During ITB Berlin 2015, the CFO of Lufthansa Group, Simone Menne, quoted that air travel has not changed much in the past 10 years – people still consider it as boring, inefficient and not transparent when facing disruption. This is a statement that is true and can be applied for rail travel. With a fast changing technology, this could be a threat but also can be a good opportunity for both airlines and railways.
The demand for travel technology
Whereas the Lufthansa Group had a market capitalization of 6 billion Euros during 2014, the top 12 travel startups reached 88 billion Euros. This shows us how strong the demand in linking new technologies with travel is. Even more so, it’s all about technology and innovation, improving customer experience - connected, seamless and efficient.
According to Lufthansa, predictive is the new real-time which means that sooner or later, real-time will not be enough for customers anymore. Still, real-time is not a widespread standard for transport providers yet but it is vital to keep up with customer’s demand.
Mobile technology for worldwide travelling
To put an even stronger focus on the importance of rail mobile technology, Darren Huston, CEO of Priceline Group and Booking.com, said how travel has never been as accessible as now - thanks to mobile technology. Young people can go and travel the world without worrying how to find a hostel or place to sleep. There is always an app which will show you where you find a bed. And there is no need to worry how to get to your next destination, you will always easily find a ride or a train. We have complete freedom of travelling. Keeping this in mind, in his opinion companies should pay very high attention to mobile:
“If you’re not relevant on mobile you’re not relevant”.
But this is not only important to compete with new entrants or to address new customers segments such as the millennials, these technologies are important to secure a multimodal future for Europe. The rise of mobile apps is actually helping consumers navigate through the multimodal travel cycle. The European transport and tourism sector is placing its hopes upon this new strategy in order to strengthen competitiveness, facilitate mobility, and reduce carbon emissions as well as to identify a clearer picture of the current volume of multimodal connections in Europe.
There is a need for technology and collaboration to understand how to use the huge amount of data in order to improve the customer experience. This can only be achieved with all key industry players working together globally.