The 2nd annual European Rail Congress 2014 in London brought together some of the rail industry’s key players to discuss the effectiveness of the European ‘Shift to Rail’ initiative and I was happy to represent Amadeus at the event. Read more to discover the insights about the event.
Amadeus awarded as 'Best integration solution'
I was also delighted that our Amadeus Rail Display solution earned recognition for ‘best integration’ during the awards ceremony – which rewards and encourages European railway excellence and innovation.
What does ‘best integration’ mean for Amadeus though? It means being able to fully integrate rail into the bigger travel picture for the first time, making the whole shopping, booking, ticketing and back-office processes much easier. Amadeus Rail Display was developed with this vision in mind; where integrating rail into the overall trip planning process across Europe will significantly increase the number of people travelling by rail as part of their total trip experience.
New challenges and opportunities for the rail industry
Of course, this comes with a number of challenges. Prior to developing Amadeus Rail Display, booking rail abroad was almost impossible without knowing the operators, their website, and sometimes even the local language. It was very confusing and time-consuming for travellers and travel agencies alike, and it limited the distribution of rail: if passengers couldn’t quickly see the relevant rail fares for a journey, then they certainly wouldn’t choose to book it. The reality is, if passengers are to pick rail over other modes of transport such as the car, they need a seamless method of booking different rail services.
We developed Amadeus Rail Display as a solution to this dilemma. Amadeus Rail Display is an industry-first solution which allows travel sellers to complete the whole travel process in rail using one single tool, in the same way for all available railways, anywhere. It also allows rail to be combined with air, hotel and more into one single itinerary. Furthermore, all travel and customer profile information is fed directly into the Rail Display, meaning saved time for the travel agency.
With Rail Display the complexity of booking different railways is significantly reduced, as it is fully integrated into travel agencies’ tools and processes, whereas in the past, the input of passenger information in the accounting and invoicing systems had to be done manually. In fact, one of our travel agency customers confirmed that the Rail Display’s processes managed to reduce their manual work by up to 90%.
The aftersales process effectively saves 50% of the time when booking with standalone proprietary rail products normally offered by railways or through their website. This increases the productivity of sales agents allowing them to make more sales during the day and it also improves the image of rail being a “specialist” product. Rather than having a group of people dedicated to rail sales, large travel agencies can now have all travel consultants effective in selling rail to customers.