Eurostar, the high-speed rail service that links the UK with the Continent, has attracted record passengers and boosted sales 15.5% after implementing a revenue management software package.
Eurostar had its best year ever in 2007, carrying 8.26 million passengers, 5% up on the previous year, pushing sales to £599m.
John Waddington, Eurostar's revenue optimisation senior manager, said JDA's revenue management software, implemented by Eurostar in early 2006, has more than doubled the number of pricing decisions that his team can process per day.
This has freed staff to seek ways to grow revenues further by focusing on the detailed planning and running of special events.
The new software lets analysts model scenarios and view the potential impacts on revenues before applying them to the live booking system.
"You can even tell the system that a promotion is running in a national newspaper and gauge the potential impact on traveller numbers and pricing," he said.
Early trials during a year-long project produced revenues increases on Belgian leisure trains of almost 20% and led to a 27% rise in traveller volumes.
Waddington said that by offering more seats at lower prices on off-peak services the company will be able to carry more travellers on the new high-speed network.
The revenue management data will also increase efficiency and highlight cost-saving opportunities across the business.
The ability to process more data means more accurate and regular reports are available: relevant price and seat availability information goes to the commercial departments, and regular traveller figures go to the customer services teams to plan staffing requirements in the terminals, he said.
"Internal communication across the business has improved significantly," said Waddington. "We're now able to inform various departments how busy a train is likely to be, so that catering, for instance, knows exactly how much food will be required on any particular train."
Waddington said that price-sensitive forecasting is still fairly new across the passenger transport industry, but that Eurostar now had a system in place to ensure it remains extremely competitive.