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Old May 20, 05, 1:45 pm   #1
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Cows in Berkeley?....Moooo!
Programs: Fly Amtrak, Go Greyhound! I'm often wrong but always sincere.
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Amtrak focus group

Thought I'd share that I attended a market research/focus group this week. I had been to the same thing a couple of years ago, and couldn't pass the opportunity for $75.00 for two hours of my time and a chance to talk . Apparently, they had held the same groups in Bethesda & Chicago before the session they held here in Oakland. We were told there were Amtrak executives watching us from behind the mirror. I would of given anything to of talked to them directly, I am definitly full of opinions on Amtrak! .

They had a total of 4 seperate groups of 6/7 view their current print and radio campaigns, which to my surprise was exactly identical to what they were running two years ago. For anyone who knows the newspaper & magazine ads, they have a retro look with art deco looking graphics. Funny thing is, no one in the groups I was in really cared for the ads two years ago, and no one really cared for them this time, yet they are still around.

What was interesting was a couple of promotions they are looking at. One is a tie-in with major league baseball to sell packages including train, game tickets and other souveniers. You could arrange to go to a series of games at different stadiums over a set number of days. They even suggested there would be a "fan" car, and would have ex-players onboard to give talks.

Another tie in would be with Barnes and Nobles or something similar, giving discounts on Amtrak tickets with B&N purchases, and discounts at B&N with Amtrak ticket purchases.

The final one which they have tested on the East Coast is something they call "Share Fares". Basically, if more than two people, up to six travel in a group, you get a sliding scale discount up to 90% depending on the number in party. I really thought this one was not only overly complicated and hard to understand, but like alot of Amtrak promotions, excludes solo travelers which there are plenty of.

All in all, it was an interesting experience and hope they gathered enough info to formulate a good marketing strategy. Anything to help Amtrak along is ok by me!.
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Old May 21, 05, 10:34 am   #2
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 72
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Originally Posted by OutOfOffice
Thought I'd share that I attended a market research/focus group this week. I had been to the same thing a couple of years ago, and couldn't pass the opportunity for $75.00 for two hours of my time and a chance to talk . ... We were told there were Amtrak executives watching us from behind the mirror.
Participating in focus groups can be lucrative -- and fun. Anyone who hasn't already should call Plaza Research and ask to be put on the list. I have no idea whether Plaza handled the Amtrak focus group that OutOfOffice participated in, but it is one of the leading firms. I once received $150 for tasting samples of coffee.

Paul Marcelin-Sampson
Santa Cruz, California, USA
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