A new business model proposed by Amadeus aims to provide agents with access to rail bookings with multiple companies across Europe.
The merchant model provides travel agencies around the world with one link to sell multiple train companies, bypassing the need for one-to-one commercial relationships.
The full content of DB (German), RENFE (Spanish), SNCF (French), Trenitalia (Italian) and select eastern European rail operators are available as part of the model, with more expected to join.
Amadeus acts as a sales agent for rail operators to simplify contractual agreements, financial flows and invoicing with travel agencies.
This will mean reduced costs for rail firms as Amadeus takes care of all setup, billing and settlement activities, and assumes financial and legal risks of selling via travel agencies.
The model will enable train companies to reach travellers in new markets as Amadeus takes care of promoting their offer to travel agencies too.
Travellers can book rail travel through their travel agency before flying and have their entire trip – including air, hotel and rail – on the same itinerary.
Amadeus global head of rail and ground travel, Antoine de Kerviler, said: “Rail travel today is still largely domestic but this will soon change – our merchant model marks the beginning of a new era, giving the industry what it needs to take a global leap, and unlock growth.
“For travel agencies this will mean a convenient gateway to leading rail content that will serve to enrich their overall offer.
“I am confident that rail will be on the radar of many more travellers now and as it becomes more and more accessible to them – just imagine booking rail the same way as air, all integrated in a single itinerary – it will get the attention it deserves. We look forward to adding more rail operators across all continents in the coming months.”
Ronn Kostecki, project manager at Deutsche Bahn, which is being tipped to run high speed trains between Frankfurt and London through the Channel Tunnel, said: “The merchant model combines Deutsche Bahn’s market leading transport services with the technological power of Amadeus.
“With this new agreement Deutsche Bahn vastly extends its global network.
“We will improve the availability of our tickets to all travel agencies, particularly those with a wide travel offer.”
Alessandra Bucci, commercial director of long haul passenger division at Trenitalia, said: “The new agreement with Amadeus will let Trenitalia increase its global reach in an exponential way.
“It will be much easier for travel agencies, no matter their size, to distribute our products and let travellers from all around the world move across Italy by train, which in the last years has become one of the most pleasant and convenient ways to travel to top Italian destinations.
“Moreover, this is a further step towards our ambitious project of offering our customers an integrated travel solution, covering their trip door-to-door in Italy”.