Events management and booking agency Capita Travel and Events has revealed that despite the market reduction in first class rail travel for business, travellers are still using this class of travel but travelling more cheaply by booking smarter.
Capita Travel and Events attributes the trend to changes in buying behaviour driven by data analysis, use of effective tools to reduce costs and interactive communication with both travellers and travel bookers.
Raj Sachdave (pictured) MCIPS, Head of Rail Product at the agency, said: “It is natural that premium travel and accommodation comes under greater scrutiny in times of austerity. We work with procurement teams to establish where realistic changes in buying behaviour could lower the total cost for those customers who still need to travel in premium.”
The agency’s recent snapshot review of customer rail trends showed that while the proportion of first class rail travellers had almost halved in four years, their use of cheaper advanced tickets doubled to 47 per cent*.
Sachdave added: “Policies allowing travellers to use first class tickets when they are cheaper than standard tickets can work well, but successful campaigns aren’t just about enforcing travel policies to increase compliance. They’re about communicating with, engaging with and educating the travellers and the travel bookers with objectives endorsed by their procurement teams.
“You can tell a traveller that they could have booked a journey with a slightly later departure time and saved £100 on rail tickets. But if someone else books their travel on their behalf and factors on the side of caution with timings, you’re communicating to the wrong person.”
* In 2010, eight per cent of customer travllers travelled by first class. Of those, 24 per cent travelled with advance purchase tickets. In 2013, 4.5 per cent of customer travellers travelled by first class. Of those, 47 per cent travelled with advance purchase tickets.
Do you have news for CN? Email: Paul Colston