British travellers who opt to use trains for business andleisure are keen to pre-book services such as lounge access and WiFi, a newreport has shown. Statistics from a pan-European survey conducted by YouGov forAmadeus indicated nearly half of respondents want to pay for onboardentertainment or WiFi in advance (46%), as well as fast-track entry (38%) andother elements such as a hotel, transfers or travel insurance (37%).
Several GDSsystems and booking channels in the UK have already allowed travel agents thecapability to package rail into holidays but further survey results showedcustomers want a more personalised approach. Of the 2, 050 Brits surveyed (fromaround 7,100 participants in total), 17% wanted access to business or VIPlounges, more than its European counterparts.
In addition more than half oftotal respondents expected companies to know their seating preference (52%) and 46% thinkrail providers should know their whole travel itinerary.
Amadeus has now haileda ‘rail renaissance’ and suggested that providers must make these changesbefore high-speed rail becomes a viable option against air travel.
“Therenaissance of rail is truly underway. The next three years will see thetransformation of rail as it firmly establishes itself as a truly internationalform of high speed travel,” said Thomas Drexter, head of Amadeus Rail. “Thesurvey results provide insights into what rail travellers demand of railcompanies in the future if they are to make rail a real option for cross-borderjourneys. The next frontier is to deliver a seamless travel experience based onknowing the needs and expectations of tomorrow’s traveller”.
In railwaystations themselves, 70% of travellers expect comfier seats by 2014 and 40%want mobile payments.
Meanwhile, Capita Business Travel held a rail showcase last weekat its Derby head office to train employees on train operating companies(TOCs). Rail providers include Deutsche Bahn, Eurostar and Evolvi attended theevent.
“Giving our teams the opportunity to further their expertise and gaininsight into the plans of the industry and specific TOCs, regular showcaseshelp boost existing internal knowledge,” said Raj Sachdave, strategic businessdevelopment at Capita Business Travel. “Building our own customeroffering, they also ensure we can impact the future growth of the rail industryby forging stronger relationships within the supply chain”.