rome2rio launch analysis

Published May 5, 2011

A few weeks ago Bernie and I visited San Francisco to kick off the launch of the beta version of rome2rio. The launch went well and we received a healthy spike in traffic, some great user feedback, and interest from a variety of potential partners. We also learnt a lot during the few weeks we spent in the US. We put our tools down and were busy networking and meeting a range of interesting people who offered plenty of advice.

The launch was kicked off on April 7th with articles on Techcrunch and Venture Beat. rome2rio also featured on Tnooz, the most prominent travel tech news site. The story was then picked up by a variety of news sites including Fast Company, Lifehacker, ReadWriteWeb, Thrillist, and Travolution. The most exciting and surprising coverage, however, was being featured on KSTP, a television station in the Twin Cities region of Minneapolis and Saint Paul:

Kstp

We also discovered plenty of coverage from foreign languages sites. We’ve had a jolly time reading the translated “googlish” reviews. This Italian blog post described our coverage and says “That should be enough to help us design the majority of travel and holidays, unless we go to very remote places or unknown to the human race.” A Chinese write-up translates to “so we need to do is the other side, from the airport to where you want, do not let us vacation at the airport.”

Our traffic spiked during the launch and our servers handled it pretty well, despite our hardware load balancer sadly falling over for about 30 minutes when the Techcrunch article went out. Since the launch the traffic has plateaued at around 800 – 1000 unique users a day; clearly we’ve still got our work cut out for us to build a large enough user base for rome2rio to be a profitable business. But it’s a good start. We’ve got plenty of exciting improvements in the pipeline, and the site will only get better in coming year.

We now have plenty of user activity log data from the launch. We extracted out the ten most popular destinations input into rome2rio:

London: 914
Paris: 891
New York: 752
Rome: 645
Barcelona: 529
San Francisco: 423
Rio de Janeiro: 404
Amsterdam: 377
Sydney: 351
Madrid: 350
Las Vegas: 350

I’m guessing Rome and Rio de Janeiro were on people’s minds when they tried the site. We’ve pulled plenty of other interesting statistics from the logs, but I’ll save more pretty graphs for another blog post. Anything in particular you’d like to see analysed?

  • Reza

    HiYou guys have a great little tool here I think that the winning strategy here may be to offer it as an addon for travel and lifestyle websites/online magazines (thru partnerships/revenue sharing deals) to draw traffic from their audience similar to Google in the early days.Drawing traffic to a single website is an expensive undertaking that requires mindshare from the consumer, and in today’s busy web 2.0 environment unless you stand out in some big way (either through marketing genius or sheer luck) it is quite difficult to spark imagination.Great porduct again I’d like to mention esp. at this early stage (very solid)One suggestion would be to put a legend explaining all the little icons and connections you guys have and what they mean someone on the page to reduce info overload (which is a primary issue for online travel bookings)Keep up the good work!