Introducing Rome2rio Labs And The Global Connectivity Report

Rome2rio Global Connectivity Ranking

Rome2rio, with its comprehensive database of global routes and transport information, is a very attractive tool for the casual traveller and globe trekker alike. We’ll help you get from A to B by any means that we can find. (including this nifty cable car option we found in Columbia). The happy side-effect of this database  is that it can also be analysed to uncover interesting global trends and information useful for everyone from journalists to industry groups to your garden variety statistics fan.

Today we launch our new data science imprint; Rome2rio Labs. To kick off the new series we are starting with the Global Connectivity Ranking.  This ranking, which uses data about international connections to measure a city’s global importance, has been analysed and presented in collaboration with esteemed Australian demographer, KPMG partner, and social commentator, Bernard Salt.

Rome2rio Global Connectivity Ranking

 

We hope that the findings are discussion provoking! We encourage you to visit labs.rome2rio.com to find out more and look forward to sharing more data stories from Rome2rio Labs soon.

-Kirsteene

Rome2rio, based in Melbourne, Australia, is organising the world’s transport information. We offer a multi-modal, door-to-door travel search engine that returns itineraries for air, train, coach, ferry, mass transit and driving options to and from any location. Discover the possibilities at rome2rio.com

 

 

Rome2rio Announces Partnership With Distribusion

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We recently wrote about our move to direct bookings on Rome2rio; starting with our partnership with SilverRail for UK train tickets. We are now pleased to announce another way that will make booking travel easier – we’ve partnered with Distribusion for bus ticketing.

The partnership allows Rome2rio users to search its site for available bus tickets from 165 operators worldwide. The content has been implemented through the Distribution API and is the 1st step in integrating intercity and shuttle bus bookings into Rome2rio and forms one of our three recent partnerships. Our other partnerships with SilverRail and Travelport will offer rail and flight bookings respectively.

We are really excited to be working on this new functionality for Rome2rio users; we aim to make travel search and booking as easy as possible, and we hope to be able to announce more partnerships that help us achieve this aim soon.

-Kirsteene

Rome2rio, based in Melbourne, Australia, is organising the world’s transport information. We offer a multi-modal, door-to-door travel search engine that returns itineraries for air, train, coach, ferry, mass transit and driving options to and from any location. Discover the possibilities at www.rome2rio.com

 

Announcing Direct UK Rail Bookings On Rome2rio

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We’ve built Rome2rio to make answering your travel questions easier. Questions such as  How do I get from London to Edinburgh?’ and ‘How do I get from Manchester to Birmingham?’. Answering those queries properly requires a full complement of air, rail, bus, rideshare, ferry and self-drive options, something we are pleased to say that we can offer.

The next step, once you’ve found your perfect mode of travel, is to book your ticket!  We are pleased to announce that we are now making that an easier proposition. From today, you’ll be able to buy tickets for all UK rail operators directly from Rome2rio. Powered by SilverRail, the new capability allows Rome2rio users to search its site for available transport options between any UK locations, and then book selected rail segments directly on the Rome2rio website.

We are starting in the UK but plan to roll out this functionality for journeys in other places including Spain, the US, Canada and Sweden, with further on-site booking launches in the flight, rail, bus and ferry sectors on the horizon. We’re also announcing a partnership with Distribution for bus bookings and a partnership with Travelport that will allow us to experiment with on-site flight bookings in selected markets, so watch this space for announcements soon.

– Kirsteene

Rome2rio, based in Melbourne, Australia, is organising the world’s transport information. We offer a multi-modal, door-to-door travel search engine that returns itineraries for air, train, coach, ferry, mass transit and driving options to and from any location. Discover the possibilities at www.rome2rio.com

Welcoming Chantelle, Jordan, And Liz To Rome2rio

The team at Rome2rio continues to grow apace. This month we’ve added a trio of top talent to our team. Meet Chantelle, Jordan, and Liz.

Chantelle, Liz and Jordan Rome2rio

Chantelle, Liz, and Jordan

Chantelle has almost ten years digital project management experience delivering online solutions within both agency and internal educational publishing spaces. She joins the content team at Rome2Rio on a part-time basis, her remaining time spent looking after her young family at home. Chantelle will be managing data on the site, ensuring the best information and experience for the user.

Jordan has joined us after having recently completed a Masters in Software Engineering at the University of Melbourne. He’ll be working on projects involving the full software stack, such as developing our flight booking integration. Jordan has previously worked at local start-up, 2Mar Robotics and IBM Research’s Melbourne lab.

Liz brings 15 years global experience delivering digital content and product solutions for major brands around the world including seven years with Lonely Planet.  Her passion for all things travel continues with Rome2Rio.

If you are interested in joining our team then keep an eye on our jobs page or shoot an email to jobs(at)rome2rio.com introducing yourself.

– Kirsteene

Rome2rio, based in Melbourne, Australia, is organising the world’s transport information. We offer a multi-modal, door-to-door travel search engine that returns itineraries for air, train, coach, ferry, mass transit and driving options to and from any location. Discover the possibilities at www.rome2rio.com

HTTPS Results in 7% Google AdX Revenue Drop

For some time now, Google has been publicly encouraging website owners to transition to HTTPS, a more secure version of the ubiquitous HTTP protocol that powers the web. You can identify websites that use HTTPS with the padlock symbol in the address bar:

HTTPS

In August 2014, Google went one step further and used their considerable influence as the world’s most popular search engine to entice website owners to make the switch, by announcing an SEO ranking boost for sites that use HTTPS. Although the ranking boost is small, Google suggests it will increase with time.

Rome2rio has supported HTTPS for some time now. We use it for parts of the site related to user accounts, passwords, and ticket purchases. However, in July last year, we decided to take the plunge and force all users to view the entire site through HTTPS. Technically the project went smoothly, but after ramping the change to 100%, we noticed a significant drop in our Google advertising revenue.

Our research quickly revealed that other website owners had experienced that same thing. We learnt that not all advertisers that place bids through the Google ads system support HTTPS, resulting in fewer ad impression bids and lower overall ad revenue. We learnt that many website owners had transitioned back to HTTP for this reason. We concluded the revenue drop was too large to justify the switch to HTTPS, so we also made the switch back.

In January, we decided to re-visit the HTTPS question. This time, we properly measured the potential impact with an A/B split test. We redirected visitors to HTTPS for 5% of pages and measured the change in ad revenue. Our conclusion; ad revenue was 7% lower for the HTTPS pages.

We dug down further and examined the impact on ad revenue for each of Rome2rio’s top advertisers:

Revenue change

The data illustrates that the overall 7% drop in revenue appears largely due to a handful of advertisers where revenue drops by more than 40%.

Google is working hard to transition all advertisers to HTTPS, and we hope to see this 7% figure decrease when we next repeat this A/B test in 6 to 12 months.

– Michael

 

Rome2rio, based in Melbourne, Australia, is organising the world’s transport information.
We offer a multi-modal, door-to-door travel search engine that returns itineraries
for air, train, coach, ferry, mass transit and driving options to and from any location. Discover the possibilities at www.rome2rio.com

 

Taking Another (Gentle!) Swipe At Google’s Transit Results

We wrote in some depth last year about the poor quality of the inter-city transit component in many Google Maps results. These results are displayed at the top of SERPs for queries like “How do I get from A to B?”. Since then Google has gone some way towards extending their coverage of transportation operators — here’s their new result for Amsterdam to Paris: perfect! — but they still fall well short of a standard that might justify putting their own results ahead of comprehensive and accurate results from others, including Rome2rio.

Here’s an example of what we mean: answering the query “How do I get from Toulouse, France to Zaragoza, Spain?” Google suggests a bus from Toulouse to Barcelona; a seven minute walk from one station to another; then the local R3 train to Barcelona-Sants station, and (finally!) a change to the high-speed AVE train to Zaragoza. That’s a complex journey of just under 9 hours, and it’s frankly silly when compared to simply taking the AVE all the way from Toulouse, via Barcelona. But Google doesn’t suggest that option.

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Logic-defying suggestions like this abound in Google’s transit results. Our comment when we last discussed this topic was that rather than suggest crazy routings, Google should not make any transit suggestions at all. That seems to be occurring a little more  here’s a good example, in Morocco — but within Western Europe, Google consistently leads its trusting users astray, with suggested routes that are often illogical, lengthy and hopelessly complex.

(Another classic example: Google’s suggestion for Nice to Milan. Two buses, then the Metro… 7:29 hours! Here’s the correct answer, the excellent Thello train service all the way, at 4:41 hours.)

A few months ago our industry colleague, Tripadvisor founder and CEO Steve Kaufer, got Google’s attention with a pointed tweet.

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It’s unusual for industry leaders to speak out against Google; frankly, nobody wants to upset the powerful operators of the search and advertising platform on which we all rely so heavily. But given Steve Kaufer’s success — Tripadvisor results for this type of query seem to be on top again — and Google’s oft-repeated mantra of always wanting to do what’s best for users, it’s probably safe to give them another gentle poke about their less than fabulous transit offerings.

It’s clear that Rome2rio and other multi-modal specialists — GoEuroGopiliQixxit all come to mind — provide inter-city transit results of a consistently higher quality than the search giant’s own somewhat patchy offering. A move by Google to preference high quality, relevant results from third parties over their own would certainly be a good outcome for users.

– Rod Cuthbert

Early Birds And Monday Dreamers: Uncovering International Search Trends

With our unique repository of 750,000 travel routes from over 4,800 operators in 144 countries, Rome2rio attracts over 7 million visitors each month. While the searches conducted by these visitors are varied; from short distance intra-city searches to multihop long haul trips, we have uncovered some commonalities about when and how visitors around the world are using the site.

For comparison, we’ve pulled out daily and weekly traffic trends across four countries; Japan, Britain, Israel and India.

DailyVisitorTrends_daily

Japan stays true to its reputation as a nation of early risers; the country is on average the first to start searching Rome2rio for travel information each morning. Britain is next to tap into travel routing, with Israel and India starting on average almost 30 minutes later. Japan and Britain both make the most of the weekend and start earliest on Saturday, in contrast to Israel where the Saturday start is around 30 minutes later than usual. We think that these average times relate to when people are in transit and using their mobile to navigate intra-city travel.

DailyVisitorTrends_weekly

Some interesting things are seen when we look at weekly travel data. It seems that the realities of Monday mornings hit our users hard! Japanese, British and Indian usage all peak on this day. Perhaps the reason that Saturday is the least popular day for searching our site for those in Britain and Japan is because our fans are out enjoying their itineraries? Travel planning dips dramatically on Fridays and Saturdays in Israel, in keeping with the religious rhythms of the country. India too has a significant dip; it is on Sunday, in keeping with the traditional cycle of activity and rest in the country.

DailyVisitorTrends_devices

Not only can we see when our users are on the site but we can also see how they are accessing our repository of routes. Even though mobile usage is growing at a faster rate than desktop use globally, we are still seeing a significant difference between mobile and desktop use during traditional office hours – suggesting to us that a bit of holiday planning during lunch is still very much a thing. Just be careful of those crumbs in the keyboard! On the weekends, mobile usage increases, coming close to the desktop usage line, suggesting that people are firing up Rome2rio while they are on the hop; perhaps enjoying a mini break in a new town or discovering somewhere new in their current one.

We found these user insights compelling, and it got our imaginations fired up; how are people planning their trips? Is it a family discussion with plenty of debate, taking place at the kitchen table? Is it during a snatched solo dreaming session on the daily commute to the office? Is it filled with the excitement of mapping out a long considered and carefully saved for trip-of-a-lifetime?

Whatever it may be, our salutation is the same; happy travels!

– Kirsteene, Marco and Andrew

Rome2rio, based in Melbourne, Australia, is organising the world’s transport information.
We offer a multi-modal, door-to-door travel search engine that returns itineraries
for air, train, coach, ferry, mass transit and driving options to and from any location. Discover the possibilities at www.rome2rio.com