Expedia launches new rail travel service
British travellers can now book train tickets across any UK rail operator without paying a booking fee, all on one website – as leading online travel agent Expedia edges into rail.
Expedia Trains launches at a time when new research shows an expected spike in UK leisure rail travelers in 2017, helped by the growing popularity of the staycation.
This trend is partly driven by the rise in people planning staycations next year (possibly one impact driven by uncertainty over Brexit), but the research also lists factors such as ‘less stress’ and ‘enjoying the scenery’ as among the top reasons to use train services for getaways over flying.
One-stop shop: Expedia’s new rail booking service – the first from an online travel agency– complements an already broad offering which includes flights, hotels, car hire and activities available through the website or app, making it a one-stop-shop for travellers.
Ease of use: Expedia is applying its 20 years of expertise in making travel search simple to rail. Expedia is bringing together all the UK rail operators in one site and next year rail bookings will be rolled out internationally.
This will mean that customers will be able to use the familiar Expedia.co.uk search functionality to book rail travel in other countries with confidence.
Savings: There is no booking fee and customers are eligible for discounted offers on hotels when they book rail travel on Expedia.co.uk.
With the launch of Expedia Trains, both holidaymakers and those visiting friends and family stand to save even more by benefiting from discounted hotel rates when they have booked their train travel through Expedia.
For example, booking two return tickets from London to Manchester along with a double room at the Townhouse Hotel Manchester (4 star) generates a saving of £58 per couple, which allows guests to stretch their holiday budget to include a spa treatment, golf lesson or dinner.
And with UK holidaymakers expected to spend significantly more on UK trips next year (£335 per person per trip on average compared to £205 this year) – the savings are set to be greater.
When questioned, more than a third of holidaymakers (36%) revealed the reason they have chosen a staycation over travelling abroad is because the UK has so much to offer.
Speaking about the launch, Greg Schulze, Senior Vice President, Commercial Strategy and Services at the Expedia Group said: “Our vision at Expedia is to be able to provide whatever combination of travel and hotel that consumers want and we’ve moved one step closer with the introduction of rail.”
The UK also offers a vast array of amazing locations and routes that perfectly suit rail travel, and with staycations predicted to boom next year , Expedia Trains will provide the perfect opportunity for Brits to explore their own country.”
Expedia.co.uk is owned and operated by the Expedia Group, the world’s largest full service travel agency, helping millions of travellers every month to easily plan and book travel. Expedia aims to provide the latest technology and the widest selection of top holiday destinations, cheap tickets, hotel deals, car rentals and in-destination activities, attractions, services and travel apps.
The group delivers consumers value in leisure and business travel, drives incremental demand and direct bookings to travel suppliers, and provides advertisers the opportunity to reach a highly valuable audience of in-market travel consumers through Expedia Media Solutions.
Expedia also powers bookings for some of the world’s leading airlines and hotels, top consumer brands, high traffic websites, and thousands of active affiliates through Expedia(r) Affiliate Network. (NASDAQ: EXPE)
For corporate and industry news and views, visit Expedia at www.expediainc.com or follow them on Twitter @expediainc.
 Survey of 2,000 respondents [OnePoll 4 Nov-7 Nov 2016] of which 39% of ‘staycation’ holidaymakers said they had used rail travel in the last 12 months, compared to 44% of those who have booked or are planning to book at UK holiday in the coming 12 months and would consider using rail travel. Calculated against UK adult population – 51,339,161 as per recent June 2016 ONS figures
 Savings calculated on Expedia.co.uk on 9 November 2016, travel dates 7-9 December, based on two adults sharing, return rail travel from London Euston to Manchester Piccadilly
 Mean amount in £ given by respondents who had taken a ‘staycation’ in the last 12 months compared to those planning or have already booked a ‘staycation’ for the coming 12 months
 Responses when asked ‘Why are you planning on/would you consider taking a UK break in 2017 over an international break?’
 Research released by the Tourism Alliance, August 2016