Booking website new European sleeper train

Together with the new sustainable railway company European Sleeper, we built our own reservation website with which night trains from the Netherlands can be booked.

We always like a partnership with a start-up. And you get us completely on the benches when it comes to a combination of sustainability, trains and a great ambition. That is why many of our engineers were excited to work with two train enthusiasts who want to fulfill their childhood dream: having their own railway company that offers night trains through Europe. Together we built a booking website that connects to all kinds of standard train systems. A project with as few dependencies as possible, a lot of freedom and great pioneering.

European Sleeper
European Sleeper is part of the movement to put sustainable travel back on the map. But setting up a train company from scratch is not easy. In addition to purchasing the right carriages, an entire booking process had to be set up.

We advised the start-up on choosing the train reservation system. The challenge was the budget in the first place. Large, ready-to-use reservation systems are expensive. Other systems are still in their infancy. Considering the budget of European Sleeper, brought together with crowdfunding campaigns. we opted for a system that is cheaper: SEPA. This system contains the trains, schedules, prices and of course the reservations. The European Sleeper booking website links to this.

Simple and effective flow
At the start of the project, there was already an initial house style, created by an external design party. We have translated this house style into a sleek design for the website with clear detail pages and efficient booking steps. The result is a simple but effective flow for the end user. In addition to the branded booking line, we have delivered a back office where the European Sleeper customer service can keep track of details of the bookings and make adjustments.

International standards
Because we opted for SEPA, international standards are followed. Tickets, payments and travel data are not only carefully processed and stored via SEPA. It also enables links to other booking websites. For example, users can buy tickets via the European Sleeper website, but also via, for example, NS International and Deutsche Bahn.

Sesame, open up
Those standards were also necessary for the NS gates. It is quite a task to open such a gate with a train ticket. After a deep dive into the operation of the QR codes used, we made it possible for the NS to also recognize our codes. Quite a satisfaction when you stand at such a gate with a trial ticket and it works. Sesame, open up!

Going live
Before going live, it was decided to first give people from the crowdfunding campaign access, then the newsletter subscribers and finally the general public. Thanks to this phased roll-out and a performance test that was carried out in advance, we were able to cope well with the peak load and the website remained stable. Result: a flying start with a lot of tickets sold!

Next steps
A start-up never stands still. Together we learned a lot from the first bookings. Lessons that we incorporate in the further development of the website. At the same time, of course, we are building new features. The management of the website has now been transferred to European Sleeper, but we are still very proud to have contributed to the reintroduction of sleeper trains in Europe!