BeNe Rail International (BeNe RI), an international distribution technology joint venture set up by NS and SNCB/NMBS*, has agreed to enter into a long-term strategic IT partnership with Amadeus to create a new rail community IT platform as part of Amadeus’ Total Rail solution. This unique platform is based on the concept of a community model whereby a third party IT expert, Amadeus, develops and hosts applications for several rail companies to share in common and benefit from synergies.
The platform proposes a solution to cover all end-to-end processes for rail travel in Europe. Hosted and run from Amadeus’ Data Centre in Erding (Germany), the solution enables BeNe RI to remain in control of its individual distribution strategies and channels. Amadeus will bring BeNe RI numerous advantages including increased flexibility and performance, with the aim of enhancing customer satisfaction. The platform will be rolled out across BeNe RI over several phases during the next few years.
BeNe RI, along with its existing customer CFL, is the launch partner of Amadeus’ community IT platform. Total Rail encompasses Amadeus’ multi-channel and multi-carrier rail distribution offer for travel agencies, corporations, stations and railway contact centres. It offers a complete IT solution to manage schedules, fares and inventory information as well as shopping, booking, ticketing, after sales, payment, reporting and settlement.
Arnold De Brauwer, President, BeNe RI, commented on behalf of NMBS/SNCB and NS: “Amadeus’ rail community IT platform will open new horizons for us as we strive to strengthen our multi-channel and multi-carrier distribution with bolstered rail content provided by our partner carriers. Our customers will be able to rely on a single convenient rail solution to answer all their needs. This will also enable us to fine-tune our service offering with dedicated resources and in turn improve travellers’ satisfaction.”
The platform ultimately aims to provide a benchmark community model in the industry whereby all rail operators share an integrated hosting platform and have access to the same levels of functionality both for multichannel distribution as for carrier hosting. All members can take advantage of the development that Amadeus carries out as part of its on-going commitment to the evolution of the IT platform. This means it is set up to allow for continuous innovation. The rail community IT platform is ready for more rail providers globally to join and outsource their distribution and IT.
Thomas Drexler, Director Rail & Ground Travel, Amadeus said: “Amadeus has been very successful with its Altéa suite of solutions co-developed for airlines with launch partners and we are confident that this success will be replicated in the rail industry. We are very proud to power BeNe Rail’s IT and distribution platform, which ultimately reinforces our commitment to become a major IT partner to the rail industry. BeNe RI has broken the mould to become an innovative provider in a historically traditional industry, allowing them the flexibility to focus on their core business and their customers. We look forward to welcoming more rail players onto our platform.”
*BeNe Rail International is a joint venture (50/50) between NS and SNCB Railway Undertakings, created in March 2003. BeNe RI is providing the IT distribution technology for NS, SNCB and CFL. The BeNe Rail IT Platform processes currently more than 10 mio. tickets on an annual base and is specialised in multichannel and multicarrier distribution.