Service Provider Cloud

Flixbus Rides the Cloud to Make Buses Sexy

Flixbus is disrupting ground transportation in Europe, building the continent's biggest long-haul bus company "without owning a single bus." And they're doing it on the cloud, company founder and CEO Daniel Krauss tells Enterprise Cloud News.

Flixbus uses a cloud service to connect 250 regional bus companies in Europe, operating 1,300 buses. Passengers can use a mobile app to book bus service between European cities, Krauss says. Flixbus has served nearly 100 million passengers this year.

Flixbus is marrying a traditional form of transportation with demand-based flexible pricing using cloud applications, Krauss says.

"Since a bus seat can be sold only once during a certain time and day, it's crucial to do proper revenue pricing. This is something that the ground transportation industry has never done in the past, though it's been done with airlines," Krauss says.

By FlixBus - FlixBus.nl newsroom, CC BY-SA 2.5, Link
By FlixBus - FlixBus.nl newsroom, CC BY-SA 2.5, Link

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Flixbus is looking to sell bus seats the way Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) sells third-party products, providing a brand that customers trust for quality, and letting partners provide the service. Local bus company partners have decades or generations of experience running buses -- Flixbus provides new business, with revenue sharing, quality control standards, marketing and optimal scheduling.

Most of the companies Flixbus deals with are regional; Flixbus expands their reach to the entire continent, Krauss says.

Five-year-old Flixbus has been using Salesforce.com Inc. since 2013 to consolidate customer relationships through multiple channels, including the Flixbus app and social media. Flixbus uses Salesforce Service Cloud and NewVoiceMedia contact center to structure communications channels and provide innovative customer service. For example: If a customer provides a mobile phone number to be notified of delays, and the customer later calls from that number because the customer can't find their bus, that customer's call is given high priority, Krauss.

Flixbus has been using Salesforce Marketing Cloud for five years to tie together multichannel marketing and customer preference profiles. Using Marketing Cloud, Flixbus tracks customer preferences such as whether they prefer shorter or longer connections, night connections, cheapest possible fares and whether customers communicate over social or whether email is a better channel.

Krauss praised Salesforce's customer service. "Even though they are fairly large, working together with them is like working with a startup."

But there is room for improvement. Salesforce is a one-size-fits-all solution, which means a company like Flixbus can get started quick, but it is not always easiest to customize and tailor for specific needs, Krauss says.

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— Mitch Wagner Follow me on Twitter Visit my LinkedIn profile Visit my blog Follow me on Facebook Editor, Enterprise Cloud News

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[email protected] 12/29/2017 | 5:40:02 PM
Re: fixbus Yes, some airports are worse than others I travel pretty regularly and now some airports provide you with wia times via apps for TSA its helpful in planning but my rule of thumb is to arrive 2 hours prior to flight time to get through security get a snack for the plane. If traveling with kids I would ad 30-45 minutes because kids are kids!
Phil_Britt 12/28/2017 | 7:25:51 PM
Re: fixbus Just plan at least a couple of hours to get through airport security. Orlando particularly bad, Midway and O'Hare bad on busier days. I found LaGuardia extremely quick. Those are the only ones I've had any recent experience with. I have also found TSA to be particularly rude -- this is something I have some experience with, I did security at O'Hare in the 70s when hijacking to Cuba was an issue. Though we were in late teens/early 20s, most took the job seriously, but most weren't uniformly rude. That has been our experience with TSA.
Ariella 12/28/2017 | 7:03:25 PM
Re: fixbus @Philbritt We very rarely fly. I think the last time I was on a plane was close to a dozen years ago. But we are planning a trip that requires a flight this winter. Tickets are already paid for, so we know the full price. 
Phil_Britt 12/28/2017 | 4:06:39 PM
Re: fixbus And airlines can "hide" these fees. If you are within 6 hours drive time, you're better in a car. If further, you may want to forgo the travel entirely if you can.
Ariella 12/28/2017 | 3:58:37 PM
Re: fixbus @PhilBrit, I haven't done any long distance train trips. But it sounds like they took some pages out of the airlines' book. The restrictions on bags are certainly in place. Most airlines only allow one checked piece now without adding on an extra fee for additional luggage. Even if you mange to circumvent that, you'd be facing major fuel and other surcharges. In fact, I noticed that one particular airline showed its base ticket price to be less than half the total price that one arrived at with all the fees.
[email protected] 12/28/2017 | 2:17:19 PM
Re: fixbus @Ariella most people were cool I felt most sorry for a woman who had tickets for Springsteen on Broadway she was very worried that she was going to miss it. Luckily she got there but missed her dinner!
Ariella 12/27/2017 | 10:09:43 PM
Re: fixbus @Maryam Oh, my, that sounds like an absolute nightmare! I'd think some people stuck on the bus would have gotten more than a little upset being stuck there for so long. I know that they complain bitterly over being delayed even less time than that on a plane.
[email protected] 12/27/2017 | 9:04:00 PM
Re: fixbus Ariella sadly as much as I love NYC getting around can be a challenge. A few months back I was taking my local bus into NYC its usually about a 45-minute bus ride. On the last 20 minutes of the ride a car stalled in the Lincoln tunnel. You would think there is a way to address this well surprisingly no there isn't the entire ordeal took 3.5 hours literally shut down parts of Manhattan and caused a commuting nightmare for those during rush hour. It was hours until things returned to sense of normalcy. We need alternatives plans and updated infrastructure in NYC. When I traveled in Europe trains, buses and public transport were very simple and easy even if you didn't speak the language, I was not uncomfortable.
Phil_Britt 12/27/2017 | 12:25:26 AM
Re: fixbus Train travel isn't what it once was. We took the train from Chicago to California 15 years ago. It was much cheaper (for a family of four) than flying, more relaxing than driving. But at the time, there was no limit on bags (we were gone for a couple of weeks), and rates were more reasonable. Still glad we did it once.
Ariella 12/26/2017 | 1:40:22 PM
Re: fixbus < I support making public transport more accessible and comfortable because it would increase usage and cities would benefit on many levels. >

@Maryam definitely. NYC's subway system is one of the oldest -- possibly even the oldest -- such system in the country. And making necessary improvements always causes major pain. I believe an entire line is shut down this whole week to try to fix what needs fixing without having to drag it out over many weekends. For those who are off, that's fine, but there are those who are not, and they will have a nightmare of a commute -- either much longer than normal or much more expensive if they have to go outside the subway and bus system to get where they need to go.
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