Rethinking Rail: Disruption and Digital Distribution in Europe’s Online Travel Market

Rethinking Rail: Disruption and Digital Distribution in Europe’s Online Travel Market Published May 2015 Analyst: Luke Bujarski

 

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10
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The future of Europe's online market for rail travel is heading in two possible directions. One is for consumers to continue purchasing tickets directly from operators – whether through kiosks, agents, supplier websites or apps. The other – and more likely and natural scenario – is an online marketplace where consumers can comparison shop for flights, rail tickets and other modes of transport on integrated platforms. Mounting competition between rail, air and road transport is incentivizing rail operators to partner with various technology companies and online travel marketplaces. For the 1.3 billion Europeans who travel long distance (over 100 kilometers) via train every year, there is still a dearth of easy and efficient booking platforms that specialize in rail. Meta and multimodal search are playing an important role in bringing rail into the online travel shopping mainstream, but integrating booking APIs is becoming a critical component of a sustainable business model for rail products. Mobile in particular presents a unique challenge for accessing schedule and pricing data alongside booking functionality.

  • Introduction
  • Objective
  • Methodology
  • Key Findings
  • Market Size Matters
  • How Travelers Book Rail
  • Operator Landscape: Highly Fragmented, Competitive and Regulated
  • Competitive Landscape: Air, Rail and Road
  • Intermediary Landscape: Consumer vs. Industry-Driven Demand
  • Conclusion
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