If you plan or lead group travel, motorcoaches are probably a big part of your operations. But how do you book a motorcoach, anyway, and what makes them so expensive?
Luke Busskohl, president and CEO of Arrow Stage Lines, has spent his entire career in the motorcoach industry. He joins this episode of the Gather and Go podcast to help us understand this all-important element of group tours.
Luke shares his insights on questions you should be asking your motorcoach company, how to build a good rapport with your driver and what you can do to minimize the expense of coach charters. Plus, we have news about proposed changes to pilot training rules; a Road Tip about making the most of on-board WiFi; and a Hot Minute on The New Yorker’s incendiary essay “The Case Against Travel.”
Insights from Luke Busskohl:
On how to pick a motorcoach company:
“The questions you ask really matter in determining whether a company is good or not.
“I would talk to a motorcoach company about their record on timeliness. Ask if they monitor and track their on-time performance. Is there a way I can track my vehicle?”
“I would ask for specifics about safety. What do your drivers do for training? How do you handle bad weather? How do you ensure your vehicles are safe? Look for specifics and have them back it up with data.”
On the motorcoach driver shortage and pay issues:
“If you just want to make money, you can go drive other vehicles and make more money than as a motorcoach operator. If your company doesn’t have the right culture and you don’t care for your people, there are ways drivers can make more money.”
On building a good rapport with your driver:
“Establish clear expectations up front. Make sure the itinerary, contact information and specific instructions are given to the driver. And remember to respect the driver’s expertise. They are professionals, they’ve been trained and they bring a lot of value. Maintain an open line of communication.”
Resources Mentioned in This Episode
Learn more about Arrow Stage Lines at arrowstagelines.com.
Learn more about Miles Ahead Trainig at milesahead.training.
Sign up for The Group Travel Minute at grouptravelleader.com/subscribe.
Key Moments From This Episode
1:33 — Travel News: A solution to the pilot shortage?
2:47 — Road Tip: Making the most of motorcoach WiFi
9:05 — Bonus travel ideas you won’t find anywhere else
14:31 — How Luke Busskohl became a motorcoach executive
19:18 — How drivers’ time regulations impact your tour itineraries
21:06 — Chartering a motorcoach: Where to begin?
25:06 — How far in advance should you book a bus?
30:00 — Combining cruises with land tours
32:44 — How to have a great relationship with your driver
37:17 — Why are motorcoach charters so expensive?
49:10 — Hot Minute: Is there a legitimate “Case Against Travel?”
About the Podcast
Gather and Go with Brian Jewell is a tourism podcast that helps group travel leaders plan, promote and lead better trips. Each episode reaches thousands of professional tour operators, travel agents and the volunteer group leaders they serve. The audience also includes destination marketers, museum leaders, church travel leaders and other tourism enthusiasts around the world. Each show includes a featured conversation with a smart and influential travel leader. You’ll also hear travel news, road tips and more. New episodes are released about twice monthly.
Have questions, comments or ideas for the show? Send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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