Amtrak : Showing you can compete
Virtual Tours provide an engaging way to do educate the market while reinforcing a modern high-tech impression.
Amtrak, the US’s national passenger rail service provider, has recently relaunched its website to speed-up online booking. This has added several new support features to help users find information about train travel, grouped in a Traveling With Amtrak section.
Its Before You Ride and Onboard sub-sections include a link to Sleeping Accommodations, which has detailed information about the types of overnight compartments available on long-distance routes. As well as a key features list and 3D diagram, four of the five Options for Sleeping offer separate Virtual Tours of the bedroom’s ‘day’ and ‘night’ configuration. Users click on the Real Player image to look around the compartment and zoom in or out on features using simple ‘+’ and ‘-’ buttons.
It is no coincidence that Amtrak is adopting a virtual feature more usually found in the property letting and hotel industries. Learning from what your competitors are doing is never a bad idea, and in the US’s long-distance travel market Amtrak is in direct competition with hotels for the overnight traveller. That means it needs to show it can match the standards of quality, comfort and complementary services Americans are used to in their hotels along with its own unique features. Hence the use of the site to provide copious amounts of information not only to familiarise passengers with the range of Amtrak’s facilities, but also to educate and persuade those many Americans whose image of rail travel may still be based on old black-and-white movies to give it serious consideration.
The Virtual Tours provide an engaging way to do this while reinforcing the modern high-tech impression Amtrak needs to give of its ‘new’ self.http://www.amtrak.com
First published on 02 December, 2004