The Coronavirus pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the global economy. As restrictions are being lifted, we are seeing first signs of an economic recovery. While there are many factors at play, the role of business travel for economic stimulation is crucial. According to the Business Travel Association (BTA), the business travel sector is contributing £220 billion to UK GDP in a typical year.
In the current context, the single most important thing for business travellers and their employers is safety. Train operating companies are addressing this concern through enhanced cleaning protocols and other hygiene measures (see also the Rail Delivery Group’s Safer Travel Pledge).
We at Trainline for Business are also doing our part to help keep business travellers safe by providing digital ticketing options. Digital tickets enable contactless travel, as there is no need to touch a ticket machine or queue at the station. Travellers can book them in the comfort and security of their home. On the day of travel, travellers can go straight onto the train, which is not only safer but can also save valuable time. At the ticket barriers and on the train, travellers can scan the barcode directly from the PDF email attachment on their phone, there is no need to search around for the ticket. Digital tickets are also easily shareable with colleagues, i.e. in a group booking. Finally, there is no need to print tickets, which is especially helpful for those currently working from home with no access to a printer.
For employers, digital tickets also have a number of advantages. They are much more sustainable compared to printed tickets and it finally allows companies to remove ticket printers from their offices. In addition, if digital tickets are booked through a corporate booking tool (for example Trainline’s self-book tool), they help with compliance and enable employers to perform their duty of care by knowing exactly where there employees are or have been – which is now crucial in light of COVID-19.
At Trainline, we have always been advocates of digitising the network and have worked closely with the industry in innovating and selling digital tickets. It’s beyond question that digital tickets, where they’ve been rolled-out, have transformed the travellers' experience and promoted compliance with a corporate’s chosen booking channels. In addition, Trainline research has shown that 97% of leisure travellers who have used e-tickets have been either satisfied or very satisfied with their usage. When offered, 80% of our web customers selected them. 94% of those e-ticket customers say they would never use anything else.
As we are tackling the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, business travellers have an opportunity to use safer and more convenient digital ticketing options and we are working with businesses to support that behavioural shift.