Could you use more charter work? Your answer should be a resounding, yes — unless you are not a motorcoach operator or hiding under a rock. The better question, of course, is how do you get more charter work?
The few tried and true solutions are to make connections with your current customers to get referrals, promote your company to your local community and advertise in the yellow pages.
Let’s focus on that last one, the Yellow Pages.
While advertising in the Yellow Pages is the method of choice for most motorcoach operators, our annual member survey and industry assessment is starting to show a shift toward online advertising.
Web advertising growth
That shift alone may be the answer to getting more charter work. Our annual surveys show that in the past two years alone when we ask our members to report the marketing tools they currently use, Yellow Pages advertising have dropped nearly 15 percent, while website advertising has jumped by 15 percent.
The fact that just about everything is online these days is undeniable — newspapers, magazines, shopping, music all are online. You name it and it probably incorporates a web presence — not to mention you are reading this blog online right now.
Build a presence
With sites such as Expedia.com, Hotelplanner.com and Travelocity.com, travel and tourism is definitely online. Inviting motorcoach operators to do more advertising online doesn’t seem too far of a stretch, does it? But what does building a stronger a Web presence actually entail?
In addition to setting up your own website to make it easier for potential customers to shop for your services, it also means developing banner ads and listings on related websites that lead potential customers back to your website and to your company.
Think about your local convention and visitor’s bureau, and the local destinations and attractions in your area. Visitors coming to your area are bound to check out those websites, so look to see if those sites offer any advertising or listing opportunities that will expand your visibility.
Could you use more charter work? Of course. How do you get more charter work?
The answer is probably online.
Victor Parra is president and CEO of United Motorcoach Association, Alexandria, VA. [www.uma.org]