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3 STEPS TO BETTER INTERNATIONAL SALES

April 21, 2017
Author: Philip Martin

Rail is fun to book! It really is!

With more ways to connect booking channels to railways, we are seeing new clever front ends that are making booking rail an enjoyable experience. The knock-on effect is greater visibility and trust in rail travel. Travel agencies both online and offline would traditionally wait for the traveller to ask for rail. Now, with new booking tools that are integrated into the sales process, they are offering rail upfront as a viable option.

Smart front ends 

A good example of this is Ticketclever, recently launched in the UK. They provide a much simpler way to search and book rail. With ‘split ticket’ technology, the rail traveller can find the latest deals, saving time and money. This type of interface encourages new visitors to see if they can get a bargain on a frequent route or planning holidays or trips in advance.

The more railways provide standard interfaces, the more rail will benefit from online and mobile booking. Technology plays an important role in consumer value when booking travel, rail is especially in need of some TLC. 

International travellers are choosing rail

It is also true for international sales. For example, Eurostar has seen a 17% increase in sales abroad with US travellers, and SJ is making a bid for Norwegian contracts - international rail, it seems, is on the up. Amadeus Air-Rail Display was one of the first ways that Eurostar used to share its services on the travel agency desktop alongside airlines. Booking rail just like airlines, improved visibility abroad and it is now reaping the benefits. The operator has also just started a partnership with Hahn Air to facilitate interlining, also available from Amadeus Air-Rail Display. 

Why? A key factor of this shift is that rail is fun to book. New ways of booking rail, from online to travel agency desktop, are helping boost international sales because people are inclined to book if it’s easy. It’s as simple as that.

3 steps to better international sales

Once rail is integrated into the sales process, then it opens more chances of rail being offered to the traveller. Amadeus has continually improved the way rail travel is integrated into the travel booking process, so it’s not perceived as a stand-alone product.

Here are our 3 steps to better international sales:

  1. Standard multi-railway web services: this gives each railway speed to connect to online travel agencies that are strong in each country. A railway is not stuck with one online sales channel and is quickly able to build an international presence.
  2. Local expertise: Amadeus is well positioned to help rail operators find the best sales channels in more than 170 countries. 
  3. Payment options: something of a sticking point for many rail websites is the payment method. Amadeus can provide a secure method and quicker time to market with its merchant model and virtual card technology.

Many European railways looking to improve on selling international rail and online reservations, can’t do this alone. Focusing on providing the best service for travellers takes its toll, which is where distribution partners provide a key part of the puzzle to international sales success. 

Long may rail be FUN to book!

 Reinventing rail in europe: the battle for the customer 

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Reinventing rail in europe:
the battle for the customer

The Battle for the Customer will ask how rail can use it to strengthen customer focus and look to other industries for best practices in terms of the strategies and mindsets that drive change.