Laurent Bellan replaces Antoine de Kerviler who describes the opportunities at Amadeus
Amadeus, best known in technology circles for its global distribution system (GDS) applications used by airlines and travel agents has secured Antoine de Kerviler as its research and development director for rail and ground travel.
Until December 2015 de Kerviler was CIO with international rail operator Eurostar, which provides cross-channel services between the UK and Europe.
Amadeus supplies key software platforms to the rail, cruise ship and car rental sectors alongside its position in air transport. In recent years rail ticketing has been opened up to suppliers such as thetrainline.com here in the UK, while car rental is being disrupted not only by the well reported rise of Uber, but also the car sharing organisations such as City Car and Zip.
For the former Eurostar CIO, the opportunity at Amadeus is exciting as the rail industry across Europe becomes more interconnected and consumers look for more user friendly and innovative ways to link travel options together.
“Across Europe it is increasing that rail tickets are on GDS platforms,” de Kerviler says. “At the moment rail tickets are different all around the world, there is no standardisation or interoperation. Airlines have been organised to be on the same platforms.”
I don’t wish to put words into de Kerviler’s mouth, but as an industry observer, it is clear that as low cost airlines, web based sales agents and Apps, Uber and the sharing economy impact travel, so the international rail industry will have to react. Amadeus signing de Kerviler signals a strategy to create new compelling offerings to ensure rail and rental remains relevant to customers. As de Kerviler says, they will need to interoperate at the very least.
There have already been departures towards the future, de Kerviler says the Dutch and Belgian rail operators are collaborating and the Dutch rail ticketing is an exercise in usability excellence that I recommend CIOs visit.
With Apps such as Citymapper aggregating information, the opportunity to create services and manage transactions, creating door-to-door travel transactions is huge. Michael Ibbitson, who like de Kerviler left a UK travel CIO job for an international one in January, has already demonstrated that this model can be created with the Gatwick Connect website offering rail and transfer flight options. Ibbitson has been CIO with Gatwick airport in the UK and is now heading to the Middle East to lead a major airport technology role.
de Kerviler describes his new role as: “To make sure that Amadeus is not too far away from the disruptive forces and to understand where there is a place for disruption and for Amadeus.”
Direct report to de Kerviler at Eurostar Laurent Bellan will now lead technology strategy and delivery at Eurostar. Bellan has been with Eurostar since June 2012, working in customer systems and has previous experience in the pharmaceutical industry.
“He’s a great person, very professional and very innovative and very demanding of himself and his team, it will be a great challenge for him,” de Kerviler praises his successor.