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A door-to- door travel career: from airlines to railways to Amadeus

Thomas Drexler

Director of Rail and Ground Travel, Amadeus IT Group

I’ve spent my whole life immersed within travel; whether it’s working for a major European airline, or more recently, heading up sales at a leading passenger and logistics railway company. And now, as I find myself as the new Director of Rail at Amadeus and (almost) back where I originally started my career, I ask myself where the travel industry is headed, and what role rail can play within it.

I’ve spent my whole life immersed within travel; whether it’s working for a major European airline, or more recently, heading up sales at a leading passenger and logistics railway company.

And now, as I find myself as the new Director of Rail at Amadeus and (almost) back where I originally started my career, I ask myself where the travel industry is headed, and what role rail can play within it.

Drawing on my experiences at both Lufthansa and Deutsche Bahn, the Holy Grail as I see it will always be to deliver an end-to-end passenger experience successfully, but crucially, within an environment where customer information is delivered from one standardised source.

I believe that the rail companies that will succeed in the ‘new age’ of rail will be those that focus explicitly on the customer – for the first time service and ‘brand’ will become key strategic weapons that will battle for the loyalty of the 21st Century rail traveller with a new twist - both at home and abroad. Whereas railways have always had a strong regional market they will now have to look further afield and evolve their international operations.

Therefore, rail companies must be prepared for a multi-market, multi-modal and multi-operator industry and the opportunities that this brings.

At the same time, the ability to generate revenue growth will come not just from more tickets sold but also from diversifying and extending the rail offer to meet ever-changing customer needs.

Having attended the Amadeus Total Rail Forum back in November last year, and as a delegate rather than an organiser, I was encouraged by the prospect of how Amadeus is committed to delivering that end-to-end passenger experience I talked of earlier. And as I now take up my new role of leading the Amadeus rail business unit, I’m excited at turning that commitment into reality.