The Jungfrau Railway Group becomes an integrated leisure and service company
In order to protect itself against the volatility of the tourism industry, Jungfraubahn Holding AG has developed particular strengths: this is based on the high level of self-financing of 81.6%. The financing of the ongoing major investment in the V-Cableway is designed and planned in such a way that this value will only temporarily decrease over five to ten years and only by a maximum of 15 percentage points. In addition to minimising borrowed capital, stability also guarantees broad support in three different segments and lucrative secondary activities such as electricity production, gastronomy and shopping. The portfolio is continually designed in such a way that the diversified businesses are mutually intertwined with one another and have a smoothing effect on the overall result with regard to short-term trends and dips.
To take advantage of the potential demand, the Jungfrau Railway Group has developed brand management and distribution via tour operators into a key area. This also includes cooperation with important partners from the industry such as Switzerland Tourism, BE! Tourismus AG, Jungfrau Region Tourismus AG and Interlaken Tourismus (TOI) as well as trade and industry such as the Swatch Group, Coop and ABB. Awareness of the Jungfraujoch is promoted by prominent guests. In 2017, the descendants of Charlie Chaplin inaugurated an ice figure of the famous actor by John Doubleday in the Ice Palace. Setting the stage for visits creates stories that are told around the world and accordingly guarantees a high media presence. The visit of delegations who want to familiarise themselves with the Jungfrau Region for travel reports or for preparing travel arrangements ("familiarisation trips" or "fam-trips") are supported and supervised by the Jungfrau Railways sales team on a daily basis. Our own representatives in various Asian cities support the contacts and the distribution of the Jungfrau Railways products. They ensure that they are included in the tour operator programmes or in the catalogues. The newly designed jungfrau.ch website, which invites visitors to make plans and dreams, is aimed at individual travellers who also want to book their holidays and excursions directly online, and potential group travellers who will find out about Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe at their travel agency. Due to the fact that more and more people are travelling individually, global online sales are gaining in importance. The IT systems of Jungfrau Railways have been designed for this requirement and the development continues in this area.
The demand for tourist services that offer a great variety of experiences in the shortest possible time is growing. Therefore, the integration of the service chain is becoming increasingly important. Through coordinated services and ordering procedures, for both the tour operator and the individual traveller, the planning as well as the carefree experience can be made easier and demand steered. Combined offers and packages allow attractive pricing. In this environment, the mountain railway can no longer only focus on the provision of transport services. The Jungfrau Railways Group is very well positioned to sell combined services through its various segments, the diversity of the Experience Mountainss it has developed, and its close ties with the rest of the region's service providers. The online system was designed several years ago, in order to combine various providers into one shopping cart and to navigate various user platforms.
The Management Board and Executive Board have explicitly decided to continue developing the Jungfrau Railway Group in this direction, with the aim of making it an integrated leisure and service company in the longer term. The Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe business segment is currently increasing the incorporation of self-managed catering. Instead of self-employed entrepreneurs who rent the restaurants from Jungfrau Railways, a newly founded subsidiary is taking over the catering businesses. On Kleine Scheidegg the change was completed at the end of 2017. This will take place at Jungfraujoch at the end of the summer season 2019. In this context, an additional sales volume of around 10% will be generated. Another focus area is shopping, which is already an integral part of the Group's offer. A stronger spatial presence at the tourist hubs and the tourist hotspots as well as an extension of the product range is being targeted here. A new shop has already been opened on Höheweg in Interlaken.
Stronger integration along the tourism value chain cannot be accomplished by simply taking over parts of the service oneself. It is also possible to closely involve and coordinate partner companies, whether direct service providers or suppliers. The offer can thus be strengthened without having to build additional core competencies such as sports equipment rental or accommodation. However, for the integration of several service providers in real time, efficient data transmission and data processing are essential. The digitisation of tourist services is therefore given special attention by the Management Board. IT has been upgraded internally and as of 2018 has its own department. It is therefore equivalent to marketing and technology in terms of organisation.
As an integrated tourism company, the Jungfraubahn Group is a major driver of the economic development in the region and of alpine tourism in Switzerland. It makes a significant contribution to the strengthening of the Jungfrau Region. It takes into account the interests of the locals, encourages its employees and looks after nature, which is an important resource for the tourism industry. Nature should be preserved and accessible to future generations in keeping with the Jungfraubahn founder's vision. The stakeholder approach of the Jungfrau Railways Group results in a veritable engine of tourism development: the activity of the Jungfrau Railways helps to strengthen retail, trade, agriculture and local infrastructure, and it establishes a basis upon which the hotel industry can continuously renew itself. This has a positive effect on the attractiveness of the overall offer and thus on the international aura of the Jungfrau Region. Potential demand emerges here, from which the Jungfrau Railways Group draws value, which in turn strengthens the local anchoring through consolidated partnerships, taxes, wage payments and investments.