Leading rail operators head to Hamburg for insights into the global passenger experience industry

03 Nov 2016

Onboard hospitality and catering services are a key area of competition for the rail industry as operators fight to win business and persuade consumers to travel by rail over other popular modes of transportation. As premiumisation and on-the-go catering trends continue to impact the wider hospitality industry, the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE®) offers rail operators a one-stop-shop to discover the latest in onboard catering trends, menu and product development, purchasing, logistics, onboard restaurant and café services and much more.

2017 will see WTCE return to Hamburg from the 4-6 April as part of Passenger Experience Week to explore the future of the global passenger experience industry. The event attracts more than 300 exhibitors and 1,900 visitors, bringing together buyers and specifiers from the world’s international, charter and regional airlines, rail operators and cruise companies.

The week will commence with the Passenger Experience Conference, held on Monday 3 April in a new venue, moving from the Congress Centre to the Hamburg Messe Hall A4 Upper. The conference features three breakout streams which focus on different elements of the passenger experience. Attendees can learn about the increased use of smart devices enabling customers to self-process their journey at every stage in The Connected Journey; the issues impacting a passengers’ sense of comfort and wellbeing through a journey in Comfort and Wellbeing; to how rail and air operators can better monetise their offer in Generating Revenue.

On the show floor at WTCE 2017, attendees can learn from, and network with, their industry peers, utilising their knowledge and expertise while establishing new partnerships to innovate the onboard offering and take the next steps to challenge the perception of rail catering services onboard.


For rail operators, the style of catering service offered is typically based on the length of journey, the facilities available and level of investment. Research by Rail Gourmet , the UKs leading train logistics provider, revealed that 24% of passengers purchased goods before boarding, while 23% didn’t know if catering was available onboard. Rail Gourmet advises rail operators to assess and communicate their onboard offering to meet the needs of their customers.

Highlighting the growing importance of onboard hospitality across the rail network, an increasing number of rail-focused exhibitors will showcase their products and services at WTCE 2017. Confirmed exhibitors include the International Rail Catering Group (IRCG), the trade association for the rail catering industry. The association has railway catering operators among its members including Chef Express (Gruppo Cremonini), DB Fernverkehr AG, Elvetino and Rail Gourmet (SSP Group).

Also returning to the exhibition after its successful launch at the fifth anniversary event, is WTCE’s popular rail trail, which helps visitors easily navigate the show to find exhibitors operating within the rail sector.

Joining Newrest Group International on the WTCE 2017 rail trail, exhibitors include Kaelis, providers of on-board products, services and solutions for airline and rail operators; Monty’s Bakehouse, providers of high quality, premium, hand held snacks that are baked in pack; Onboard Logistics Ltd, an innovative waste management company with specific interest in the airline and rail industry; En Route International, a global provider of innovative food solutions; and Sola Airline Cutlery Ltd.

In addition to the increased focus on the rail sector, WTCE 2017 will see the return of the Taste of Travel Theatre, which will deliver cutting-edge presentations, live chef demonstrations and new product launches to innovate and inspire attendees. Attendance is free of charge to these informative sessions. Also returning to the Hamburg Messe will be WTCE’s What’s New Onboard feature, which shines a spotlight on newly-launched products and innovations.

Another new addition to 2017, is the WTCE First Time Exhibitor Village. It will support first-time exhibitors and encourage innovation, while introducing rail and air representatives to companies new to the show, and in some cases, new to the overall market.

Speaking about the growing presence of rail operators at the exhibition, WTCE Marketing Manager Danielle Wolstencroft, commented: “Next year will see our biggest rail programme to date. At WTCE 2016 earlier this year we had a large number of suppliers showcasing innovative products for the rail sector, and this looks set to increase at WTCE 2017. The return of the ‘rail trail’ will once again assist visitors in finding the exhibitors most relevant to their specific sector needs.

“We look forward to next year’s event, which all of our visitors – whether from the air, rail, or cruise industries can enjoy and learn from.”

Registration opens in November for the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo 2017. For more information on the event visit: http://www.worldtravelcateringexpo.com/

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