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Passenger Trains > Who is Amtrak's target customer?


Date: 11/18/20 14:20
Who is Amtrak's target customer?
Author: Lackawanna484

A basic principle of marketing is to know your customer and constantly innovate to serve them better.

The Wall Street Journal has an article on Jet Blue's effort to put butts in seats during 2021. The airline has identified some routes as business centric, others are leisure. Both are down nearly 70%.

Amtrak cash flow is driven by Acela and its $1.50 to $2 per mile fares. Fewer riders, high fares. Business travelers. Acela is mostly on hiatus.

Long distance trains with fewer travelers, lower under the rail costs, but significant staffing costs. Few business travelers, but a mix of !eisure and necessary travel.

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Date: 11/18/20 15:42
Re: Who is Amtrak's target customer?
Author: 2904

College kids, especially on the state supported routes.  The low fares and 2-3 times a day service make them very popular for travelers with more schedule than budget flexibility.



Date: 11/18/20 15:42
Re: Who is Amtrak's target customer?
Author: DevalDragon

Amtrak had been struggling to answer this question since our war created nearly 50 years ago.

That said the answer is as diverse as America's population. Every Amtrak passenger I ask this question to while riding the train has a different answer.



Date: 11/18/20 15:48
Re: Who is Amtrak's target customer?
Author: jp1822

Herein lies the major problem with Amtrak. Amtrak does not analyze the attributes, wants, and needs of their existing customers and target customer. Often, instead a generalization on "the Amtrak target customer"emerges. But truth be told: 

- Each corridor train has its own target customer
- Each long distance train has its own target customer. 
- Each NEC train has its own target customer - those on Acela and those on Regional. 
- Each train has its own target customer (based on the route and station stops).

You can break this up by region even and whether a train is overnight or more of a long distance "day train." 

If Amtrak knew its "customers" and "target customers" then it wouldn't be assigning the Adirondack train practically the same equipment as a Northeast Regional train. 

Amtrak misses out on a lot of "opportunity revenue." They'd capture it by understanding and focusing in on who is their target customer. 

Time of season and circumstances also derive who the target customer is. 

Right now, I bet Amtrak could bring in more revenue if they put private rooms on some trains that otherwise normally wouldn't have private rooms (e.g. sleeper cars). 

The PIP reports of 2008 tried to look at each train and build on services and revenue to match against the target customer, or the majority of ridership for that train. 



Date: 11/18/20 16:52
Re: Who is Amtrak's target customer?
Author: mundo

And each long distance train can have several target customer city pairs. Thats what make the LD workable when proper promotion and fare yield is provided.



Date: 11/18/20 17:20
Re: Who is Amtrak's target customer?
Author: ronald321

Amtrak used to publish this kind of data on their website.

For example -- The Southwest Chief route was broken down by "City Pairs" -- so you could tell where the biggest ridership was between Chicago-L.A.
I was always surprised that Blooming-Chicago was the biggest market (target customer) on the St. Louis-Chicago route--not the State capitol,  Springfield

And, they did this for every route in the system. (also, Sleeper ridership was shown separately for each train).

Then came Anderson's regime of secrecy, and all this data was no longer available,  I guess he felt--if nobody knows 
the statics, nobody could ask him any questions.



Date: 11/18/20 18:48
Re: Who is Amtrak's target customer?
Author: SanDiegan

Didn't Amtrak eliminate almost all of its marketing activities ? There can't be any institutional knowledge of the unqique atributes of rail.



Date: 11/18/20 19:05
Re: Who is Amtrak's target customer?
Author: P

SanDiegan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Didn't Amtrak eliminate almost all of its
> marketing activities ? There can't be any
> institutional knowledge of the unqique atributes
> of rail.

Since they decimated service levels in October on the LD trains, the Amtrak advertising on Facebook has exploded.  Good ads, but not much inventory to sell....



Date: 11/18/20 19:07
Re: Who is Amtrak's target customer?
Author: Molino

People still use facebook?  



Date: 11/18/20 20:39
Re: Who is Amtrak's target customer?
Author: jcaestecker

jp1822 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Herein lies the major problem with Amtrak. Amtrak
> does not analyze the attributes, wants, and needs
> of their existing customers and target customer.
> Often, instead a generalization on "the Amtrak
> target customer"emerges. But truth be told: 
>
> - Each corridor train has its own target
> customer
> - Each long distance train has its own target
> customer. 
> - Each NEC train has its own target customer -
> those on Acela and those on Regional. 
> - Each train has its own target customer (based on
> the route and station stops).
>
> You can break this up by region even and whether a
> train is overnight or more of a long distance "day
> train." 
>
> If Amtrak knew its "customers" and "target
> customers" then it wouldn't be assigning the
> Adirondack train practically the same equipment as
> a Northeast Regional train. 
>
> Amtrak misses out on a lot of "opportunity
> revenue." They'd capture it by understanding and
> focusing in on who is their target customer. 
>
> Time of season and circumstances also derive who
> the target customer is. 
>
> Right now, I bet Amtrak could bring in more
> revenue if they put private rooms on some trains
> that otherwise normally wouldn't have private
> rooms (e.g. sleeper cars). 
>
> The PIP reports of 2008 tried to look at each
> train and build on services and revenue to match
> against the target customer, or the majority of
> ridership for that train. 

jp has nailed it.  And Amtrak does not have the acumen nor the desire to make the effort to segment its markeeting in order to acheive success.  Failure is inevitable.

-John



Date: 11/18/20 22:11
Re: Who is Amtrak's target customer?
Author: mundo

The data through 2019 is still available here:   https://www.narprail.org/tools-info/ridership-statistics/



Date: 11/19/20 00:07
Re: Who is Amtrak's target customer?
Author: mp51w

mundo Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The data through 2019 is still available here:  
> https://www.narprail.org/tools-info/ridership-stat
> istics/

Ed, Amtrak recently updated their State facts link on their website;  https://www.amtrak.com/about-amtrak/amtrak-facts/state-fact-sheets.html
Notice the stale heading though, 2017 vs. 2018.



Date: 11/19/20 07:23
Re: Who is Amtrak's target customer?
Author: DavidP

SanDiegan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Didn't Amtrak eliminate almost all of its
> marketing activities ? There can't be any
> institutional knowledge of the unqique atributes
> of rail.

Amtrak is very active on Instagram, with short videos extolling the virtues of rail travel (space, scenery, relaxation, etc.). The LD trains are featured quite prominently.  I'm actually pretty impressed with their messaging.

Dave



Date: 11/20/20 02:47
Re: Who is Amtrak's target customer?
Author: Roadbed

> -----
> Amtrak is very active on Instagram, with short
> videos extolling the virtues of rail travel
> (space, scenery, relaxation, etc.). The LD trains
> are featured quite prominently.  I'm actually
> pretty impressed with their messaging.
>
> Dave

Ditto that for Twitter as well.



Date: 11/20/20 11:20
Re: Who is Amtrak's target customer?
Author: SanDiegan

Roadbed Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> > -----
> > Amtrak is very active on Instagram, with short
> > videos extolling the virtues of rail travel
> > (space, scenery, relaxation, etc.). The LD
> trains
> > are featured quite prominently.  I'm actually
> > pretty impressed with their messaging.
> >
> > Dave
>
> Ditto that for Twitter as well.

Marketing inventory that no longer exists. Brilliant !



Date: 11/20/20 20:34
Re: Who is Amtrak's target customer?
Author: P

Molino Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> People still use facebook?  

I'm addicted, but it's clear that many on my 'friends' list no longer do......



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