Road & Rail

“Technology and agility are our biggest challenges”, says Rail Europe CEO

Huntley Mitchell

Huntley Mitchell

Rail Europe’s chief executive has lifted the lid just a little on the company’s “great plans” for 2019 and beyond, with technology to play a key role.

Speaking at an intimate breakfast in Sydney yesterday, Khoi Nguyen said the biggest challenges Rail Europe face are around technology and agility, admitting that the IT of legacy carriers are not the most modern.

“The market’s growing, so the customers are there. It’s about how are we going to be catching up with demand and serving them well by designing the right experiences,” he told Travel Weekly.

“The legacy [carriers] make it a bit challenging in terms of technology – that’s for us to figure out – but really what we want is more and more different products for our customers than [just] the core product that we’ve been offering for many, many years.

“Experientially speaking, it’s about complimentary museum tours or guest economy experiences.

“When people come to France, we like very much our visitors to discover all the various facets of France, and not only the Eiffel Tower and move on – there’s more about the architecture and the seaside. All this we can facilitate and we should facilitate as additional service to our customers.”

Nguyen, who has only been in the top role at Rail Europe for four months, said customer mobility on journeys is a big focus for the company going forward, noting that it requires a lot of technology.

“Directionally, we believe that we can bring much more services and innovation to our customers beyond just the transaction journey,” he said.

Rail Europe’s CEO also signalled further growth for its Great Train Journeys offering, which includes The Ghan, Indian Pacific and The Overland in Australia.

Nguyen said one of the opportunities the company will continue to explore is how it can further distribute the product globally.

“We think there’s a search for valuable experiences, and we see that. That’s why Great Train Journeys for us is going to be a solid leader for us,” he said.

With Australia recently overtaking South Korea to become Rail Europe’s second-largest market behind the US, Nguyen praised the company’s trade partners for its continued success Down Under.

“Trade is the core asset for us in developing the business not just in this part of the world, but globally,” he said.

“It is one of the key things we’ve built over the years, and that will continue. We need to be on par with the technology to ensure that.”

Rail Europe is set to woo agents once again next month with its Great Train Journeys Showcase in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

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