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Changing tracks at Asia Pacific Rail 2017: 5 factors to unlock rail travel in Asia
Asia Pacific Rail event is one of the best places to talk about rail in Asia. Rail isn’t only about infrastructure, equipment and communication technology… its ultimate goal is growing its ridership and this is about Rail Travel. Complex and still hardly visible in the booming travel industry.
As a new player in Asia Pacific for rail, Amadeus launched this research paper to better understand the rail market and at the same time better understand the challenges at stake for railways.
The exercise gave us some clear insights about the region, and put some light more specifically on some make or break factors that are key for railways to consider to become more prominent players and capture a bigger share of the world of travel in APAC.
Key messages Personal story : Welcome to AsiaPacRail ! One of the best place to talk about rail in Asia. Rail isn’t only about infrastructure, equipments and communication technology… it’s ultimate goal is growing its ridership and this is about Rail Travel. Complex and still hardly visible in the booming travel industry.
My last multi-countries business travel in Asia included 2 train segments among 8 flights, 10 hotels, 4 transfers and 1 cooking class at one of Jamie Oliver’s Kitchen. Believe me booking my rail took 50% of my preparation time. There’s room for improvement. Rail should capture a bigger share of the asian travel business
As a new player in APAC for rail, Amadeus launched this research paper to better understand the rail market + at the same time better understand the challenges at stake for railways. The exercise gave us some clear insights about the region, and put some light more specifically on some make or brake factors that are key for railways to consider to become more prominent players and capture a bigger share of the world of travel in APAC.
2016 3.7 B people flew over the globe Same time 3B Chinese took a train…
We talk about sheer numbers here…
Key messages: APAC landscape Understand future of rail travel in region. Assess where we are today from a traveler perspective The rail market in APAC is showing many initiatives with: new tracks being built, high speed trains, new connections to city centres and airports.
All are very diverse from one country to another, but overall there is a real momentum for rail in all of them.
Content from whitepaper there is little that unites rail in Asia Pacific. The fragmentation that characterises rail in other world regions is, if anything, magnified. And the market is best thought about in terms of four broad sub-regions:
1.Pacific Australia, New Zealand A relatively mature network of state-owned, state-run railways linking the major towns and cities, supplemented by a mix of state- and privately-owned metros and airport links. Aside from commuters and intra-regional travel, trains today are used primarily by people who are keen for a cheaper, slower, more scenic mode of transport.
2.Indian Subcontinent Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka An extensive but aging infrastructure, which suffers from historical under-investment, but nonetheless includes some interesting pockets of technological adoption and innovation. Rapidly losing out to low cost carriers at the premium-end, but remaining exceptionally busy at the lower-end.
3. Southeast Asia Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam Overall an aging infrastructure, but several pockets of investment, with some new rolling stock and several very impressive metros and airport links. The entire region has a long-stated ambition to modernise and extend the network, provide greater access to rural areas, and introduce cross-border and high-speed lines – which could liberate untold potential.
4. North Asia China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Macau, Taiwan In terms of the network, this is arguably the world’s most advanced region for rail travel. In countries like Japan and Korea, customer-centricity is a given and punctuality can be measured in seconds, whereas China is home to the world’s busiest, newest, fastest-growing networks.
Key messages Improve the customer experience to grow! Rail operators to maintain level of service quality to keep existing rail travelers + prove the value to attract new ones.
Text from whitepaper Many rail operators are today with a captive audience.
For Commuters : logical choice. Familiar with the service, and ok wit relative cost, comfort of rail travel.
In Future: operators will have to go after a more diverse and more active audience. Not truly familiar with the service but considering new modes of transport like lift-sharing and self-driving cars – In addition to more traditional competitors like low cost airlines and luxury coaches.
Marketing and Merchandising will become a priority Ticketing to extend beyond the operators’ closed channels. Operators to maintain relevance among core passenger segments + particularly the higher-yield segments.
Key messages Open up data to make rail more visible and easier to search and book!
Attract new travelers and increase the visibility of rail => share timetables and ticketing information for example.
Must be integrated into the traveller booking experience: search stage with flight, hotel + train ticket at the same time, from the same place.
Text from whitepaper Traditionally, rail has been an insular and inward-looking business.
Every operator in every country : own particular way of dealing with things – Own booking and ticketing systems, pricing models, rules and regulations, own way of presenting timetables and route-maps.
Average traveller: ‘just the way things are’. Inbound/infrequent travellers: “mystifying and intimidating”.
The biggest barrier: Rail timetables + Booking information => difficult to catch. Opportunity for Rail: Making data open and available, like real-time performance data. Feed third-party services and applications (disruption management)
Growing move on Self-Managed Travel from Air to Hotel and Car or Rail. Not nearly as searchable and visible to travellers or travel sellers as other modes of transport. Reducing adoption of rail beyond status quo.
Integration in Global Distribution Systems (GDSs): Crucial. Goal: book & Pay different journey options in a single transaction (no multiple tickets and uneasy process).
Key messages Technology is at the core of a smooth customer experience.
The most tech-savvy region in the wold, rail operators need to take a mobile-first approach as end-to-end experience enhancer.
Text from whitepaper Smartphones are universal. 4B people.
Tech savvy: younger generations + demanding business travellers - high expectations, and expect to use device every step of the way
Mobile devices are your best front-end: seat upgrade, selling onward tickets on another mode of transport + services
In time, exponential growth with the rise of Chatbots, AI, Voice commanding
Key messages Collaborate to make rail an integral part of the travel experience! Rare possibility for a truly multi-modal experience.
Collaboration between key industry players is key: enable travellers to enjoy a seamless travel experience – from their search right through to offloading their baggage from the taxi.
Content from whitepaper travel choices expand daily there are huge space for railways with additional new roles feed passengers to or from other modes of transport. take entire legs of a journey. compete, head-to-head as the primary player. But passengers will want the ability to make like-for-like comparisons, understand connections and compare costs at the time they plan their travel.
Add an airport express train ticket to a traveller’s flight or hotel room at the moment of booking.
huge potential for rail operators to innovate with personalised travel services, bringing a door-to-door’ experience.
Key messages Make payment easy and mobile friendly! Rail operators should look for new ways to pay, to make rail travel cashless, ticketless, frictionless.
Text from whitepaper Disruption in commerce is the emergence of new payment methods – Travel industry is wrapped-up in the changes. Contactless bank cards and Emergence of mobile payment services like Apple Pay.
Success of embedded payments in ride hailing and ride sharing services like Grab and Uber and accommodation services like Airbnb and Booking.com. Payment is automated, another barrier is removed.
Transport for London 2017 - 1.8 million journeys a day - 40% of all pay-as-you go transactions.
What can you do, how can we help to benefit from this growth?
Whitepaper available online
Happy to discuss
Changing tracks at Asia Pacific Rail 2017: 5 factors to unlock rail travel in Asia