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Second Global Air-Rail benchmark report shows the impact of competition on market share

IndexNorth Star Consultancy, on behalf of contributing air-rail link companies worldwide, has completed its second market share benchmarking report.  This provides an in-depth review of rail to airport market shares from 2010 to 2013. The report enables contributors to compare their own performance against others and the factors affecting the differences. A key finding is that the market share overall index has fallen by 11 points since its inception in 2010.

Ignore marketing at your peril
Richard Brown, Managing Director of North Star Consultancy, said “We track change in rail mode share to airports year by year.  A key factor shows again that investment in marketing and communication to the customer is vital to success. The report also indicates that air-rail links continue to face competitive challenges from alternative transport modes. After four years of study, there remains a correlation between effective growth in share and good communication as well as a negative impact where competing bus & coach modes are marketing strongly”.

Participants comment
Tim Anderson, CEO of Sydney’s Airport Rail Link agreed with these conclusions.  “Since 2010 we have improved customer service and ticket distribution to our 6.4 million passengers.  We also pursue a clear and concise marketing message, which focuses on the passengers’ destinations.  We consider that these actions have increased our market share consistently during the survey period.”

Noormah Mohd Noor, CEO of Kuala Lumpur’s Express Rail Link (ERL) added: “The report provides an opportunity to benchmark our service against worldwide operators and to learn from other air-rail experiences. The sharing of information about marketing for growth is particularly useful to ERL. While our markets may appear different, we are finding that successful initiatives in one market work very well in another.”

Dr Barbara Jensen, Communication and Marketing Executive of the Gautrain Rapid Rail in South Africa, said: "External factors influencing ridership and market share, such as economic cycles, are beyond the control of operators. The Global Air-Rail benchmark study, however, confirms the importance of communication and marketing and customer service to mitigate such effects to protect market share".

Going forward
The next report will be issued in spring 2015 incorporating 2010-2014 results. Any air-rail operator wishing to participate in future surveys and reports should contact Richard Brown of North Star at

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