My team and I were tasked with taking a company that was not thriving and developing a new offering for them. We picked Amtrak and our team had varying experiences with train travel over long distances. I've traveled on Amtrak from Chicago to Portland, OR. Gaurav had traveled on trains in India, Brian in the midwest and Shanti hadn't at all.
Amtrak's brand promise is national train travel, so we knew we couldn't remove unprofitable lines. Efficiency was also a struggle. Amtrak is suppose to have a priority on the tracks, but often gets delayed by freight. So, how could we leverage the unprofitable and regularly late lines Amtrak serves?
Our solution, Wayfarer, was targeted at Millennials who value experience over efficiency. They needed flexibility in legs of the trip and ways to share their experience.
Trips using Wayfarer are designed from the moment you leave the door unlike the current model of station to station. The trips also incorporate activities, so that the time spent on the train isn't continuously sitting in an uncomfortable chair with no wifi and waiting for the adventure to begin.
To help facilitate the door to door experience we saw opportunities to partner with Uber for transit to and from the train stations. Since train stations are generally located in the oldest neighborhoods and arrival times can be anytime, quick and effortless transit is essential. No one wants to wait in a bad neighborhood at 3 am waiting for a cab. Airbnb could also be beneficial for overnight stays at intermediary stops.
Lastly we built in a sharing mechanism. Through Wayfarer you can capture your experiences so that when you feel like sharing your trip, they are connected to your locations and stops on your trip. Though Wayfarer, taking the train becomes part of a vacation, it is social, flexible and integrated. Wayfarer will help strengthen Amtrak as a brand and their financial prospects.
Team: Shanti Mathew, Gaurav Bradoo, Bryan Spence and Liz Jernegan