Today, the Amadeus Total Rail Customer Forum opened with a welcome from Ian Wheeler, VP of Marketing and Distribution at Amadeus, and an introduction to Amadeus’ Total Rail concept from Diane Bouzebiba, Head of Amadeus Rail. The response to the concept was overwhelmingly positive, and we hope that the delegates are now as excited as we are about this global and holistic solution to the railway industry.
The morning continued with a number of interesting presentations from industry experts that gave an insight into how the railway industry can tackle the issues it currently faces. Dr Oliver Haferbeck, from Deutsche Bahn, talked to us about internationalisation and mobility are a major factor in determining what will happen in the future. He also discussed improving customer satisfaction levels by extending the value chain, in which he also described how Deutsche Bahn weathered deregulation, increased competition and the economic crisis, giving delegates examples of how railways can meet and withstand the challenges they face.
Another highlight from the day was a session which explored rail as a viable and convenient alternative to air travel, using this year’s volcano crisis as a starting point in a lively session called ‘Crisis! The volcano story’. The session was introduced by Philip Martin of Amadeus Rail and followed by ‘The Man in Seat 61’, Mark Smith. Mark discussed the railway industry from the traveller’s point of view, and explored the reasons that travellers are increasingly looking to railways for cross-border travel and the frustrations they face on the way. Ron Heeren, Head of sales and distribution, NsHiSpeed went on to discuss the impact the ash cloud had on international travel, the rail industry and NS International in particular.
The morning session concluded with a lively panel debate with the morning guest speakers and was chaired by Ian Wheeler. Questions from the audience flowed and covered topics from European standards, how to improve the overall image of railways and branding.
As we said yesterday, we’ve really been looking forward to the themed workshops, and we weren’t disappointed as these brought to life the Forum’s theme of ‘making the essential connections’. In the workshops, the delegates participated in discussions that made use of their collective expertise and experience. The workshops included ‘Understanding your customer’, ‘Selling outside your domestic market’ and ‘Using technology to improve the customer experience’, and highlighted some interesting issues. We are really looking forward to seeing the conclusions of these tomorrow after the final workshop sessions.
The day will be rounded off with a well earned gala dinner at the stunning Hotel Negresco in Nice, where we look forward to excellent food and wine. It’s been an informative and thought-provoking day and we are already looking forward to tomorrow.