American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) has published a report that examines what is needed to make rail a better option for business travellers.
Developed with rail stakeholders from the UK and Europe, including Rail Delivery Group and key long-distance and international train operating companies, Let’s go by train identifies areas where industry collaboration can make it easier for companies to make greater use of rail as business travel restarts.
The report explores the benefits that rail can offer business travel – including convenience, comfort and lower carbon emissions than air travel, helping companies achieve their sustainability goals.
As the economy starts to recover, train operating companies and station operators can provide the comprehensive hygiene and safety protocols that will reassure returning travellers.
However, the report finds several areas where rail does not meet business traveller expectations.
Rail content is not always available on corporate booking tools, making it harder for travellers select the train for their trip.
Rail fares can be complex and inflexible.
When disruptions occur, poor availability of information can frustrate travellers and make it difficult to make alternative travel arrangements.
Many of these issues stem from the fragmented structure of the rail industry, which has often hindered system-wide improvements.
The report spotlights a lack of data sharing and difficulties accessing real-time, consistent information as key concerns.
It concludes with five priority areas, identified by the expert contributors, where the rail industry can work in concert to accelerate the delivery of customer experience improvements.
Jason Geall, GBT vice president and regional general manager, northern Europe, said: “Rail should be at the heart of business travel in the UK – it gets so much right, in terms of convenience, traveller experience and greener travel.
“GBT wants to work with our industry partners in the UK, and internationally, to address the gaps in the customer experience and make rail a truly compelling proposition for companies and their travellers.
“As business activity begins to pick up in 2021, rail can play a central role in the recovery.”