Major providers invest in time for 2010
Investment in continental European rail will come before partnerships in the UK, three leading global distribution service (GDS) providers said.
Speaking at the Business Travel Show yesterday (February 12), representatives from Amadeus, Sabre Travel and Travelport GDS acknowledged a shift from corporate air travel to rail.
David Allot, Sabre Travel's commercial director for UK and Ireland, said there was "far more corporate travel by rail in continental Europe in terms of sales volume."
Mr Allot said the results of Sabre's global investment into a "rail consolidation platform" would come "at the end of this year."
Gillian Gibson, Amadeus' group vp, multinational customer, said fare integration with European rail operators SNCF, Deutsche Bahn and Swedish Railways (SJ) was already established.
Ms Gibson said Amadeus knew how difficult it would be to distribute rail from experience with air partnerships.
"Our vision in terms of rail is to facilitate the distribution of rail and to be able to distribute it in the same way as we do air," she said.
Ms Gibson said Amadeus was looking into a "single booking tool" to address the "specific problem of rail in the UK market."
"It is a huge issue of investment to distribute rail in the way that we want to," she said.
"But the vision is there. We will see it in 2009 and more will come in 2010."
Patrick Lukan, Travelport GDS' general manager, UK and Ireland, spoke specifically of its solution for the UK.
"From the Travelport perspective, we took the position of seeking partnership with Trainline.com," he said.
"We did that for a number of reasons, the main one being they were first in the market."
www.amadeus.com www.sabre.com www.travelport.com