Rail bookings in Europe’s key markets hit €31 billion last year around double the amount spent on low-cost airline tickets, a study into the future of European rail has found.
The Rethink Rail report showed despite the growing market for rail travel, the industry has “failed” to exploit online, user-friendly booking procedures.
The study predicted that online rail bookings in Europe will account for almost half of all transactions by 2020 but service fragmentation and complexities with data have “slowed the pace of rail’s integration” into online travel shopping channels. It added that the potential for disruption to operators and intermediaries is “very real”.
Commissioned by Silverrail Technologies the report showed that rail operators’ attitudes towards data sharing is shifting. Deregulation and increased competition between rail operators, coach services and airlines is incentivising rail operators to look more favourably on third-party distribution.
There has also been an 8 per cent growth over the past year in mobile rail bookings.
Silverrail Technologies co-founder and president Will Phillipson, said: “The Rethinking Rail report is unashamedly evangelical about the potential for exploiting rail travel. The industry has the opportunity to facilitate this, but first it has to recognise the need for change.
“The report highlights the current inefficient and non-cohesive approach to booking rail journeys online: it doesn’t match up to the air or hotel booking experience. Legacy systems, fragmentation and outdated processes have, so far, prevented the introduction of an elegant online booking solution.”
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