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Cross Country Trains has sold its millionth advance ticket on the day of travel, a booking concept introduced to business travellers in 2014.
The rail operator’s initiative gives customers the chance to buy discounted advance tickets up to 15 minutes before departure.
This means passengers can buy a discounted Advance ticket, subject to availability, to travel with Cross Country while on route to the station instead of paying the full fare at the ticket office on the day.
Cross Country managing director Andy Cooper said: “In only two years, sales of advance tickets have gone from strength to strength and now make up almost thirty percent of our sales. We literally had to break the rail industry ticketing systems to deliver this innovative product, but its popularity with our customers has proved its value.”
He added: “Business travellers who do not know when their meeting will end can now reduce the cost of their travel too. And journeys can be even cheaper as customers can use their railcard to save even more money.”
In March, the Rail Delivery Group announced it had sold more than one million ‘mobile-friendly’ e-Tickets in the first six months of sale.
New e-Tickets, the latest product of the rail industry’s effort to develop its technology offering, can be stored on a smartphone or mobile device and used through the train company app, in Apple Wallet and by email.
Virgin Trains West Coast, in partnership with Trainline, were the first to offer eTickets in August last year. Gatwick Express and TransPennine Express followed suit and Caledonian Sleeper will soon them. In the six months since launching over 1.4million have been sold.
Latest figures from the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents train companies, show that 85 per cent of tickets sold online by Gatwick Express are e-Tickets. Virgin Trains West Coast reports that almost half (47%) of those customers presented with the option to purchase e-Tickets over paper options choose to do so.
Research by online ticket retailer Trainline, who sell them for Virgin West Coast, show that four in five customers (82%) rated using eTickets as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ and that almost nine in ten (89%) would buy one again.
Dennis Rocks, RDG managing director of Technology Services, said: “The railway must move with the times. All train companies are improving and modernising how they sell tickets, developing mobile-friendly, smarter types of electronic tickets to make it quicker and easier for people to pay to travel by train.
Read BBT’s feature on the future of rail technology and e-Tickets from 2010!