WHAT IS The rail instant search?
The purpose of the instant search is to retrieve the best available fare per itinerary over a period of time of 1 day in an instantaneous response time, i.e. a few milliseconds, with the possibility to extend the search to +/- 1 day, up to 3 days.
Expectations from travellers are increasingly when it comes to online search – Google’s definition of “instant” is 300 milliseconds. A few milliseconds have become the norm for online travel search and we want to make sure that this is what the traveller gets when searching for a train.
THE MAIN BENEFITS FOR THE USER
Online Travel Agencies expressed the need to provide their travellers with a search that could be as quick as Google when looking up travel data, and we were bringing innovation in rail.
A French start-up offering online travel search has been using our rail instant search for some time now and they see the following benefits:
- They can access the information directly from Amadeus with no need for transactional calls with railways, which usually take a very long time and don’t necessarily return the best fare per day.
- Instant search makes it quick and easy to find the best price for one day – which is exactly what they need.
Further to the Rail Forum, we were also invited to the CCAV (The French Association of travel agencies) to present instant search. For them, it is really the next step they are looking for to answer customers’ requests quickly, and they are waiting for its integration into Agent Track so travel agents can not only search but also provide a quick quotation to their customers.
Why is it exciting?
Thi kind of response time and offer are very innovative. Today, no railway provides this as a web service and we cannot make it possible by simply re-using railways’ web services. We give travel agencies a level of functionality and response time that they couldn’t benefit from with a simple direct interface with railways.
THE future OF RAIL INSTANT SEARCH
We are only showing trains, but we are looking to add other transportation modes in order to make it a true multimodal travel technology. We also would like to have the air-rail comparison and interoperability.
Finally, we are also working on 3 main improvement areas:
- More railways: our aim is to integrate more European railways
- Increased capability: we want to make it possible to search for all origin-destinations
- Improve functionality: we are planning to launch a 3 months calendar search. So that travellers can search for the best price over that period. We are also looking at other airline search functionalities, e.g. a trip finder: travellers know their departure station and budget and the search results will give a trip proposal.
If you’d like to share your experience about online search for rail don’t hesitate to contact us.