Ctrip, the Chinese-based NASDAQ-listed OTA and the world’s second largest travel company, has officially launched a rail app for the UK market, TrainPal.
Amy Wei, group general manager of international train ticketing at Ctrip’s trip.com, told tnooz that the long-term vision for the app is as a one-stop shop for global rail bookings, allowing users in any geography the chance to book rail anywhere in the world.
The back-end for the app is Evolvi, which provides inventory, availability and fares for TrainPal. Evolvi feeds into Ctrip’s “centralized platform for all our rail partners.” Evolvi currently powers the UK rail offer across Ctrip’s other points of sale.
The consumer proposition is that TrainPal is able to find the cheapest fares for users, and one way of doing this is by “split ticketing.” Wei said that TrainPal is the only consumer-facing brand to offer split tickets as e-tickets. She also mentioned no booking fees and the fact that there will be a very strong customer service component to the app.
Wei is also looking at the long game in terms of customer acquisition, and is not currently planning any big above-the-line campaigns.
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