What we learnt about the future of the transport industry from our first virtual conference
The transport industry is certainly facing its fair share of challenges at present. With COVID-19 still impacting how we’re travelling (or not for that matter), operators have been forced to shift gear. They’ve been presented with a unique opportunity to really look at their operations.
This is the prime time for the largest transport providers to assess just how effective their provision of transport is, how efficient their operations are and find gaps for improvement.
From Monday 16th – Wednesday 18th November, NotLost were pleased to exhibit at the first virtual World Passenger Festival. This virtual exhibition focused on innovation, passenger experience and the importance of digitising transport. It offered a unique chance for operators to connect with providers and partners to discuss the newest products and services transforming the industry.
This encompassed anything from digital journey mapping apps, payment and ticketing integration apps, Wi-Fi and onboard passenger infotainment systems, revenue management and pricing tools, mobility as a service (MaaS) software and, of course, lost and found software.
The need for digital solutions
Organisations offered a huge range of apps, platforms and software all designed to improve revenue generation, productivity, competitiveness and, most importantly, the passenger experience.
The incredibly clear take-home message was that transport must utilise technology and new innovations in every single part of their operation in order to keep valuable passengers satisfied. Promoting connectivity and simplifying travel is now essential.
What did the operators have to say?
It was brilliant to hear from the transport operators themselves about what they have currently have in place to harness the power of digital to improve their processes. Plus, exploring what they intend to have in place in the coming years was incredibly insightful.
Panellists from the likes of the leading rail and bus operators all around the world, such as MTR Hong Kong, Abellio, First, Deutsche Bahn, SNCF, SJ, VY and more spoke of their commitment to improving customer experience through technology.
In one session, we heard representatives from Transport for NSW, sncf and Renfe discussing the role of agile innovation and technology in shaping the future of passenger experience. Each operator offered a positive view to the future which included moving away from paperwork, working closely with data and feedback from passengers and, most excitingly, exploring more digital solutions driven by start-ups.
Other presentations, panels and roundtables covered topics such as the intersection between sustainability, customer experience & the future of public transport. The importance of green travel and sustainability was highlighted in many of the sessions; it was positive to hear huge organisations considering their environmental impact and using technology to reduce this impact for the future.
Furthermore, it was brilliant to see all operators taking a passenger-focused approach to their operations by driving ‘customer insights communities’ to ‘identify and deliver game-changing experiences’. Ensuring accessibility on services and at stations was also a key consideration for many.
The key buzz words of the conference included: innovation, customer experience, future, digital, sustainability, accessibility, insight, digitising, modern, contactless, pain-free, software, integration, transformation, green travel, and mobility.
How does lost and found software fit into this?
Lost and found may not be the first thing you consider when you think of passenger experience or innovation. However, delivering a positive passenger experience is a huge task that involves ensuring best practice in everything your operation offers.
How operators manage enquiries regarding anything from ticket queries to complaints is very important to the passenger. They want to be heard and helped.
As a result, having a reliable end-to-end lost and found process in place is key for when passengers have lost something and need assistance. Plus, utilising a cutting-edge software means more reliance on clever technology that is constantly improving and less on paperwork and disorganised systems.
We believe that considering your lost and found process should be a key part of making sure transport operators are offering an all-encompassing passenger experience.
The key take-home learnings
- Rail and bus operators still have a way to go until they can offer the perfect experience – technology and digitisation is absolutely key for this.
- Companies of all sizes offering new software and insight are key for this development. Luckily, operators are keen to listen and improve.
- Conferences can still be effective during a pandemic! This was our first virtual conference experience and we were very impressed with the ability to network, attend panels and exhibit effectively.