Rail Europe set to rebrand this year

If you’re one of those people who would enjoy nothing more than hopping on the train for a relaxing trip from romantic Paris to cosmopolitan Barcelona and being a stone’s throw from the colourful beaches on the edge of this Spain city, then you might be in for a bit of a shock come new year.

No, we’re not talking about your waistline that may have broadened out a little bit over the holiday season. Actually, we’re referring to Rail Europe which is responsible for many of the journeys over the rails within Europe.

Rail Europe are changing their online identify in the new year over to Voyages-sncf.com. This French company will be abandoning their Rail Europe brand for something a little more opaque.

Gone will be the feeling that it is a simple matter to visit their site and buy a rail ticket for a booking that crosses country borders so easily. Instead you’ll be going on a “voyage”.

Voyage sounds a bit French, which perhaps is where the name came about, but in common English parlance a “voyage” is undertaken on a ship, not a train. The SNCF (standing for French Railways) will doubtless also confuse customers who quite possibly have never heard of these initials.

Using a hyphen to split up the domain is also an old fashioned practice that is to be avoided (especially as many visitors are using a mobile and often you have to switch to a secondary keyboard to find the – key).

Time will tell whether consumers will make the switch easily. The domain certainly doesn’t run off the tongue like thetrainline.com does and it isn’t memorable either. Perhaps the new high speed rail link from Paris to Barcelona that just started earlier this month will attract new customers who will learn to wrestle with the new online identity. Only time will tell.