www.voyages-sncf.com, the site of the travel joint venture between Expedia and SNCF, the French state-owned railways group, launched today. The new site means travellers can book flights, hotels, car rentals and build their own package holidays, in addition to existing rail booking capabilities for those travelling through Europe.
This site will be the most visited French e-commerce site with more than 1 million unique users per month (Net Value Sept 2001) and 15,000 train ticket bookings per day.
The enhanced site brings together the best of both worlds from two travel industry leaders, combining the popularity of voyages-sncf.com with the award-wining technology and expertise of Expedia. The site offers French travellers a wide range of online services and information available in one place, plus unrivalled booking control and flexibility because every flight, hotel - including low Expedia Special Rate (ESR) hotels - car rental and train journey shown on the site is live, available and bookable online.
French travellers will benefit from the ability of Expedia`s technology to build their own package holidays online. With more choice, availability and control than any other online service in France, travellers benefit from greater convenience, flexibility and savings by combining flights, accommodation and car rentals, generally saving more than they would by purchasing each component of their trip separately. voyages-sncf.com has negotiated exclusive Alpine ski and African, Asian and Caribbean summer package holidays for French travellers in partnership with Ski Horizon and Look respectively.
Under the terms of the agreement, SNCF owns 53% of the joint venture (through its subsidiary, GL e-commerce), while Expedia, Inc. has a 47% stake. GL e-Commerce, presided by Mireille Faugère, was set up in August 2000. The company studies growth opportunities in the fields of trading and Internet communities, in order to enhance the expertise and know-how of SNCF Grandes Lignes. GL e-commerce also manages the shareholdings that SNCF Grandes Lignes has in the travel and communities sector companies. In addition to its majority shareholding in the joint venture created with Expedia, Inc., GL e-Commerce has held and 100% financed voyages-sncf.com from its creation and in December 2000, 20% of the capital of Maximiles, the first French on-line customer loyalty program.
In June 2000, SNCF Grandes Lignes set up its subsidiary, voyages-sncf.com aimed at managing and developing its interactive business. This was the date from which the SNCF site was run by voyages-sncf.com. Today, voyages-sncf.com is a leader in e-business and e-tourism in France. The site offers its clients an extended range of services from ordering a train ticket to finding tourist information for personal trips. In order to best meet its clients` expectations, voyages-sncf.com has recently set up a simple and user-friendly booking system: “3 click booking”. It also has set up partnerships to enrich its editorial content (Cityvox, Maporama, Meteoconsult, and Lonely Planet) and its range of services (car rental with Avis, entertainment tickets with Fnac Department store and hotels with Accor group).
Recently, voyages-sncf.com also launched a service called RAVEL* available to travel agencies that have on-line business and virtual travel agencies. This allows them to offer train bookings on their sites. In this way, Travelprice, the leisure arm of Carlson Wagonlit Travel and Havas Voyages have already chosen to build this service into their respective sites. In 2000 voyages-sncf.com`s turnover was 91 M Euros (600 M FRF) and it expects to make around 160 M Euros (1, 050 M FRF) in 2001. The site recorded 851,000 single visits from home users in September 2001 (source: NetValue).