Rail innovation has languished. It’s time to mind the gap.

Phocuswright estimates that by 2020, 44% of rail bookings will be online if operators make the most of distribution channels.

To do that, the rail booking experience, one of the largest pain points in the fastest-growing sector in travel*, needs an about face. Incorporating rail into a company’s travel policy can lower travel costs, increase satisfaction and productivity levels of business travellers, and decrease total time of travel.

Despite the advantages gained by rail travel, it can be much more difficult to book rail via a travel management company (TMC) than it is air, hotels or cars. The experience needs an overhaul into the modern travel era.

Whether you’re the business traveller hopping in and out of direct rail sites, the travel manager seeking better insight into the behaviours of travellers during rail journeys or the CFO looking to cut the overall time of a journey; it can be frustrating for all. It’s time to deliver real change for rail travellers.

Today, no TMC provides a global, unified rail experience for business travellers. As such, only 20% of global travellers book rail tickets online.** Several established players are investing in certain regions or countries, but no one is delivering rail in a comprehensive global travel solution as part of a broader TMC technology platform. New entrants to this environment are stifled by the European Commission’s tight regulations and high infrastructure costs. However, demand for innovation is influencing regulatory changes and we can expect competition among rail suppliers to increase.

Given these challenges, how can corporate travellers receive the experience they crave? How can the C-suite gain better visibility into rail programme costs? The key is to work with a TMC that can deliver the experience that the corporate traveller craves through innovative technology solutions, and can provide better visibility into programme costs through key triggers, such as increasing online adoption and compliance.

Following the close of Expedia, Inc.’s acquisition of SilverRail Technologies, Inc., and building on existing partnerships with Amadeus, SNCF and Trainline, Egencia customers will be able to access a global, unified experience in the not-too-distant future in which they can book multiple providers from a single point of sale, in whichever market they operate in, as Expedia, Inc./the Expedia group works to develop its rail platform.

Given two-thirds (66 per cent) of global business travellers want to manage and book their business travel on every mobile device***, not just on their smartphone, Egencia is making a long-term investment in a single global platform that, once fully developed, will provide a seamless cross-device rail booking experience.

Whether you’re on a work trip, or a CFO, you’re keenly interested in reducing the time of a journey. It’s time to answer the question “Is it better to travel by train, plane or car?”, with real insights into overall trip satisfaction and costs.

The rail benefits calculator from SilverRail can help you think through potential programme implications for your company.

Disruption is coming. A revolution of the rail industry will finally provide travel decision makers the insight and knowledge they need and the modern booking experience travellers deserve.

Will you join us on this journey?

 

 

* According to Phocuswright, rail is now the fastest growing sector in travel, with over EUR 30 billion in rail tickets sold in 2015 in Europe alone, and forecasted to steadily increase in the future. (Phocuswright European Online Travel Overview Twelfth Edition Market Sheet)

**SilverRail “Unlocking Rail Travel 2020″

***4th edition, Egencia Business Travel and Technology Survey