleman, we do not charge commissions or fees, therefore rates quoted from GPN members are more competitive. We connect the buyer with the respective GPN member that can provide the requested transportation service, and the relationship established is direct with no unnecessary miscommunications.
Through GPN, buyers from the travel and tourism industry can have access to a global network of elite coach companies that privately own a fleet of vehicles, accredited for the level of services and their professionalism by a global brand such as GPN.
GPN have been a member of ETOA since 2010. How is the network using ETOA to promote GPN and what are the benefits of membership?
GPN has been a member of ETOA since 2010. In these last 11 years, GPN has been benefiting from ETOA’s activities and insights into the market trends. We are happy to be part of a travel & tourism association with such a great focus on providing its members with benefits.
During our Spring General Meeting, which was organized virtually, we had the pleasure to have as key speaker Simon Smith – Policy Manager at ETOA, who made an interesting presentation regarding the situation amidst the pandemic and the insights gathered that could potentially help GPN members.
Over the years, GPN has attended GEM, ETOA’s flagship event, several times which is always very well organized, with pre-scheduled meetings that give you the opportunity to meet with potential partners from different companies and different continents. The contacts at these events, in combination with being a part of the same association, have enabled GPN to create strong bonds with many ETOA customers and partners over the years.