Rail technology company, Silverrail, released a report last week which revealed that 80% of rail tickets are being bought offline. This puts the UK far behind the likes of Sweden who make 90% of rail bookings online and also behind France and Spain, who both have a higher online adoption of over 40%.
So, if the prevalence of technology is increasing every day, then why is the process of booking rail so stagnant and, almost, archaic?
The report also dives into the behaviour of passengers once they arrive at the train station and found that older travellers tend to prefer using the more traditional method of purchasing their tickets at a ticket office. Part-time commuters also favour buying their ticket once they arrive at the station, as they don’t travel often enough to see the value in buying a season ticket.
Removing regular commuters and leisure travellers from the mix, the study goes on to show that 40% of train tickets were used for business travel purposes – if these travellers followed suit and also bought their tickets at the station, then they could face problems later down the line when trying to claim expenses, as the cost of the tickets are not recorded or logged centrally prior to an expenses claim being submitted.
Most people will look at train departure times and prices online, using third party retailer websites such as Trainline, RailEasy and Red Spotted Hanky. However, some travellers hesitate to actually hit confirm and make the booking due to additional booking fees being added on top of the ticket price. When it comes to business travel, these fees quickly build up.
With an increasing number of train operators offering brands the option of buying their tickets online and with more and more third party retailers popping up every day, most customers feel satisfied with how able they are to book tickets. This has certainly led to more tickets being booked, but bizarrely the rates of online adoption have not increased at the same pace.
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