Transportation Images Add Real Value To Search Results

Published July 20, 2014

Besides demonstrating that an A380 is a lot bigger and probably more comfortable than a 737, there’s not a lot of consumer value in showing an image of the airplane in a search result. Most of us know what to expect when we fly; we’re familiar with the planes, and with the on-board experience. But that’s not the case when it comes to other forms of transportation. 

At Rome2rio, we suspect many people choose to fly even when apparently better (lower cost, more comfortable, faster door-to-door) options are available. The same goes for train travelers and self-drivers, who might be reluctant to choose bus or rideshare, even in cases where those options offer real benefits over their usual choice.

Therein lies the reasoning behind Rome2rio’s new Transportation Images feature, which is being progressively rolled out. By displaying images of the various transport offerings within our search results, we expect our users will look at alternatives more closely, perhaps deciding that their bias towards air (or rail, or self-drive) might be a prejudice that deserves closer examination.

This example demonstrates how the Transportation Images feature is integrated into our search results:

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 12.39.45 PM

This image of the fast-train operating from downtown Milan to downtown Rome will convince many travelers it’s a better option than flying.

In some cases, we expect that seeing an image of the vehicle will dispel a fear that it might be antiquated, slow, or somehow uncomfortable. Buses are a case in point: they simply don’t enjoy a great reputation for luxury. Images like these help reduce those concerns:

Buses

Modern buses compete with trains for luxury, and often beat them on price.

With ferries, there is often the fear of the unknown. How big is it? Is it safe? Will I need to wear a life jacket? When people see the ferries that operate on many routes nowadays, they express surprise… which is not surprising, given their space-age designs, which positively ooze speed and comfort.

Ferries

Wave-piercing hull designs (from Tasmania!) have revolutionised ferry travel.

That’s not to say that all ferries are ocean-going liners, or that travelers are always looking for that type of experience. Sometimes, it’s good to know your travel experience will be authentic, and somehow connected to the history and culture of the place you’re visiting.

Boats

In many destinations, travelers are searching for the slow option.

Finally, there are some forms of transportation that are so specialised and site-specific that only a photograph or video can deliver a useful explanation. Funiculars, suspension railways and maglev railways all fit this bill.

CableCar

Wuppertal’s suspension railway, and Schilthorn’s funicular: now you know.

As we continue to roll-out this feature over the coming months, we’ll be loading tens of thousands of images for trains, buses, ferries and other forms of transportation. As a result, we expect to see our users make journey plans with greater confidence to try something new: something that’s probably less expensive, possibly “greener”, and perhaps a change from their old travel habits.

Rod Cuthbert

Written by
Executive Chairman of Rome2rio
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
  • I’ll prefer a train over a bus anytime. On a long journey, nothing beats being able to walk around and change seats. Boats are nice too.

  • I’m not a big blog or review fan – think it’s for people with too much time on their hands….HOWEVER, since my family is relocating and my husband will have to travel back to our home small town from our new small town about 400 miles away, I have been having a heck of time figuring out the best mode since neither has an airport, train station or bus terminal…..aye aye aye….Somehow I put in the right searchwords and found Rome to Rio and in about 2 minutes figured out the best path to pursue (door-to-door basically and not involving getting to the closes big city first) So THANK YOU Rome to Rio and when I finally make it to Rome……well, I’ll be checking out your suggestions.

  • I noticed that you removed photos of the Trenitalia train from the Milan to Rome route you used as an illustration to this article. Does this mean that vehicle photos do not work in this case? And in what cases do they work in your opinion?