2015 – WHAT A YEAR!
As we reach the end of January, I thought it was a good time to reflect on 2015 before we close that chapter.
As with any business there are ups and downs – thankfully 2015 had a lot more ups than downs for SilverRail. The business reached a tipping point, with success on both sides of the market place – driving the network effect. Where new carriers and new distribution partners equal greater value for all our customers.
Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, has a quote I think sums up how we think about 2015.“If we have a good quarter, it’s because of the work we did three, four, and five years ago. It’s not because we did a good job this quarter.”
Here are some of 2015’s highlights that we are very proud of:
- Expedia Partnership – Possibly one of the most significant positive developments in the rail industry is Expedia getting into rail. Expedia is one of the world’s leading travel companies, generating approximately $55b in sales ($55b in sales as of 9/30/15 on a trailing twelve months basis). For the first time, global rail will be an option for Expedia’s millions of customers from around the world shopping on Expedia’s portfolio of brands. SilverRail has partnered with Expedia to enable travellers to book rail as easily as other travel products on Expedia. SilverRail’s platform will power all of Expedia’s websites for all rail markets. This represents a very big step forward for the renaissance of rail.
- Deutsche Bahn Connection – We completed our second connection to Deutsche Bahn in record time. With two connections to Deutsche Bahn operating in parallel, we have extended the range of fares and products SilverRail can support globally for leisure and corporate partners. The added benefit of maintaining both connections allows our partners to access both fare ranges at the same time to offer even more choice to their travellers.
- Seamless Mobility™ – SilverRail’s vision evolved over the last 12 months to strive for a seamless door-to-door travel experience across all modes of ground transport. With rail at the heart, the ability to plan and purchase a full end-to-end journey, considering all modes of transportation and suggesting a journey optimised to individual’s preference, is the obvious next step. SilverRail is investing in the digital infrastructure to remove friction from a customer’s journey planning, purchasing and travelling experience. Seamless Mobility™ is one step towards addressing the broader issue of congestion and environmental challenges facing many governments and ultimately makes our daily lives better, helping us move around.
- UK Rail Market Innovation – Go-Ahead ‘OnTrack’ platform – We are proud to be providing our market leading SilverSearch platform to power the new Go-Ahead rail booking engine. The On Track platform will power Thameslink & Great Northern, Southern, Southeastern, Gatwick Express and London Midland. This is the first of a growing trend of UK Rail Owning Groups to take back control of their customer experience. The traditional approach was to ‘white label’ and effectively outsource the customer experience to third party companies. As seen in other travel verticals this approach limits an operator’s ability to innovate and own the customer experience.
- Linkon – Having completed the acquisition of Linkon at the end of 2014, this past year, we spent time learning about the business in much more detail, and mapping out the myriad ways in which the two companies compliment each other. Linkon, previously owned by the national rail carrier of Sweden, SJ, has a long history of providing top quality technology – from inventory management to e-ticketing to settlement to distribution and sales channel management – to the Swedish rail market, and as we move forward to integrate the businesses and the products, it improves the depth and breadth of our customer offering to all the players in the rail industry. Sweden is at the forefront for technology adoption (for example, SJ will be 100% paperless ticketing by the end of 2016), and so provides a perfect test-bed for all our products across the portfolio.
- New London Office – We’ve got a new home in London! And a new home in Boston planned for early 2016. After a fun few years ‘couch surfing’ in shared space or managed offices we’ve laid down our own roots in London at last. We took some time finding exactly the right space in the right location and spent plenty of time designing the space to get the feel and environment just right. We wanted to create a space that feels warm, welcoming and collaborative but with some home comforts as well. There’s lots of wood, lots of natural light, lots of collaborative space, comfy couches, a lovely kitchen/dining area and we even have a bar for client events. We hosted our first this January and it worked really well. We would be happy to welcome you for a tour and test of our bar if you are in London!
- Hack Train – We are proud to be associated with and sponsor the Hack Train Hackathon. Hack Train brings together developers, designers and entrepreneurs, and provides them with an immersive environment to build high-impact solutions to solve burning problems in the rail industry. We love the creativity, energy, ideas and solutions that come out of this initiative which is why SilverRail supports Hack Train to drive these kind of activities forward.
- Organisational Growth – With all this customer growth, so too must the team, so we’ve been busy hiring. We’ve been lucky to attract top talent from companies like Google, IBM, Cisco, Fidelity, DemandWare, Amadeus and others. With our fast growth, and global footprint, defining and instituting our core values was key. I think they now really capture what it’s like to work at SilverRail. They are: We Enjoy Life, We Focus on Collective Success, We Dare To Think Big, We Constantly Strive For Excellence and We Are Forward Thinking.
In summary I’d like to end with a quote from our CEO, Aaron Gowell the Chief Conductor.
“I believe that SilverRail has the potential to be one of the truly all-time great businesses, not just in travel but in technology and ecommerce.”