Amadeus has announced the results of a pan-European rail passenger survey conducted by YouGov. More than 7,000 rail passengers across six European countries – France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK - were polled to identify traveller expectations and preferences for rail travel as long-distance, international high-speed rail travel becomes more popular.

The results of the survey demonstrated marked differences across all of the six countries polled and offers insights to rail companies looking to modernise and improve the customer experience. 
The company says that the opportunity for rail is clear as 77% of those surveyed would choose to catch an international high speed train instead of taking another means of transport, if the cost is competitive.

Other key findings from the survey revealed that almost 60%  indicated that they would like to be able to reserve “connecting rail travel and other modes of transport” (i.e. one ticket for every transport mode taken on one journey) in advance of their journey; 46% would like to pre-book “on-board entertainment or Wi-Fi” 38% would like to pre-book “fast track check-in and security” and 37% would like the option to pre-book “hotel bookings, transfers and travel insurance”. The percentage of UK adults (17%) wanting “access to VIP and business lounges” was higher than in other countries.

Meanwhile, more than half (52%) of survey respondents indicated they expect rail providers to know their “preferred seat position and location”. Furthermore, knowledge of passengers’ “total travel itinerary” (46%) (i.e. connecting flights, hotel accommodation and car rental) and technology preferences (39%) were also identified as key pieces of information of which rail providers should be aware of.

Survey participants were also asked what they expected to find at an international railway station by 2014. More than 70% of those surveyed expect to find comfortable seating and relaxation areas. The second most popular service, mobile payments, was selected by two fifths of respondents (40%).

Other services which people hoped to see in the future included a concierge service and a “gaming and entertainment suite”.

In addition to competitive pricing, respondents said they would choose a long distance, high speed, international train journey rather than flying or driving if it was a “more enjoyable and comfortable experience” (52%), had a “lower risk of disruption and cancellations” (51%) and if there was “seamless connections to other services (e.g. car rental, flights) to take you to your final destination” (46%).

The company's head, Thomas Drexler, said: “The renaissance of rail is truly underway. The next three years will see the transformation of rail as it firmly establishes itself as a truly international form of high speed travel. The survey results provide insights into what rail travellers demand of rail companies in the future if they are to make rail a real option for cross-border journeys. The next frontier is to deliver a seamless travel experience based on knowing the needs and expectations of tomorrow’s traveller and this survey goes some way towards meeting that challenge.”

To see the full results of the survey visit www.amadeus.com/high-speed-rail-station

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