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SilverRail Partners with Virgin Red to Allow Its Members to Buy Rail Tickets and Earn Points

SilverRail is delighted to announce its partnership with Virgin Red, Virgin’s new rewards club, bringing together the Virgin family and beyond. Virgin customers can now book travel on any train within Great Britain on the Virgin Red app, whilst earning Virgin Points for doing so.

Virgin Red has opted to use SilverRail for its market leading Journey Planning and most accredited rail ticketing platform. Its members can buy and manage their train travel across England, Scotland and Wales, earning points to spend on rewards within the Virgin Red programme. Many new features are set to follow in the coming months.

“We are really excited to be partnering with Virgin Red in delivering its rail retail offering. This is a genuine first for rail customers that can now see a return on their rail ticket purchase and accrue some amazing benefits, ” said David Pitt, Head of UK at SilverRail.

“We all know Virgin for its great customer service and innovative ideas, so we are delighted that the Virgin Red team has placed its trust in SilverRail. This close collaboration will enable Virgin to extend its best-in-class customer experience to helping its members seek out better value from their rail travel purchases “Rail is a frequent purchase for many people, so it’ll be great to see Virgin Red members able to earn reward points for their everyday spending”.

“We are delighted to partner with the team at SilverRail – who have been instrumental in supporting the build to introduce yet another way for Virgin Red members to earn Virgin Points on their everyday spend. Virgin Red members will be the first to try out this new way of booking train travel and we want to bring them on the journey with us as we go full steam ahead, developing it further over the coming months.”

Phil Young, Chief Technology Officer, Virgin Red

SilverRail develops journey planning and rail retailing technology to help transport operators and merchants transform how they serve customers and run their businesses. Its products help operators and retailers get customers, keep customers, reduce costs and improve decisions.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Frederic Kalinke, Marketing Director at SilverRail / e: marketing@silverrailtech.com

Jodie Burton, PR and Communications Manager, Virgin Red / e: jodie.burton@red.virgin.com

About SilverRail

SilverRail is delivering the digital infrastructure for the global rail industry. It technology makes rail easy for rail operators, travel agencies and travellers. Its product suite spans the full customer experience: journey planning, distribution, fulfilment, customer service and data insight.

SilverRail:

  • Handles more than 1 billion online rail searches each year
  • Distributes tickets for more than 35 providers and carriers
  • Processes more than 30 million bookings each year
  • Serves more than 1,500 corporate customers worldwide

SilverRail was founded in 2009 and has offices in London, Boston, Stockholm and Brisbane.

About Virgin Red

Virgin Red, which launched in 2020 on an exclusive basis, is Virgin’s new rewards club. It’s the red thread connecting the Virgin family where members can earn on the everyday to save for the extraordinary. Virgin Red also makes it easy to support local communities, charities and the environment.

Virgin Red celebrates its members for living a life more Virgin – giving them exclusive access to rewards from the Virgin family and beyond. Virgin Red makes it really easy for members to earn and spend Virgin Points – Virgin’s universal currency which never expires. More information can be found here.

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Data Insights 1: Getting people back on trains

At SilverRail, we want to play our role in helping the rail industry recover from the pandemic and encourage people back on to trains.

In order to gain an understanding of the attitudes and likely behaviours of customers, we conducted a survey recently of 3000 travellers across the UK, France and Sweden – three countries where SilverRail has major operations. We asked them whether initiatives like proof of vaccination and enforced social distancing onboard would make them feel more comfortable about taking the train.

Here’s what they told us.

Coronavirus has and will continue to impact the number of people taking trains. But there is good news and bad news for the industry. Some people expect to travel less by rail but some do not. And different demographics have varying expectations of the amount of rail travel they will do.

Overall, in our survey group, we found that 36% of respondents said they estimate to travel less by train in 2022 than they did before the pandemic but 27% said they would not travel less by train. The responses were different between countries:

So, in the UK there is a strong expectation of travelling less by rail in 2022 but in Sweden less change is expected. This may be related to different expectations about the reason for travel in the three countries:

In the UK, the train will be used more for work and study than in France and Sweden. And as people expect to work more from home, they’re predicting they will travel less by train overall.

We also find that different groups have different expectations about the future.

* data is not available for Sweden in these categories.

Older UK men are the most likely to travel less by rail in future but younger French men and women barely expect to travel less by rail at all!

The question is, are there actions that we, as an industry, can take to encourage these people back on to the train. We considered two things:

Proof of vaccination for all passengers and

Enforced Social Distancing on Trains

And indeed, we found that those groups who expect to travel less by train, are on the whole, the same groups who would feel more comfortable if all passengers had to show proof of vaccination.

The next chart shows a clear correlation between these two attitudes.

So for example, UK men over 45 expect to travel less by train but would be comforted by travelling with other vaccinated passengers. Though controversial, perhaps vaccination passports will encourage them back on trains.

French men and women under 45, however, do not expect to travel less and will not be comforted by vaccinated co-travellers. Indeed 23% of French people under 45 ‘strongly disagree’ that they would feel more comfortable with proof of vaccination. This echoes the strong anti-vax sentiment in France. The equivalent figure amongst young people is 13% in the UK and 12% in Sweden.

So what about social distancing? If it were enforced on trains, would people be more comfortable? We found that all groups firmly believe they would be more comfortable with enforced social distancing on trains.

Though the strength of feeling about distancing varies across groups, there is no obvious relationship with the expectation of travelling less. French men and women under 45 both expect to continue travelling by train but they have very different views about the importance of distancing.

How will these insights shape what we build at SilverRail?

SilverRail has recently delivered an improvement to our journey planning results which provides the customer with an indication of how full a train is going to be. The data is provided by UK Train Operating Companies based on historic travel patterns. Armed with this data, a customer has the opportunity to choose to travel on trains which are less busy, thereby ensuring social distancing (which our survey shows they require).

We have also helped rail carriers enforce social distancing through their online seat selection tools, which are powered by SilverRail’s technology.

We will continue to seek and pre-empt product enhancements that will help get customers back on trains in future bulletins.

Look out for our next report on passenger attitudes to domestic versus international train travel.

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