Train delay compensation platform Railguard has been designed to help travel managers and TMCs add value to their programmes by claiming money back for disruption caused by delays, cancellations or overcrowded trains. BBT recently caught up with Railguard managing director Matt Freckelton to find out how the platform works
Freckelton said he noticed a gap in the market when it came to identifying delay claims, both for consumers and corporates. He joined forces with Brannan Coady, managing director of digital agency Netsells, who worked with his team to build the Railguard platform.
“A basic explanation of the way Railguard works is our technology connects with TMC’s systems and monitors rail bookings. It then checks them against the National Rail database to find out if there were any delays or other disruptions that might be eligible for compensation. We let the customer know if they have a claim and then process it on their behalf minus a 15 per cent fee, which we share with TMCs to help them create new revenue streams.”
After initially working with contacts at individual businesses, Freckelton said he decided to reach out to TMCs to offer the platform as a plug-in. “We’ve kind of turned our attention to the TMCs now because they really understand what it is we’re trying to do and how the platform can add value for their clients. We’re hoping to have 20 of the Top 50 TMCs named in BBT signed up by the end of this year.”
When asked to define the value to corporates, Freckelton said Railguard looked at historic data for some of its early customers and identified the potential to claim around 2 to 3 per cent of spend back in delay compensation. “We can also use that data to estimate potential savings in the future,” he added.
Freckelton pointed out that changes to the Delay Repay scheme made by the Department for Transport have huge implications for businesses booking rail tickets for employees. “The delay threshold for compensation starts at 15 minutes, when ticket holders can claim 25 per cent of their single fare. Yet there’s a huge amount of compensation not being claimed.”
Indeed, previous research by the Office of Rail and Road shows around 80 per cent of passengers don’t claim for delays, which Freckelton says is leaving millions of pounds on the table. “We essentially want to make it easier for businesses to ensure they’re not losing out on money owed to them.”
What does the future hold for Railguard? “We’re looking at offshoots and ideas for other features that will add value to corporate travel programmes. We’d like to add delay alerts to the platform to notify travellers of any issues so they can plan their time to be the most productive. We’re also looking at ways to integrate our claims notifications with TMC systems, either as a white label or using their own branding. That way the TMCs can offer it as another added-value feature that keeps users within their own platforms.
“We’re also researching potential partners. We’re being selective about who we work with because we want to choose other platforms that integrate well with ours.
“And of course we’re exploring future funding options. We applied for the Platform-X start-up accelerator from Virgin Startup, where we were a finalist.
“We’ve had a really warm reception from the TMCs, so we’re pretty confident that 2018 will be a year of growth for us.”
With no direct competitors within the B2B space, the future looks bright for Railguard.