RIDE 2012 (Rail Europe's International Distribution Event) took place in Paris last 20th & 21st March and brought together the key experts and decision-makers within international distribution of railways products. With an attendance of more than 150 people, insightful presentations and unveiling of major news, the second edition of RIDE was another great success for Rail Europe.
"RIDE 2012 went extremely well, and we are happy to have offered such a memorable event to our partners", declared Pierre-Stéphane Austi, CEO of Rail Europe. "In a context of growing competition, sharing expertise and insights can only prove beneficial to raise the profile of international rail distribution".
Overall, more than 45 General Sales Agents were present, illustrating the vitality, professionalism and high commitment of the Rail Europe’s network. The large attendance from rail operators*, at the eve of major changes -among others in the European rail landscape-, also evidenced the importance of international markets for them and their care for these clienteles (more than 2 million travellers bought their tickets from Rail Europe in 2011).
During two days, presentations and networking sessions created the ideal environment for all participants to broaden their horizons and share their ideas, in an open and pragmatic way.
Various presentations covered a wide range of subjects such as sales developments and market trends while case studies helped to share best practices. A specific focus was also made on "how to add value in the distribution chain" thanks to on-line distribution tools and innovative marketing such as the "Rail Europe Connexion" campaign. The Rail Europe Awards ceremony and the open discussion on the future of international distribution, with high level representatives from SBB, SNCF, Deutsche Bahn & and Trenitalia, closed the event.
RIDE was also an open forum for rail carriers. Changes in the domestic regulations of their countries were presented, as well as new services and products. Among others,
- the "German Rail Pass Extension", Deutsche Bahn's new product, which allows German Rail Pass holders to travel outside of Germany on DB international trains and buses
- Italo, the new high speed rail service in Italy operated by NTV
- Trenitalia's new classes of service on the "FrecciaRossa" high speed trains, offering ultimate choice and comfort
Complementing product launches, the announcement of the imminent signature of direct agreements with Trenitalia and Deutsche Bahn was the highlight of the event and acclimated by all Rail Europe GSAs. Thanks to these agreements, allowing direct connections between distribution systems, Rail Europe will indeed enjoy complete access to the whole fare range of the two rail leaders, in real time. After the signature of direct agreements/connexions with Renfe, ATOC, Amtrak or VIA Rail, Rail Europe completes its portfolio of products with access to 2 major inventories.
Marc Giesen, Director of International Sales for Deutsche Bahn indicated: "RIDE 2012 was for Deutsche Bahn a very productive event. Content was insightful and interactions were highly qualitative. We were happy to reaffirm the strength of our strong partnership with Rail Europe, which our direct agreement and the direct connexion between our systems will only further reinforce in the coming months".
"After such a successful event, where both rail carriers and GSAs reaffirmed their commitment towards growing our common business… let's already stop the date to meet again, in 2014, for the next edition of RIDE!" added Pierre-Stéphane Austi.
Rail Europe is the #1 distributor of rail tickets and passes in the world, selling directly to web users through localized websites (local currency, local language, local service) and through appointed General Sales Agents.
* The main railways from Europe and North America were represented at RIDE, including national railways such as SNCF (France), SBB (Switzerland), Deutsche Bahn (Germany), Trenitalia (Italy), Renfe (Spain), NS (Netherlands), SJ (Sweden), Amtrak (USA) and Via Rail (Canada) as well as international carriers like Eurostar, Thalys, TGV Lyria, Società Viaggiatori Italia, City Night Line or Elipsos. Representatives of STS -Swiss Travel System-, the Eurail Group, NTV (Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori - Italy) and ATOC (for Train Operating Companies in the UK) were also present at RIDE 2012.