The need to facilitate easy-to-book reservations for rail or combined air and rail journeys was a key issue under scrutiny during Amadeus’ 2nd Annual Rail Forum held recently in Nice, France. One result of the Forum, attended by 100 delegates, is the launch of the Amadeus Rail Forum 2008 Blog. The blog allows guest bloggers to share opinions and ideas.
The Rail Forum brought together experts from the travel industry to exchange ideas and discuss current hot issues facing the rail industry, including the need for further collaboration. Delegates included representatives from the rail industry, including directors and senior sales, product and IT managers from major rail networks; travel management companies; leisure agencies and airlines.
One conclusion: while there is a bright future for rail there is a need to collaborate across travel industry lines. Discussions included the challenges to improving ease of rail bookings, competition, customer experience and the opportunities presented by technology, among others. Against a backdrop of increasingly demanding passengers, with business and leisure travelers expecting flexible bookings, and the ability to book “end-to-end” travel utilizing multiple forms of transport, rail travel must continue to meet high expectations, Amadeus said.
Increased “intermodal” travel allowing passengers to book journeys using more than one mode of transport in a single booking and by issuing a single ticket is important, Amadeus said. But further collaboration within the rail industry and with the air industry is necessary to make progress in this area. Amadeus said that “facilitating” technology is compounded by the fact that the rail industry is set for huge growth as the European high-speed network undergoes expansion and amid increasing pressure on businesses to reduce carbon emissions.