Amtrak hoping to lure business travelers out of the sky

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Amtrak hoping to lure business travelers out of the sky

Today's executives face a range of challenges. From finding suitable accommodation to reducing the amount of money spent on business-class airfare, corporate travel is not as straightforward as it once was. To capitalize on this, Amtrak is hoping to tempt executives into using its new Acela Express routes between major cities on the East Coast, promoting the service as a viable alternative to flying.

Focusing on productivity
Amtrak has launched an ambitious new promotional campaign, which it hopes will appeal to business travelers used to the rigors of flying. Advertisements highlighting the service will feature slogans such as "Please continue to use all electronic devices," and "Today's trip is full of legroom," that are intended to contrast with the typical flight experience. Amtrak believes the new Acela route could become popular with domestic business travelers, as the service highlights both the convenience and comfort of traveling by train.

"The new campaign reflects the enhanced amenities and services that Acela provides for its business travelers," said Matt Hardison, chief marketing and sales officer for Amtrak. "Whether you are working or relaxing, Acela offers the convenience and comfort that business travelers deserve and expect."

Increasing numbers of passengers are choosing to travel by train over flying. In the 2012 fiscal year, Amtrak's Acela routes served more than 3.4 million passengers, indicating that both business travelers and tourists alike are seeking viable alternatives to crowded flights and lengthy delays at airports.

The future of business travel?
Although executives have been using serviced apartments and corporate housing as alternatives to often costly corporate suites at chain hotels for some time, few options have been available for travelers hoping to avoid the increasing airfares levied on business-class seats by many carriers. However, in light of recent rate hikes by major airlines in the U.S., Amtrak's Acela service could become more popular in coming years.

According to the Los Angeles Times, all major airlines in the country have matched Delta's 4 percent rate hike for domestic trips. The increase is the first rate hike of 2013 to take hold across the commercial aviation industry, and travelers can expect fares to rise approximately once every two months, according to the news source. In total, airfare is expected to increase by around 4.6 percent by the end of the year. Organizations that need to reduce expenditures relating to business travel may be forced to consider other options.