Remember that feeling in high school when you solved a tough equation? How about middle school algebra when you were trying to solve for Y? Yep, that’s what it feels like to have planned, executed and personally enjoyed a Starr Birthday Bash! And here’s the Y… OK, The WHY – Because we love our Starr Tour Guests!
So let’s start at the beginning. What does it take to find a destination for a Starr Birthday Bash?
Here’s what we look for – The “X” if you will:
A different destination than somewhere where we already offer a lot of trips to
Somewhere with a hotel that can handle 3-5 busloads of tour guests
Somewhere with a restaurant or banquet room that can hold approximately 200 guests
Then we add the “Y” or, the WHY:
Why would people want to go here?
What does this tour offer that would excite them into booking this trip?
What can we include that would make this trip different that other trips that they have taken?
Put those things together and what does it equal? A great Starr trip!
X+Y = Great Starr Trip!
I was lucky enough to join our 4 Tour Directors and Drivers and 175 Starr tour guests in Myrtle Beach this past October. We had an excellent trip and here’s why:
We picked a destination that offered beautiful weather (we ordered it!).
We picked a hotel where every room had an ocean view and a balcony! The staff was so excited to host our Starr customers and showed us warm southern hospitality!
We had a great Birthday Dinner at the Giant Crab where the buffet had 171 items-I counted! We ate birthday cake and gave away lots of prizes to over 30 lucky winners!
We saw 4 fabulous shows! Each one was entertaining and dazzled us beyond expectation!
Everyone went home with smiles on their faces and wonderful travel memories!
We’ll see 5 shows on this trip plus see the Gateway Arch and tour the Anheuser Busch Brewery! Join us! I promise you will be glad you did. We have over 30 people on board already and we’d love to have YOU!
Now it’s time to plan for 2020? Got any ideas for the “X” in the equation?
How it is that I feel like I just took out my white pants, when in reality Memorial Day was 2 months go? How is it that our (first and last) family-day-at-the-beach is planned for Labor Day Weekend, just a few days from now? Summer has flown by! But it’s no surprise – time flies when you’re having fun. Can we ever slow it down?
Here’s a recap of the “Summer of Starr” that brought so many of us wonderful travel memories:
On our Agawa Canyon bus trip, Carole Brown and her group had a wonderfully scenic train ride to the bottom of the Canyon where tour guests had some time to spend and take in the beautiful Canadian landscape. Do you think the Starr Bus was going to race the train? Hmmmm…
You can’t look for ponies on Assateague Island on an empty stomach which is why we stop for lunch at Phillip’s Crab House in Ocean City. Sure looked like the group was enjoying their meal. Glad the weather held out for them, too! Starr Tour Director Angie made sure the weather forecast was looking good!
Tour Director MaryAnne and Driver Bill (also MaryAnne’s husband) had a great time on their trip to Cape Cod. This shot shows 40 happy hands in the air at the National Seashore. Our fabulous tour guests loved Starr’s new hotel and the Dune Riding Tour was the favorite activity!
Our 3-day Bus Trip to New York’s Hudson Valley stopped for a visit to FDR’s Hyde Park home where Tour Director Bette snapped a photo of these two lovely couples: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and two happy Starr bus tour guests. We also stopped at West Point, a Winery, Innisfree Gardens, Vanderbilt Mansion and did a Boat Cruise. It was a busy but memorable trip!
For the first time in many years, we operated a bus tour to the American side of the Falls – where you don’t need your passport. These (thankfully) dry Starr travelers had a wild time on the Maid of the Mist Boat Cruise with their Tour Director Karen. On this Niagara USA bus trip we wanted to make sure our tour guests got up close and personal with the Falls! The feedback was very positive for this first-time tour itinerary and the tour guests loved staying at the Seneca Niagara Casino Resort!
Penny Rudolph, Starr Tour Director and resident photographer, took this wonderful group shot on our August trip to Quebec City and Montreal. Our Canadian neighbors welcomed us with open arms and warm hospitality. Boy the Hilton Quebec City is magnificent and in a great location!
So as you can see, the summer flew by but here is an example where Starr tour guests stopped to take care of themselves. They treated themselves to a wonderful vacation that delivered memories that will last much longer than our short 2 month summer! Don’t let the fall pass you by, we have lots of bus trips to choose from!
According to Investopedia, Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are heading into retirement in droves (about 10,000 a day, in fact). But what does retirement mean anymore? How many of you have celebrated the retirement of a friend, relative or coworker just to find out they have gone back to work? We can retire from one career and start another in a very smooth fashion. Here at Starr we hire lots of retirees on staff as Bus Drivers. We have retired Police Officers, Teachers, Firefighters, and many Veterans. Driving a charter bus offers a lot of the perks that workers facing retirement seem to desire, such as flexible hours, a change of pace and scenery, and the opportunity to learn new skills. Folks who have held sedentary jobs often enjoy being “on the move” for a change; workers tied to one locale during their career may appreciate visiting new places; those who’ve worked alone—like accountants, lab technicians, or computer programmers—may enjoy the opportunity to meet and converse with many new people every trip.
Everyone knows Americans are living longer than ever so that means our ideas around retirement and needs going into retirement are changing. Although the U.S. Census Bureau data shows that the average retirement age in the United States is about age 63, many don’t retire until Age 70. And then there are those in good health, like Starr’s owner Alan Glickman, who are 75 and still going strong! The longer we work, the easier it is to afford a comfortable retirement. Longer lives and rising health care costs have made retirement more expensive at the same time that stagnant wages and the decline of the traditional pension have made it harder to save enough. Putting off retirement until later can mean less worry once you get there. Then you can relax and truly enjoy your golden years.
Bloomberg tells us that U.S. seniors are employed at the highest rates in 55 years which means that more and more Americans are spending their golden years on the job due to a number of factors. Many are healthier and living longer than previous generations. Some need the income, while others decide not to fully retire because they enjoy their jobs or just want to stay active.
While age discrimination is a very real consideration for older job seekers, a few gray hairs can actually be a plus for aspiring bus drivers. Passengers might equate age with experience, authority, and sound judgment and they would be right. A little life experience can go a long way on the open road. For a generation pondering how to transition into the next phase of life, a stint as a bus driver might be the ticket.
Starr makes the transition into a new career as a motorcoach operator as easy as possible. First, we offer a full scholarship to qualified candidates to help get you the necessary CDL license you’ll need to operate one of our buses. Next, we offer a flexible schedule, premiere medical benefits, and full and part time options. Oh, and we also offer a $10,000 hiring bonus for full time drivers, and $2,500 for part time drivers, just to sweeten the deal even further.
Our drivers travel up and down the east coast and as far west as Michigan, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Tennessee. You work as a team with knowledgeable Tour Directors, and get to know many of our amazing passengers and groups – many of which have been traveling with Starr for years! If the idea of being paid to travel, see our great country, and meet some great people interests you, why not consider turning your retirement into an adventure and join our team? We’d love to have you!
Visit Starr’s employment opportunities and see current open positions by clicking the icon below:
Our 70th Birthday Bash was such a success (4 sold out buses!) that I had to figure out what to do for next year. I wanted to think of a destination we hadn’t toured in a while that people would get excited about traveling to. I looked back in the archives and discovered that we hadn’t visited Myrtle Beach in a few years. Since I knew two people in the office who LOVED vacationing in Myrtle Beach (Tour Director, Karen Coate, and Charter Representative, Jeanette Gilmore), I decided to dig in to this vacation destination. Having never been to Myrtle Beach myself, I knew I had a lot to learn.
First, I logged onto Tripadvisor, a resource I frequently use to assist in tour planning. I look for the most popular things to do in the area and then I read the reviews. In this case I needed to look at Myrtle Beach as well as North Myrtle Beach. North Myrtle was created in 1968 from four existing municipalities north of Myrtle Beach, and serves as one of the primary tourist towns along the Grand Strand. I put myself in my tour guest’s “seat” and imagine if they would like to do the things that are top attractions in the area. After I make a list of these attractions, I move on to hotels.
Since Starr attends the American Bus Association convention each January, we meet with Destination Marketing Organizations, hoteliers, attractions, and restaurant contacts. We save all of our information for times like these where we need info to build a bus tour. Now I go through and mine this information for hotels that fit the needs of our tour guests. In Myrtle Beach there are so many beachfront properties that we have lots to choose from BUT we have to be careful to choose a property that is group friendly, clean, and updated.
Next, it’s time to select a date for our trip. This year we traveled to the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee in September so I know I want to travel to Myrtle Beach in the fall. The hotels can’t even open up to groups in the summer as they are too busy. September can still be hot so I opt for October. This is when I can use the newest buses in our inventory since we are not as busy with other tours.
With 4 buses and the possibility for more, I have to find a hotel large enough to host us in Myrtle Beach and I also need to find properties en route to/from Myrtle Beach since we can’t travel there in 1 day. This is a large undertaking. Once I find the hotels, I need to make sure they all have availability to host us and that they will be able to handle the large number of guests. It’s important to me that our guests don’t feel like a “herd of cattle” so I will most likely split the en route properties up and have no more than 2 buses in each property.
Since shows are so popular in Myrtle Beach, I pick my top 4-6 favorites and review their schedules and prices. Then I start to piece together the schedule. This is not an easy task and is very much like a puzzle.
One of the resources I have been talking with is Sandy Haines at Myrtle Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau. Sandy suggested I do a “site inspection” of the area. A good idea – I always like to check out an area before we do a new tour there. Even though the summer is my busiest time of year in the office (as we prepare for busy fall outbound and build tours for the following year), I carve a 3-day trip into my calendar. A tourism friend offers to host me at her home which is a great way for me to get the local flavor of the area and learn some background info that I may not have learned! I rented a car and set up my appointments to meet with tourism partners, tour hotels, and sample the shows. My three days were jam packed with appointments, meetings, tours, food, and fabulous performances! I asked a lot of questions, and took lots of notes to help me remember all that I saw. Southern Hospitality was certainly displayed during my whirlwind trip to Myrtle Beach! Below are some pictures of my many stops. You can see how busy I was!
As I boarded my plane home, ideas raced around in my head so once I was seated (in a middle seat, of course!), I opened my computer and put together the final itinerary. Now it’s time to make the reservations, sign the contracts, and start promoting this wonderful trip. I am so excited to go back and bring 200 (or more!) of my closest friends! I hope you can join me!
Last week, we celebrated Starr’s 70th Birthday with 4 bus loads of passengers from all over the tri-state area. This fabulous 6 day vacation to the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee was filled with great shows, unique attractions, lots of food and many fond memories.
Here are my Top 10 Reasons why I loved Starr’s 70th Birthday Bash:
10. I got to meet 200 Starr bus tour travelers-some new and some seasoned Starr travelers. I learned what they loved about Starr and what we can improve on. I heard about so many experiences and wonderful memories. Our travelers were so incredibly thankful and kind and my heart was full hearing so many stories.
9. I got to see 4 wonderful Starr Drivers and Tour Directors in action and I learned why they are so beloved by Starr travelers.
4. I ate and ate and ate! OK, it was mostly chicken but who doesn’t like fried chicken – and calories eaten on “vacation” don’t count!
3. We asked our travel partners across the USA to donate items that we could raffle off as part of our birthday celebration. We collected over 25 terrific giveaways including a fit-bit and a beautiful hand-made bowl from Corning Museum of Glass. These gifts, along with Starr gift cards that we supplemented, made this a fun event with lots of happy winners!
2. I learned best practices as we prepare for our 71st Birthday Bash in Myrtle Beach next October.
And my #1 reason…
I was able to experience this with my parents, the co-owners of Starr and the people behind the scenes who have kept this company going strong for the last 45 years!