BusinessOnLine and Rail Europe Inc. Launch First Application that Compares Travel Time Between Different Modes of Transportation

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Travel Comparator™ Drives Increased Booking Rate for Rail Europe by Allowing Travelers to Make Well-Informed Planning Decisions

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Travel Comparator™ was designed to raise awareness of European rail travel as a time efficient way to travel around Europe. It presents compelling, verifiable information that demonstrates that in many cases, the train saves on travel time

BusinessOnLine, a pioneering online marketing agency based in San Diego, CA, today announced Travel Comparator™, a new social media application for Rail Europe Inc., the largest distributor of European rail products in North America, designed to enhance travel planning and bookings, strengthen corporate branding and increase user generated content. The Facebook-based application gives travelers the means to make well informed decisions by instantly comparing travel times via air, train or car between European cities. In addition, the app links back to Rail Europe’s website and Facebook discussion forum allowing travelers to book fares, communicate with Rail Europe representatives and share routes and stories with other travelers and friends.

Instant Trip Planning
In Europe, traveling by train offers city center to city center connections and is often the best choice in terms of time and cost savings. Outside of Europe, this fact is relatively unknown so BusinessOnLine created the Travel Comparator™ to make it easy for Rail Europe’s North American customers to quickly recognize and determine if train is the most viable choice for connecting between two points. The app utilizes multiple application programming interfaces (API’s) from popular sites such as Kayak.com and Google Maps to determine travel times, taking into consideration key factors such as transportation time between airport and city center.

Shared Experiences
Travel Comparator™ also encourages greater user interaction and engagement by giving travelers the option to share travel experiences, post the information on their own Facebook wall, or join discussions on the Rail Europe Facebook page, where they can interact with other travelers and receive advice from customer service representatives.

“Travel Comparator™ was designed to raise awareness of European rail travel as a time efficient way to travel around Europe. It presents compelling, verifiable information that demonstrates that in many cases, the train saves on travel time” said Rail Europe’s Director of Online Marketing, Lothaire Ruellan. “BusinessOnLine allowed us to translate our vision into an effective and attractive experience for Facebook users by employing social media tools, which present immediate and convenient options for travelers planning a European journey. Using Facebook to provide our customers with a tool to calculate the most time efficient routes between two points (whether they decide to use Rail Europe or not) is truly an innovative approach.”        

Increased Bookings
Rail Europe worked with BusinessOnLine to launch Version 1 of Travel Comparator™ in spring 2010. In a short period of time, the app has been used by over 6,000 travelers and has referred hundreds of rail bookings to the Rail Europe website. Encouraged by the usage of early adopters, Rail Europe recently launched an enhanced version of the app, leveraging Facebook’s social features such as “Liking”, “Sharing” and “Commenting” to further encourage user engagement and multiply opportunities for soft-conversion. In addition, the new version of the app no longer relies on a static dataset but is able to dynamically fetch data for nearly any combination of cities.

“For many of us, ‘getting there’ is not half the fun, especially when vacations are relatively short. With today’s heightened security measures, travelers are as concerned about time and convenience as they are with cost,” said Thad Kahlow, CEO of BusinessOnLine. “Rail Europe’s app was developed with the traveler in mind by instantly recommending the most time efficient mode of transportation between cities and providing an avenue for sharing travel tips and specific routes through social media.”

About Rail Europe Inc.:
Rail Europe Inc. is the largest distributor of European rail products in North America. Rail Europe represents more than 35 railroads and provides train travel in most European countries, offering the widest range of passes and point-to-point rail tickets. An essential part of the vacation planning process, the company’s Web site offers a user-friendly booking engine, online rail pass finder, virtual tours, interactive maps and much more. Rail Europe provides a worry-free, cost and time-effective experience by letting customers purchase tickets and plan travel details in advance. Rail Europe encourages travelers to make train travel a part of their European travel experience.

For more information or to book a trip with Rail Europe, visit http://www.raileurope.com . Trips can also be reserved by consulting with a travel agent or calling 1-888-382-7245 (U.S.). To book rail for groups of 10 or more, please contact the Group Department at raileurope.com/group-travel/group-travel.html].

High-resolution photos of European trains may be downloaded by the media at downloads.raileurope.com/presspix/presspix.html.

Check out our Travel Comparator™ on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/raileurope?v=app_113277435369153) and follow Rail Europe on Twitter (@RailEurope) for updates.

About BusinessOnLine:
BusinessOnLine is a performance-driven online marketing agency with a 14-year track record of success. Our unique approach is based on gaining a deep understanding of user needs which gives us powerful insights to achieve the business goals of our clients. We have a cross-functional team of experts in strategic planning, search engine optimization, paid search, social media, user-experience, web development and analytics. Headquartered in San Diego, BusinessOnLine’s clients include global brands such as Sybase, the American Red Cross, Honeywell, Rail Europe, Workday and many more. The company was selected by BtoB Magazine as a Top Interactive Agency for the past three years in a row. For more information call (619) 699-0767 or visit http://www.businessol.com

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