By Madeline Parks
Over time, bus operators have developed an understandable distaste for brokers in the industry. Many customers have shared horror stories in which they’ve booked through brokers and received the wrong type of bus, gotten a driver who wasn’t certified, been over-quoted for a trip, or had their trip canceled at the last minute. These practices stem from poor communication, poor organization, and greed, often at the fault of the broker company; but not all brokers give the industry a bad name. Rather than frown upon brokers, operators should instead recognize their unique talents and try to find ways to combine skill sets so that everybody can benefit.
Successfully owning and operating buses requires a different set of skills than marketing buses and controlling internet leads, and many operators do not have the time, money, or resources to do both. While operators focus much of their attention on bus maintenance and upkeep, brokers put their efforts towards lead generation and marketing– two factors that are more than essential to growing a charter bus business.
At any given time, a bus operator may have a number of buses sitting unused on their lot. Instead of taking time away from maintenance and other necessary upkeep to try to sell the bus, they can simply send their availability status to a broker who will market their unused buses and send them potential customers.
As brokers, companies like National Charter Bus place a heavier focus on marketing than a typical operator would by dedicating an entire team to search engine optimization and the company’s online presentation. “We’re able to provide leads to multiple companies while also keeping our business afloat,” says Johnell Gibson, Director of Operations at NCB. “Operators rely on us for that extra boost in sales, and we count on them to deliver a great experience to passengers.”
This strategy can be particularly useful when a client requires a large number of buses for one trip. One operator may not be able to accommodate an order for, say, 50 charter buses; a broker, on the other hand, can reach out to as many of their partnered operators as necessary to put the fleet together, providing leads to multiple vendors while also keeping the client happy.
As long as brokers are held to the same high standard as reputable bus companies, there’s no reason for operators to distrust them. Operators who have already held their own in the business should have no reservations about partnering with brokers to help market their unused buses– so long as they build a trusting and respectful relationship with the broker company.
Madeline Parks is a contributing writer for AllyBus.com.