UIC Passenger Director Marc Guigon and Vittorio Carta, UIC Passenger Services Group (PSG) Chair, opened the online innovation workshop, “Hyper-Personalisation and Dynamic Offers in Passenger Rail”, the second of three innovation workshops planned for 2021. More than 30 participants attended the workshop online, representing DB, Trenitalia, ÖBB, FSTechnology, JSC RZD, Eurail, MÁV, Entur, Turkish Railways, SV, Lithuanian Railways and UIC, amongst others.
Following a quick round of introductions, Stefano Scarci (EY) took the floor and provided an introduction to the topic. He began with a definition of the concept of hyper-personalisation and provided a number of examples. He then covered the main techniques for implementing hyper-personalisation in passenger rail and related challenges and limitations. Finally, he provided an overview of the development of dynamic offers in passenger rail and other sectors, highlighting opportunities and issues. An interactive survey followed, collecting the opinions of the participating railways on the aforementioned topics.
Cristoph Hinterleitner, Head of Pricing and Revenue Management at ÖBB, then presented the challenges of night trains and the implications for revenue management. He explained the key differences between night and day trains and how the numerous classes available on night trains introduce new levels of complexity in terms of revenue management. On night trains, booking one place with a certain comfort level influences the availability of other comfort levels. Overlapping availability requires more complex nesting schemes. ÖBB has solved this problem by implementing matrix nesting and a new reservation system in September 2020.
The next speaker was Francesco Sorvillo, Digital, Business Innovation & Communication at Trenitalia, who explained how Trenitalia has been engaged since 2007 in listening to the needs of “ever-more mobile” customers. Trenitalia’s objective is to improve and enhance the customer experience at all touch points; with this in mind, it works on the design for its app on an ongoing basis. Mr Sorvillo described the personalisation features of Trenitalia’s new app and the results achieved, including an increase in conversion rates and a shift in the digital channel mix. The app’s various functionalities include last-minute purchasing, personalised notifications, self-check-in and real-time reporting of on-board events.
During the afternoon session, attendees participated in breakout sessions held in virtual collaborative workspaces. One team worked on the question of how passenger rail companies can become more customer-centric by developing personalisation and dynamic offer capabilities and on how UIC can facilitate such a transformation. Another team brainstormed on personalised services that should be offered to improve the value proposition to rail passengers. The ideas generated were then grouped and prioritised in terms of feasibility and importance.