GoMotorcoach marketing gives operators the tools to sell directly to groups best served by coach charter service
By David Hubbard
Responding to the one overriding request from charter coach operators, the Motorcoach Marketing Council has developed its continuing strategy of reaching the public and increasing motorcoach ridership with a novel concept and a very robust product — a complete kit with necessary tools, orientation, training, online support and collateral materials to help charter operators better market their services. The Motorcoach Marketing Council says the entire process just got a whole lot easier.
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Rolled out in February at the UMA Motorcoach EXPO in Los Angeles, CA, the GoMotoroach marketing tool kit is a unique turnkey compilation of targeted campaigns that focus on the special attributes and specific affinity groups best served by motorcoaches.
The GoMotorcoach program dissects the global market into 15 distinct modules directed toward the most prevalent coach charter segments. The Attributes campaign presents the major benefits of motorcoach travel — safety, luxury, green, and cost efficiency. Affinity groups that typically seek coach charter service include business and corporate, school, church and faith based, weddings, senior travel, sightseeing, culinary tourism and family reunions.
Speaking to BUSRide from the UMA Motorcoach EXPO exhibit floor, Gladys Gillis, president of Starline Luxury Coaches, Seattle, WA, explained how these tool kits resolve the struggles of the average sales staff trying to drum up new business. She says the modular campaigns should help get the sales team on the fastest track and turn “order takers” into knowledgeable sales professionals.
“Each campaign is a complete package ready for presentation,” Gillis says. “The salesperson is free to choose the particular customer group and use the information and materials for that campaign as a guide during the call.”
The GoMotorcoach marketing system equips the sales force with qualified information relative to motorcoach travel and talking points on each market segment that may resonate with a potential customer. The campaigns allow both focus and flexibility.
“The program allows the sales staff to play to its strengths,” Gillis says. “One sales person may enjoy working with a certain group such as Culinary Travel, while another may prefer working with Church and Faith-based clients.”
How GoMotorcoach works
It begins online at GoMotorcoach University, where the sales person selects a GoMotorcoach campaign and views a 20-minute video orientation on that market segment, which shows how coaches fit this market. Each module offers content and suggestions for identifying, locating and connecting with the players in each campaign most likely to purchase coach charters; who to talk to and what to say that gets their attention.
In addition to the orientation and training, the program can provide marketing materials that meld a coach company with the GoMotorcoach branding. They run the gamut, including customizable templates for business cards, flyers, posters, complete convention display graphics and all social media, as well as an array specialty advertising products appropriate to each campaign segment.
The GoMotorcoach campaigns
Luxury —This campaign introduces motorcoach luxury to buyers unaware of the evolution that has taken place since their last bus trip. This presentation will dispel all preconceived and archaic assumptions as to the beauty and comfort of coaches.
Safety — Safety is the first order. From this campaign, the sales force assures potential customers of the company’s dedicated steps to carry them safely, backed by a safety record available for review.
Efficiency — In this presentation, customers learn the benefits of efficiency and ease in working with a motorcoach operator to moving their people more conveniently than any other transportation mode.
Green — In this eco-conscious world, going green matters to consumers. Buses and coaches are the greenest mode of travel. Motorcoaches are seven times more energy and fuel-efficient than single occupancy automobiles. A recent survey in Time Magazine showed that 40 percent of U.S. consumers base their purchases on the social or political values of the company supplying the goods and services.
Business and corporate — Marketing and selling charter services to the business and the corporate community means meeting a diverse list of client needs in many different areas. The Business campaign tailors the operator’s message to the specific occasion from employee shuttles and to a small company outing to convention, conferences or a corporate retreat.
Church and faith-based— Religious or faith tourism transports people individually or in groups for pilgrimages, missionary work, religious conferences, fellowship retreats, youth ministries and spiritual vacations. This campaign offers the tools to connect with the any of 50,000 churches in the United States with established religious travel programs.
Culinary tourism — More than 27 million people are now engaged in some form of culinary travel each year, and pay big dollars to satiate their epicurean appetites, traveling to near and far to destinations that promise new food and wine experiences.
Family reunions — A family reunion affords an opportunity to transport anywhere from 50 to 200 family members and relatives traveling as a group to their special gatherings and events that typically last several days. Research shows that most families plan their reunion gatherings and destinations well in advance, and quite often involve professional charter tour companies for group transport and shuttles.
School charters — Schools and students of every age and grade are constantly on the move for sports, club activities and myriad learning experiences. The demand for safe and efficient school charter for the million students attending public and private schools is staggering. Participation in this market can often spell the difference between a so-so year and a great year.
Senior travel — An estimated 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day. Aging and still-active seniors account for more than 35 percent the total U.S. population, and that number is growing. By 2030, projections predict that the over-65 set will have doubled to more 71 million. This suggests a growing market of people who list leisure travel as their number one activity.
Sightseeing — Motorcoach charters began with sightseeing tours from local jaunts to extended travel vacations, and it is still big business. This campaign helps charter companies understand value and potential in the sightseeing market, as well as the associated sales strategies, such as the per capita model, and contract and partnerships with key tour operators.
Weddings — This campaign helps operators tap into the annual $40 billion wedding industry as a specialized provider. A common mistake in sales is to search out the brides through newspaper social pages and announcements. The people to connect with are those providing wedding services — floral arrangers, gowns and tuxedo rentals, hall rentals, DJs and caterers.
Youth sports — With more than 35 million children participating in youth sports in the U.S., the need for safe buses and coaches always exists. This campaign helps operators participate in a lucrative market by providing all the attributes of coach travel for team moves of any size, any distance.
A six step program
Participation in the motorcoachmarketing.org tools and training is a six-step program.
- Choose the motorcoach Attributes and Affinity group campaign.
- Invite the sales and marketing team to view the training video at motorcoachuniversity.com.
- Select the appropriate marketing and promotion tools from the menu of over 50 selections included in each campaign.
- Customize the tools online quickly and easily to fit your company to include photography, logo and contact information.
- Place the product order that may include the Motorcoach Marketing Council fulfillment rates, or download the artwork and print it locally.
- Implement the programs and monitor the results.
If the Motorcoach Marketing Council and the campaign tools have contributed to more focused sales and new business, perhaps add a seventh step: Share your success story with the Motorcoach Marketing Council.
“We will always be a volunteer board,” says Peter Shelbo, president of Tour West America, Phoenix, AZ, and chairman of the Motorcoach Marketing Council. “We’re looking for good board members. If any operator is interested in helping, we’d like that.”
“We appreciate the donations given by the participants in the Penny Parts program, both operators and bus manufacturers,” Shelbo adds, referring to the Council’s donation-based partnership with the four major bus OEMs. “They’re a very important part of our funding mechanism.”