Rail Europe’s mission is to inspire American travelers to experience the real Europe by train. It's no easy feat. Americans are accustomed to booking air travel, but rail trips? Not so much.
Rail Europe provides planning and booking services that help Americans plan successfully and travel with confidence. There are, however, inherent challenges. America’s train system is paltry, and most American travelers have very limited—and often unsatisfactory—experiences with rail. Adaptive Path worked with Rail Europe to overcome these challenges and create an experience that resonates with American travelers.
It was clear from the work that Adaptive Path's team cared as much about our business as we do.
Vice President, eCommerce & Interactive Marketing
On the Subject of Transit
Rail Europe’s team came to Adaptive Path with valuable user feedback and known usability barriers that customers were experiencing. They had also prioritized key information that was critical for customers to make accurate bookings.
The booking engine needed to streamline fare models across different carriers to present a clear set of choices to the traveler. The complexities of translating the different fare sets was daunting. The magic of the Rail Europe makes it possible, but that magic wasn’t translating to the user. The challenge was to present many detailed options to travelers in a way that encouraged exploration and decision-making. In order to address the challenge, Adaptive path designed a system that helped people make sense of the many options for scheduling, fares, carriers, level of service and travel terms.
Adaptive Path engaged in multiple rounds of concepting, drawing from best practices of travel sites, user experience heuristics and Rail Europe customer feedback. During the process, we kept user needs at the forefront, and devised ways to address the current mental model of American travelers. We identified core concepts for scheduling, booking, itinerary planning and purchasing flows that guide the experience from exploration to purchase. We clarified key moments of decision making—dates, schedules, times and levels of service—by defining a use case that addressed 80% of Rail Europe bookings. For edge cases that were too complex to handle in the first release, we designed handoff processes to guide travelers to a human booking agent.
We developed an interaction model that guided travelers through the multiple choices they needed to make during the planning process, making sure that past choices were kept in view to define what remained in the purchasing process. The revised interfaces ensure that American travelers have a great travel experience: No missed connections, no traveler left behind, the right number of seats and amenities for all and the correct fare type and terms for the entire traveling party.
As a final test, Adaptive Path put the designs in front of customers to validate what worked and to identify areas that needed improvement.
Adaptive Path created a booking engine that helps users plan complicated rail travel across Europe. We accommodated multiple travelers, multiple cities, the desired level of flexibility and a clear picture of terms and costs seamlessly into an accessible and natural purchasing flow.
The streamlined look and feel of the experience helps users know what has already been booked and what comes next, taking the stress out of booking travel. The anticipation that comes with planning a trip is a vital part of what makes traveling enjoyable. We helped Rail Europe take the stress out of the process.
"Thank you for helping us achieve outstanding results with our new point to point booking flow. Since we launched the first phase, conversion rate is at an all time high (3%) and we have reversed a downward trend on certain products. Our customers are loving this new experience."
Online Marketing Director