Mr Marc Guigon, UIC Passenger Director, and Mr Vittorio Carta, UIC Passenger Services Group (PSG) Chair, introduced the online innovation workshop “Getting ready for the (r)evolution of the travel distribution ecosystem”, the first of three PSG innovation workshops planned for 2021. More than 40 participants joined online, representing DB, FSTechnology, Hit Rail, SNCF, Eurail, Thalys, Japan Rail, MAV Start, Trenitalia, ÖBB, SZ, SJ, CER, Iranian Railways, CP, NS, Renfe and UIC, among others.
After a quick self-introduction by all participants, Mr Stefano Scarci (EY) took the floor and provided an introduction to the transformation of travel ecosystems. Starting from an analysis of the frequency of appearance of certain key words – such as ‘ecosystem’, ‘platform’, ‘metasearch’, ‘API economy’ and others – within the literature, Mr Scarci analysed the main elements that were driving the evolution of travel distribution ecosystems, highlighting the most relevant trends and the issues that both customers and travel providers were currently facing. The theme of multimodality was then addressed, with a focus on UIC initiatives that support multimodal mobility solutions.
Ms Oana Savu, Senior Manager Future Interline Partnerships at IATA, provided an overview of IATA’s main initiatives in the field of airline distribution, including NDC and the Offer & Order paradigm. Furthermore, Ms Savu analysed the main challenges of interlining and intermodality, and explained IATA’s vision to address these challenges, also providing a high-level roadmap of the IATA Interline Group’s current and future initiatives. Finally, Ms Savu presented the Air+Rail project, running in partnership with UIC, and the main intermodal use cases which were currently under analysis.
During the afternoon session, participants were divided into two groups to participate in breakout sessions. The newly created groups met in separate virtual collaborative workspaces. The two teams carried out brainstorming sessions aimed at identifying solutions for improving shopping and ordering for customers, promoting cross-industry cooperation, enabling seamless multimodal mobility, and identifying UIC initiatives to facilitate and accelerate the adoption of OSDM, FCB and eTCD. The ideas generated were then grouped into homogeneous clusters and prioritised according to their feasibility and importance.