RailEurope is responsible for distributing most of the world’s train tickets and rail passes, so their website needs to work in countries all over the globe, taking into consideration different languages and currencies, and the web speeds and loading times in different countries.
RailEurope is the place to plan and book your European train journey from within your home territory, to decide on timetables and to pay for tickets from operators, such as Eurostar, ICE, TGV and Thalys. RailEurope also allows travellers to purchase tickets for the hundreds of local and regional trains that criss-cross Europe. With the possibility of purchasing tickets from on-the-ground General Sales Agents, it is important that the planning and booking experience is seamless across offline and online sales.
RailEurope were keen to capitalise on the digital growth of travel around the world and make the planning and purchase of European train tickets and rail passes easy from anywhere in the world.
They approached Ardent with a request to develop an application that would allow train travellers to book European train tickets and travel passes in advance.
The Ardent team had to get to grips with different rail operators across Europe and understand the territories that they cover. Rail operators often cover many different counties and RailEurope wanted a booking engine that could cope with the hundreds of different travel combinations.
RailEurope also wanted to pull together the functionality of other apps that they offered and create an integrated version in a one point of contact option for the user. RailEurope needed Ardent to develop an app that provided the customer with a single view of all the data that they need.
For Ardent, this was an intriguing challenge – we had to collate data from different formats - both digital and offline, and create one, easy-to-understand, bundle. We understood the importance of accuracy of information as travellers would be counting on the data provided. It was of the utmost importance that train travellers could rely on the app to be accurate and to the minute. To make sure that travellers could use the app to plan their journey, train information had to be provided in real time. It was also important for Ardent to ensure that the app worked both online and offline as travellers could not rely on local Wi-Fi options.
Ardent developed RailEurope’s application using Java and Oracle database and integrated the app with RailEurope’s Mainframes and Microsoft.Net internal systems. This enabled the integration of real time data with the booking engine, which was designed to be quick for customer booking. As a result of our solution, we were able to provide data reports that enable managers at RailEurope to analyse data in a more meaningful way and make key business decisions based on the aggregated data generated by the app.
Ardent’s RailEurope app has enabled thousands of train travellers to cross Europe with assistance in their pocket. The app also allows millions of local travellers to quickly purchase train tickets for local and national routes from one centralised point.