mtuandrew wrote: ↑Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:23 am
Lexus is balanced by Toyota, Marriott W Hotels by Fairfield Inn & Suites; it’s difficult for a luxury brand to survive without something aimed at the masses. Better to have one operating company per train (I would prefer that to be Amtrak, though others here have different opinions.)
To riff off your plan though, Amtrak could and should hire a hotel chain to improve and rebrand its sleeper service. “Pullman Limited Service, a joint brand of Amtrak and Marriott” has potential.
Okay, I'll bite, namely because I have this similar idea in the novel that just finished up on my Patreon. Two levels of service on every line: luxury and economy.
Luxury is the Pullman-level service: Elegant trains, expert staff, full diner, no coach. It's a mobile hotel, basically, out of North by Northwest (or maybe a full Milwaukee Road set with the dome lounge). You have full porters, conductors, kitchen staff, etc. You get this for the full experience but boy do you pay for it. (Any further and it would actually become a mobile hotel, a la the Anthrotracks
concept in 2019)
Economy is what Amtrak is running right this second: Industrial-design trains operated like airplanes, prepackaged meals, optional sleeper service at various levels. You have coach, business, roomette, and full sleeper. You have an extended cafe but you're encouraged to eat at your seat. You get a conductor who also is a steward/stewardess. It does the job and gets you there. It's cheap, it looks cheap, but you asked for cheap, so you get cheap.
As you know, Amtrak can do Economy. It can't do Luxury by itself -- it needs to be partnered with someone else. Someone that can do the hotel side while it concentrates on the train side. Mariott, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Wyndham. I doubt anyone else has a big of a reach or could tie into a good set of hotel chains (combo hotel and travel, anyone?).
No, not Virgin Group. They do hotels and trains. Effectively, Virgin is
a competitor if it ever thought it was a good idea... but I doubt they have the reach.
The thing is... would hotel staff need to be rail trained? I can probably safely assume yes... which means who pays for that... and the equipment... and track usage...