During the Amadeus Rail Forum, we had the chance to interview Mark Smith, the Man in Seat61 founder. Read on to discover his point of view on tomorrow's rail industry future.
Towards seamless travel
During our discussion, we talked about Mark Smith's rail journey from London to Vienna. A stunning trip on a comfortable overnight sleeper, waking up to a continental breakfast before arriving in Vienna. His trip and the interview were part of our 5th Amadeus Rail Forum theme: towards borderless rail travel.
Rail booking to win the rail travel vs air travel battle
If there was one thing that Mark thought that could make a difference it would be the 90-day rail booking horizon for rail travel, “is it enough?” he asks, especially when in competition with airlines. This will provide rail travelers with confidence when booking their rail journey.
High-speed rail travel is predominantly leisure biased. However, it does bring many questions from first-time travelers who are considering booking rail. Mark believes that the industry doesn’t believe that there are people willing to travel rail long-distance. From my own Antibes to Vienna experience, it’s the right choice. It’s just a question of getting people to take that first trip.
It's also a question of whether we are talking about European or international travelers. Overseas visitors need far more reassurance about ‘check in’ and luggage. Another thing is whether the traveler is facing forwards, something we don’t take into account when flying. Connections are also worrying passengers, but as Mark says a 10-minutes connection is more than enough to change trains.