Every year, 1600 million people chose the High Speed train as their means of transportation. A train ride is faster than a car ride, but slower than a flight, so why should we take one?
The EU’s initiative to make 2021 the European Year of Rail celebrates rail as the most sustainable, innovative and safest mode of transport. As Rail will inevitably shoulder a large share of future transport demand, technology and digital innovation will become key to provide a greater passenger experience.
2021 : European Year Of Rail
The year 2021 has been described as the Year of Rail in Europe, with many indicators showing that the fast-paced evolution of this industry is unlikely to stop anytime soon. For instance, this industry has proven to be more sustainable than other modes of transportation. It is also the safest type of land transportation, and is more efficient than air travel, an industry that was heavily struck by crisis, whereas railway remained steady and reliable.
Rail is a sustainable and smart transport mode.
The emergence of a highly competitive railway market in Europe makes this a crucial time for operators to expand their service offerings, and put in place unique solutions that will set them apart from one another. Looking into the future, innovation will surely not stop on the railroads, especially with more and more european world leaders endorsing trains as the main choice of travel, and operators that are starting to branch out into different countries and destinations. In fact, European countries have great ambitions for this market and are working to break records and make this Year of the Rail a decisive one.
Rail plays a huge role in the European Union’s economic growth, and has been the first method of connecting people and business across Europe. The european ambition to expand this sector is showcased by Europe’s willingness to extend the night network, a service that has been almost non-existent, especially in Western Europe. German transport minister Andreas Scheuer expressed his support for this environmentally-friendly initiative by saying: “Board the train in Munich or Berlin in the evening and arrive refreshed in Brussels or Paris the next morning.”
If railways are expanding, then so is the need for more numerous and innovative passenger services. Since trains are now connected, it opens the door for limitless onboard digital solutions with wi-fi, travel info, entertainment and e-commerce.
Digital entertainment and connectivity are redefining the on-board train experience
The first thing that comes to mind when discussing the concept of customer experience is undoubtedly passenger Wi-Fi. Providing Wi-Fi to passengers was a major shift toward the digital train. One of the earliest railway operators to provide wifi on board its trains was the german company Deutsche Bahn, who tested it for the first time in 2005. In Europe, French railway operator SNCF was quick to follow and attempted on board Wifi in late 2007. Since then, there has been no turning back from connectivity on trains.
Entertainment is just a click away.
Wireless technologies have radically transformed the way we entertain and communicate. Today, hardcopy newspapers and magazines, as well as built-in screens in trains are replaced by streaming platforms. The aerospace industry was ahead of its time when it projected the need for entertainment. Well, now this concept is being transported to the railway industry. To satisfy the need to entertain during waiting times railways operators have provided passengers with streaming platforms where they can watch the latest blockbuster movies and stay up to date by reading the news.
To provide these solutions, tech companies such as Moment step in to supply trains with connectivity and create digital platforms for on-board services. In fact, in Europe, most trains already started to offer entertainment content to their passengers; through a variety of business models depending on different service providers and railway operators. For instance, paid models have been implemented in Spain and Germany by Renfe and DeutscheBahn. However, none of these operators rely on 100% paid offers and instead, entertainment is provided on a freemium basis.
On the other hand, some operators have a different strategy; Eurostar in France and the UK as well as Trenitalia in Italy, supply free WIFI and free entertainment.
The opportunities unlocked by digitization are endless
So many new and exciting opportunities at the click of a button are reshaping the on-board train journey. Such digital services enable a better experience and also allows for more effective monetization with targeted upgrades, seat selection, on-board service and more – all based on real customer data and insights.
Indeed, a world-class passenger experience is context-conscious: it knows the status of the passenger’s journey and adjusts information accordingly. By providing the right information at the right time to the right passenger, we remove anxiety and reduce workload, creating serenity and a stress-free journey. And when customers are relaxed, they’re more likely to have a great experience on board.
Purchases are made easy and seamless.
At Moment, we create a holistic digital customer experience, where passengers can get all the personalized info they need – including destination guides, real-time travel information, and control over their time on board – thus being confident because the information is always close at hand and up-to-date. From the on-board menu to the train itinerary, we communicate everything that happens between departure and arrival, helping passengers personalize their hours on tracks.
With connected trains, companies are taking the advantage to offer on-board shopping as an integral part of the passenger journey. The e-commerce experience has to be optimized and built with the specificities of mobility and travel in mind. Moment’s platform includes an eshop to order items and have it delivered. By using it, passengers can choose their snacks or beverages, pay online, and receive their order, without getting out of their seat. They can also purchase subway tickets or book a taxi. The entire experience becomes easy and personalized, while unified payment makes purchases convenient at any touchpoint.
In this global pandemic period we are going through, digital and touchless services are extremely useful. They make it possible to issue safety instructions and also to store health information, making sure passengers enjoy their trip without any unexpected bumps in the road.
A Roadmap to the Future
We at Moment, believe that these services are real game-changers and can drive new customer engagement, growth possibilities, radical cost efficiency opportunities, and new business models. As our products continue to progress, our number one priority remains to bring the latest digital technologies on-board and to imagine a future where customers have a seamless experience at every step of their journey.