Rail distribution set for change

Rail distribution set for change
By admin

The rail distribution landscape is set for a major evolution, as distribution firms grow increasingly interested in the sector, Rail Europe has forecast.

However, lack of standardisation across countries and a small international customer base are obstacles facing the integration of rail into global distribution systems (GDS), chief executive Pierre-Stephane Austi said.

Speaking at the Traveltech conference in Sydney on Friday, Austi claimed the consumer perception of rail travel had significantly improved over recent years, prompted by the rapid growth of high speed rail, expanding route networks and improved train quality.

The offer of wifi, city centre connections, more space to move around and the eco-friendly nature of trains increased the appeal, Austi added.

“All these factors put the trains in first position for the coming years in terms of traffic inside Europe and all the world for short distances,” he said.

“Now more and more, the distributors are interested in trains because the volume of passengers in increasing, the perception of passengers is good and the volume of sales is increasing.”

Rail carriers were also becoming more interested in a variety of multi-channel distribution methods as more and more sales start to go through third parties, whereas previously 100% of tickets were sold direct.

"Nevertheless, 80% of the distribution is still made directly by the carriers,” Austi said.

As well as the lack of standardisation and limited international business, he said low margins offered on rail tickets also pose problems.

“Low average coupon price is a challenge for professionals,” he told delegates. “If it’s an expensive distribution system it’s not sustainable.”

Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

europe rail

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