The 2015 Amadeus Rail Forum kicked off in Barcelona with a welcome message from the Spanish Railway operator, RENFE. This edition's key objective was to explore the European rail industry growth and the challenges it faces. Keep on reading to discover the rail future trends we discussed during the event.
Rail market share potential
According to Thomas Drexler, Rail currently has a 6.5% share of the transport market in Europe and there is great potential to increasing rail market share in the coming years. He highlighted how Amadeus solutions for indirect and direct distribution can help rail companies to overcome the challenges to growth that they currently face, and announced some new and exciting Amadeus partnerships in the areas of revenue management, loyalty and journey planning.
New travellers: the rail opportunity
Amadeus’ VP of Distribution Marketing, Decius Valmorbida, gave the audience an overview of the Amadeus report Future Traveller Tribes 2030, and the six ‘traveller tribes’ identified within it. He identified some of the challenges facing the rail industry, such as competition from other modes and changing traveller expectations, before highlighting the “tremendous rail opportunity to speak to new generations of travellers” and for rail companies to better cater to future travellers’ needs through a greater understanding of their behaviours and motivations. A quick poll of the audience revealed that attendees were mostly Reward Hunters, Simplicity Searchers or Cultural Purists!
Different travel modes from a customer's perspective
This was followed by a video in which three members of the Amadeus Marketing team, Philip Martin, Eve-Marie Morgo and Katrin Heintschel shared – and contrasted - their experiences of travelling from Nice to the Rail Forum in Barcelona by bus, train and car share respectively. Although each transport mode had certain advantages, the team concluded that, overall, the train and car share provided a better journey experience.
Further short ‘high-speed segment’ videos throughout the day highlighted some key case studies of how Amadeus has successfully worked with travel sellers and railways to distribute their products effectively, including with Lastminute.com and Eurostar.
Strategies to benefit from the sharing economy
The morning session continued with Albert Cañigueral, founder of ConsumoColaborativo.com, explaining how the sharing economy has exploded, and detailing seven strategies that existing travel and transport players could adopt in order to harness the power of collaborative consumption – whether this is, for example:
- Partnering with sharing economy players;
- Diversifying their products and services or
- Acquiring or creating their own sharing economy supplier.
Being at customer's service: SJ experience
The morning concluded with a focus on the customer in a presentation by Thomas Silbersky and Johan Dorf from SJ (Swedish Rail), who emphasised the need to “know the customer – and be at her service”. They detailed how SJ has focused on developing complementary internal and external core values to help achieve this, and how they are working with partners to ensure SJ is visible and considered at the travel decision process – not just when the traveller has already decided to travel by rail.
Best practices examples from other industries
The afternoon session kicked off with two presentations that examined how the rail industry could look to other industries and businesses for best practice insights:
- Candida Toro of Trust International detailed the need to balance direct vs. indirect sales, identifying lessons to be learned from the hotel sector in achieving the right mix.
- This was followed by a keynote presentation from customer experience professional, Nienke Bloem, who explained what the customer of today expects, how best to service them, and how companies should go about implementing this. As Ms Bloem said, it’s all about “the perception a customer has of all interactions with you as a company - during the whole customer journey and in all channels”.
The ‘Hot Topics Debate’ - hosted by Philip Martin - closed the day. Representatives from Lastminute.com, STA Travel, Lufthansa and loco2.com discussed and debated whether rail is ready for international sales.
Thank you to all our speakers and attendees who joined us in Barcelona! We hope you enjoyed hearing some new perspectives and ideas on the issues that face our industry today – and how we can tackle them to make progress and secure growth for the rail industry. Thanks also to everyone who followed the Forum on Twitter by using #railforum15. We look forward to seeing you next year!
Watch Amadeus Rail Forum 2015's highlights