Friday, 6 December 2013

can you see past the natural uplift and in to January?

So the festive period is nearly upon us and the Xmas campaigns are starting to hit the streets.

In return, transport operators are hoping the public are going to ditch their cars and taxis to jump on the bus or train instead. A few beers with the boys, shopping with the girls or a night out with work colleagues - all reasons to encourage modal shift at this time of year.

But playing devil's advocate, if there was one time of the year when there would be a 'natural' uplift in passenger numbers anyway, surely this is it? I really think people would ditch their cars without the expensive ad campaign encouraging them to do so. Despite the days being cold and dark, they hop on public transport in their thousands.

But what happens come January, when the days are still cold and dark? When there's no natural reason to ditch the car and public transport looks, arguably, least attractive.

Why are no ad campaigns to be seen? Is it because operators have spent up for Xmas, don't believe there is a revenue opportunity in this particular month or haven't even considered a January promotion in the slightest.

Perhaps it's all three.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

why rewarding loyalty is so important

How many transport companies in the UK have loyalty schemes for their passengers?

Whilst loyalty in British retail is a fairly well established strategy (Nectar, Tesco Clubcard, Boots Advantage etc), it's certainly the exception rather than the rule where the bus and train is concerned.

In retail, a question such as 'Why should I shop with you Mr Tesco ?' would be answered with a 'Because as well as our great product range and commitment to great value..., we reward our customers with vouchers they can either spend with us or our partners'.

Retailers appreciate that competition for a customer's spend is fierce, so the concept of rewarding a customer for loyalty to their brand seems like a pretty good investment.

Which begs the question - do bus and train companies really appreciate their customers? Do they really appreciate how simple it is for their customers to switch to the number 1 competitor - the car?

I'm sure they do, but perhaps they're not letting the customers know just how much. So for those who are loyal to the transport cause, why not a raft of local company tie ins for the independents, and national tie ins for the big boys?

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

would you fancy a marketing head to head?

Most bus and rail operators have got a bit of healthy competition on their routes but how many choose to really embrace it?

From a customer's perspective the competition can lead to an increase in service frequency and a raft of price promotions - so both ways they end up a winner. 

But how many operators would actually follow the Fentimans Cola campaign approach (below) and a choose a marketing head to head with an industry heavyweight?

Can you see First being taken on by a minnow in Bristol, Go-Ahead feeling the heat in Brighton or Stagecoach coming under fire in Manchester? 

It may sound far fetched but for those operators who haven't got the budget of the big boys, out thinking them has to be the way forward.