Monthly Archives: December 2013

Manually Collected Route Data Proves Popular With Users

While much of the data we collect and manage to support our mission of “organising the world’s transport information” is available electronically, an important slice of that data is not. What’s interesting is the inverse relationship between that hard-to-get data and user demand for journey plans that include “manual” routes.

The following graphics examine: (a) our data collection efforts, dividing routes between those collected automatically and those collected manually; and (b) user searches on the rome2rio.com website, divided between users clicking on a result that was collected electronically, versus clicking on a result that was collected manually:

avm4

In many ways this analysis is not surprising: routes between popular, heavily trafficked locations are more likely to be well known — and thus searched on less often — and more likely to be available to us electronically. Conversely, routes which include an endpoint which is off the beaten path will not be so well known, and the transport operators and government authorities in those places are less likely to have published their data or made it easily web accessible.

What is surprising is the relative importance to users of the manually collected data and the journey plans we are able to generate based on it: only 2% of all our transport routes are collected manually, but they represent 49% of user clicks. This is because our manual data collection is highly targeted to ensure we get the most bang-for-buck (in this case user engagement and clicks) for each route added.

avm2

Rome2rio data researcher Vinh Dang, who is based in Ho Chi Minh City, collecting schedule information for the HCM-Vung Tau ferry service.

Manually collected data seems to be punching above its weight, but we don’t expect this outsize influence to wane: as we manually collect more data in less developed geographies a type of “network effect” comes into play, increasing both the value and visibility of the overall database. With that in mind we have beefed up our data research team, which currently comprises 27 analysts based in Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Colombia, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Malaysia, Peru, Philippines, Serbia, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the US and Vietnam.

Rod Cuthbert

Rome2rio Team Continues To Grow

Three new staff have joined the Rome2rio team in the past month. We’re thrilled to welcome to the team:

  • Rodney O’Donnell: Rodney joins our development team with plenty of experience in search and big data problems. He spent 2.5 years working on the Bing search engine at the giant’s Redmond headquarters and has a PhD in Computer Science.
  • Kate Johnson: Kate joins our content team and is currently working on greatly expanding our Central and South America bus coverage. She studied Computer Game Design and is a candidate for a Masters of Technology.
  • Andrew Hickey: Andrew has also joined the content team and is currently focused on managing the addition of new trains, buses and ferries in Asia. Andrew has plenty of experience trekking the globe and organising major sporting and cultural events all over the world.

All up we’ve now got 8 full-time staff working out of Inspire9 in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond.

Rod, Chris, Rodney, Kate, Andrew, Ash, Bernie and Michael

Rome2rio team from left to right: Rod (Cuthbert), Chris, Rodney (O’Donnell), Kate, Andrew, Ash, Bernie and Michael

Rome2rio Returns To Present At PhoCusWright 2013

Rome2rio made its annual pilgrimage to the PhoCusWright conference again this year. For our CEO, Rod, it was his 15th year attending the event! It was my second time.

Once again, I took the stage at the Travel Innovation Summit and gave an update of this year’s progress. I highlighted our new indicative pricing system, our B2B partnerships and the year’s strong consumer site growth.

Watch the presentation here:

Rome2rio received plenty of mentions during the event, and I was impressed just how well known and loved Rome2rio was among attendees. Last year’s presentation certainly seemed to make a lasting impression. The new t-shirts no doubt helped too.

Rome2rio stand

Multi-modal search was a bit of a hot topic at this year’s innovation summit. KDS presented their Neo product which offers door-to-door search and booking for corporate travelers. The demo generated a lot of buzz; we look forward to trying out the final product to see if it really lives up to the hype. MakeMyTrip also demoed their RoutePlanner product for multi-modal search in the Indian market; a direct competitor to ClearTrip’s WayToGo offering based on Rome2rio’s API. Also present at the event were folks from CityHook and Mozio.

No doubt you’ll see us again at next year’s PhoCusWright in Los Angeles.

Michael Cameron