Cross Country Trains captured market share of ticket revenue by working with Cheltenham Racecourse, home of the Festival.
Cross Country Trains set out to work with Cheltenham Festival to raise the number of festival spectators travelling by train, as well as capture more of the advance ticket purchases through its web site www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk. Covering over 1,400 route miles and over 100 stations, Cross Country Trains services the entire West Country, north to Birmingham and Manchester, and as far as Aberdeen on the east coast of Scotland. Cross Country Trains identified the Cheltenham Festival as a key driver to passenger numbers each March
Cross Country set out to work with Cheltenham to raise the number of festival spectators travelling by train, and capture more of the advance ticket purchases through its web site www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk. the Cheltenham festival was identified as a key driver to passenger numbers each March with around 26,000 people travel to Cheltenham Spa during the Festival race week, an increase of nearly 19,000 journeys compared to a non-race week.
The solution was a variety of print and online prompts to spectators at previous events, and during the ticket booking process, to implant the alternative of train travel to other means of transport, and to offer a simple one-click solution to train ticket purchase. In addition, specific web pages for the event added additional visitor numbers through better SEO, and the use of Channel 4 Racing presenter John McCririck offered opportunities for local and regional TV coverage.
According to Clare Shufflebotham, Partnership Manager for Cross Country, the results were unambiguous, "With the average train ticket to Cheltenham Spa costing around £10, the rail industry certainly benefits from the increased traffic driven by this event. Cross Country increased journey volumes by 1% over the 2009 Festival period year on year despite the economic downturn so the commercial benefits of working in partnership with the Racecourse are clear."
That 1% uplift translated into over 1,600 additional individual journeys to Cheltenham over the four days.
Cross Country exposed a demand to travel to Cheltenham by train rather than car. It is looking to harness that demand for other events at Cheltenham each season.
From autumn 2009, Cross Country will promote its service from the start of the season, and has agreed terms with Stagecoach for a one ticket solution to include train travel and the Stagecoach transfer to the racecourse.
The access to Cross Country from an association with the home of Jump racing has also reaped dividends. Its bespoke web pages on the Festival, and publicity accelerated web traffic.