Rail firms must branch out with booking methods

27 April 2005
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28 April 2005 | David Arminas

Rail companies have to increase the number of ways customers can book tickets if they are to get more businesspeople on board, according to the chief executive officer of Eurostar.

"We must compete like we are an airline," Richard Brown told the Institute of Travel Management annual conference.

"You can book rail in many ways, including at the station, over the phone, on the internet and through an agency," said Brown, who was chairman of the Association of Train Operating Companies in 2000-01.

"But we must broaden our booking options to include more on-line outlets, such as travel portals and through global distribution services (GDS)."

He said Eurostar is "actively looking" at GDS networks used to book airline tickets.

Delegates also heard that rail firms must start to offer better deals to encourage business people to use their services, according to Ian Nurdin, former travel manager with Nestlé UK

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