GetThere, Europe’s leading corporate online travel reservation system, has contracted with French rail operator SNCF to make all services and routes bookable in the system during the first quarter of 2005.
Domestic British rail services are already bookable in GetThere through a partnership with TheTrainline but the SNCF agreement will give users of the system access to the wider pan-European rail network. The deal includes bookings on SNCF’s international routes and with affiliates Eurostar, Thalys, Lyria and PGM.
GetThere said in July that it had established a European team to expand the amount of continental rail travel its customers can book. This team has already started the necessary coding process and the SNCF certification should start by the end of the year.
Floyd Widener, vice president of GetThere and corporate travel at Sabre Travel Network, said bookable rail content was the “next big step” for the system in Europe.
“With more than 36,000 trips booked every month we’re already the most widely-used corporate self-booking tool in the region, proof if any was needed that GetThere can deliver huge value for corporations even without the rail element,” he said. “But rail is the final piece in the jig-saw and once we have that in place it will aid our growth in continental Europe, where rail is an important part of the business travel mix.”
Widener confirmed that talks were in progress with other European rail operators but declined to give further details.