2 years ago
 

Expedia to take rail seriously, with a little help from SilverRail

Expedia says it will be expanding its rail ticket channel on a global scale thanks to a major agreement signed this week with SilverRail Technologies.

The rail distribution platform will power search and ticketing of rail services as part of the partnership, following a similar process that customers have on Expedia’s hotel, air and car hire channels.

The deal is being heralded as “one of the significant partnerships we have signed”, by SilverRail CEO Aaron Gowell.

The channel is expected to go live during 2016.

Expedia reckons it has had a “great playbook” with its other channels so far and now wants to add a similar focus to its provision for booking rail tickets, epecially in Europe and Asia where highs-speed train services are seen as a worthy competitor to short haul air routes.

The company’s senior vice president for global tour and transport, Greg Schulze, says:

“The growth of rail, and the significant business opportunity it presents, is a trend we can no longer neglect; we look forward to begin selling rail tickets and learning more about the nuances of this unique product.”

European sites for Expedia had previously been selling Eurostar packages, but this will be the first time that tickets from multiple train operator will be available for consumers.

It is not the first time that SilverRail has secured a major deal with an online travel agency.

In 2011 it signed an agreement to power the rail ticket channel for Ebookers (owned by Orbitz, now all part of the Expedia Inc family).

The site sold rail tickets for a time but it is understood that a change of leadership at the European-focused OTA, which no longer favoured rail as part of the overall strategy, eventually saw the product switched off.

NB: German rail image via Shutterstock.

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Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May was a co-founder and member of the editorial team from September 2009 to June 2017.

 

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  1. Francois Linkus

    @Cameron Your press release(s) say “Over 80 providers and carriers are connected via the company’s ‘SilverCore’ distribution platform – the world’s first unified platform for global rail.” Why do you say 80 when your tally of 7 connections SNCB, DB, ATOC, SJ, VIA Rail, Amtrak & Renfe?

     
  2. Kevin May

    Kevin May

    @francois – if you’re suggesting that this partnership has only taken place because of a perceived old boys network then it’s something of which i have zero knowledge… Best left to the protagonists to comment on that one.

     
  3. George Bradshaw

    Kevin, it doesn’t mention if this is expedia consumer or expedia’s business corporate travel agent side? Most of SR’s customers are corporate travel agents. I don’t think anyone uses them on the consumer side except Loco2 (and then only for UK). Ebookers did tiny volumes.

     
  4. Francois Linkus

    Did no one in Expedia tell Greg Schulze that Expedia co-founded and has owned 49.9% of voyages-sncf.com since 2000. Voyages-sncf.com is the largest rail selling portal in the world and sells the tickets of 16 rail companies. What exactly do Silverrail have to offer? They have a piffling handful of rail connections (that either offer either little or no commission or licensing problems to use). And very few customers.

     
    • Kevin May

      Kevin May

      @francois… let’s assume – not a particularly wild thing to suggest – for a moment that presumably Greg was told about VoyagesSNCF… Why do YOU think that partnership wasn’t taken into consideration?

       
      • Francois Linkus

        I presume you are hinting that either there is some issue with SNCF or Silverrail offer something better? Well I can’t comment on the former but the latter seems easier to take on. Firstly Silverrail have so little useable content in their system – e.g they’ll say they have Eurostar but they only have it through a connection to SNCB. And no one has ever taken an SNCB connection from Silverrail. And Eurostar forbids Silverrail from selling it. That is just one small example. But I mention it because they couldn’t even do Eurostar packages through Silverrail. Expedia by utilising their actual GDS connections (e.g Amadeus, Galileo that have loads of rail) & their SNCF joint venture have a world of rail connections. So what is this about? Do you have an opinion Kevin?

         
        • Kevin May

          Kevin May

          @francois – sadly i’m not hired to have an opinion 🙂 nor do i know the intricacies of either platform… all i know is that EXPE has done a deal with SR. Presumably EXPE would have gone through the same issues that you have raised in its negotiations and remains satisfied with the outcome.

           
        • Francois Linkus

          Kevin, I think who you know and the golf course has as much to do with these deals as the merits of platforms. SR are Americans and part of the Boston Travel VC crowd. SNCF are French. SR is a dumbed down offering to the American OTA flight crowd at its heart.

           
        • Greg Schulze

          Greg here. We absolutely remain committed to the voyages-sncf.com partnership. Our announcement with SilverRail is about bringing rail into the global Expedia booking pages (alongside air, car, cruise and hotel) as part of the introduction of standalone rail that we talked about on our last earnings call. Also… I don’t golf.

           
        • Cameron

          Hi Francois, you clearly have some experience in rail and you’re passionate about sharing your opinions so I’d love to speak with you directly, to bring you up to speed on SilverRail. You can email me if you like, cameron at silverrailtech.com. I golf, badly…

           
        • Francois Linkus

          @Greg and @Cameron. Nice to hear from you both. So we know golf wasn’t the key! Glad we cleared that up. So @Greg Expedia is going to sell rail in its own right, not as a city to city fill in for air only? As a clear section in Expedia’s site and app. Why is that not coming from SNCF? Or is there a mix of ‘connectors’? And @Cameron what connections have you got now and coming?

           
        • Cameron

          Hey Francois, please email me so we can discuss in more detail however we have connections in UK, Spain, Germany, Benelux, Sweden, Canada and The USA. We have one more country in the final stages of development and another starting shortly. I look forward to speaking… perhaps a game of golf 😉

           
 
 

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