LONDON – The Expedia Group provided an update that its rail offering will be available on the Expedia.co.uk site this autumn. In partnership with SilverRail and supported by the Association of Train Operating Companies and the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), Expedia customers will soon be able to also purchase rail travel throughout Britain alongside the travel options already on offer.
The availability of rail on Expedia.co.uk will mark the first time a global, full-service online travel agency has offered a rail component in addition to other travel products such as air, hotel, car rental, activities and packages.
“Rail presents an extraordinary opportunity for the business in attracting new customers, growing the frequency of site visits, and offering a new transportation option with existing travel purchases. Adding rail will allow travellers to create new types of package holidays, such as combining train travel with a hotel stay, a car hire, or other things to do at their destination,” said Greg Schulze, senior vice president, Commercial Strategy and Services at the Expedia group. “We’ve learned quickly that adding rail to our business is not as easy as copy-pasting our existing booking models. Rail is a unique platform and our partners have been great in ensuring a seamless entrance into the market and delivering high customer value as well.”
Kathryn Cooper-Fay, RDG Head of Customer Journey, said, “We want to benefit rail operators and their customers while expanding access to the railway, and offering National Rail products on Expedia through its partnership with SilverRail does just that. We’re pleased to support such a strong partnership and we know that Expedia will work diligently to deliver the level of service our customers expect of rail travel retailers.”
Phocuswright’s 2016 data indicates rail is a $130 billion market opportunity. The global research company also notes rail as the fastest growing sector in travel, thanks in part to recent growth from private and government investment, technology advancements, and convenient access and destinations for travellers.
Customers visiting the Expedia.co.uk site will be the first to be able to book rail travel this autumn. The company has plans to expand to other countries and rail providers in the future.