Sandy Borowsky, Author at Starr Tours & Charters - Page 2 of 3
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Broadway by Bus or Bust

It’s only August, but now is the time when we start planning our assortment of Broadway Show Bus trips for 2018. I bet you want to know how we decide which shows to book on which dates! A crystal ball of course! Doesn’t everyone have one of these?

Okay, so we don’t really have a crystal ball, but since we’ve been doing this for so long, we do have an idea of the type of shows our tour guests like. There’s the steady eddies like: The Phantom of the Opera, The Lion King, and Wicked. Then there’s the shows that are still bringing people in after a couple years like Beautiful, and School of Rock. There’s the newer shows like Come From Away and Anastasia. And, of course, there are the untouchables like Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen – we get laughed at when we request those shows! Perhaps the most exciting, but most unknown, are the newcomers. Late 2017 and 2018 have their share of newcomers and it looks like there will be lots of new shows to deliver to our tour guests.

Check out the newest musicals coming to Broadway:

The Band’s Visit
The critically acclaimed new musical that celebrates the deeply human ways music and laughter connect us all.  After a mix-up at the border, an Egyptian Police Band is sent to a remote village in the middle of the Israeli desert. With no bus until morning and no hotel in sight, these unlikely travelers are taken in by the locals. Under the spell of the desert sky, their lives become intertwined in the most unexpected ways. The Band’s Visit celebrates the deeply human ways music, longing and laughter can connect us all.

 

Escape to Margaritaville
A new musical featuring both original songs and your most-loved Jimmy Buffett classics. Follow Tully, a part-time singer, part-time bartender, and full-time charmer who thinks he has life all figured out until a beautiful career-minded tourist steals his heart and makes him question everything.

 

Once On This Island
Bursting with Caribbean colors, rhythms and dance, the story of Ti Moune comes to vibrant life in a striking production. Ti Moune is a fearless peasant girl who falls in love with a wealthy boy from the other side of the island. When their divided cultures keep them apart, Ti Moune is guided by the powerful island gods, Erzulie , Asaka , Papa Ge , and Agwe, on a remarkable quest to reunite with the man who has captured her heart. Come and gather around for Once On This Island, a triumph of the timeless power of theatre to bring us together, move our hearts, and help us conquer life’s storms.

 

Frozen
Elsa and Anna take the stage in the Broadway adaptation of Disney’s hit film! This is the timeless tale of two sisters, pulled apart by a mysterious secret. Both are searching for love. They just don’t know where to find it.

 

 

Half Time
An original musical about a group of ordinary seniors with extraordinary dreams. Take the uplifting  journey with these dreamers—and the young coaches who inspire them along the way—as they battle self-doubt, stereotypes and even each other for a chance to bust a move at center court in front of 20,000 screaming fans. Together they remind us that in life, when the odds are stacked against you and the challenges seem too great to overcome, it’s not the end of the game—it’s HALF TIME.

 

My Fair Lady
Lerner and Loewe’s classic musical returns to Broadway. Adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s play and Gabriel Pascal’s motion picture Pygmalion, My Fair Lady premiered on Broadway on March 15, 1956. Boasting a score that contains such now-classic songs as “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “Get Me to the Church on Time,” “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” “On the Street Where You Live,” and “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face,” My Fair Lady was hailed by The New York Times as “one of the best musicals of the century,” and by the NY Herald Tribune as “a miraculous musical.”

 

Harry Potter & The Cursed Child (Part 1 & 2)
The eighth story in the Harry Potter series arrives on Broadway! It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and a father of three school-age children. While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable trust: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

We already have great seats reserved for many of these shows, and as always, if a show isn’t listed on our Broadway shows lineup you can still count on us for great seats to any show when you book with our NYC Express Option – you choose the show and we take care of the rest! We’ll drop you off at 11am and pick you up at 6pm – we make it super easy for you to enjoy New York City and Broadway!

When Starr takes you to Broadway, we drop you off right in the heart of the Theatre District where you’ll have access to great restaurants, shopping and people watching! Starr makes it easy to see a Broadway show so check out our assortment, sit back and let us take you there!

Celebrating Starr’s Long-Term Employees

Last week we celebrated a personal milestone at Starr: Kathy Dolly, Starr’s Director of Finance celebrated her 40th anniversary. This special anniversary made me think of not only Kathy, but all the wonderful people who have experienced long tenures at Starr.

 

First thing’s first. Let’s define tenure in this context. Tenure is the length of time an employee has worked for their employer.

 

Kathy with Starr Owner & CEO Alan Glickman, and President John Gillispie

Next, let’s talk more about Kathy (because she deserves it!) This year Kathy is celebrating her 60th birthday (don’t tell her I told you). If you do the math, you can figure Kathy started when she was only 20 years old, back when she was a college student. Kathy has been at Starr longer than she has been married, longer than she has been a mother, and before office computers were a norm (remember carbon copies?)! Plus, during Kathy’s time at Starr, her daughter, Melissa, worked at Starr while she was in high school and college (and has since moved on to a career with a national accounting firm).

 

All in all, there are 19 employees with 25 or more years of tenure at Starr. With a total of 131 employees, that’s almost 15% of us who have worked here for a quarter of a century. Not too shabby, eh? And by the way, the average Starr employee has 12.5 years of tenure. Can you tell we are quite proud that our employees choose to stay at Starr for their career?

 

Congratulations to the following Starr employees with 25 or more years of tenure:
Alan Glickman, CEO, 47 years
Kathy Dolly, Director of Finance, 40 years
Henry Jarkowski, Maintenance, 37.5 years
Bob Multop, Courier, 36 years
John Ciborowski, Tour Director, 35 years
Margie Mangione, Travel Advisor-Tours, 34 years
Andy Waskie, Tour Director, 33 years
Jim Agasar, Driver, 32 years
Penny Rudolph, Tour Director, 30 years
Carole Brown, Tour Director, 30 years
Bill King, Driver, 29 years
MaryAnne Kostic-King, Tour Director, 28 years
Lucille George, Charters & Tour Director, 28 years
Mary Gasper, Tour Operations, 28 years
Rob Graff, Director of Transportation, 26 years
Joann Peate, Tour Operations, 26 years
Nancy Kozic, Travel Advisor-Tours, 25 years
Chic Suter, Driver, 25 years
Jane Peters Estes, Tour Director, 25 years

 

And what about me? Well, would you count the hours I listened to my dad talk about Starr at the dinner table or those tours I escorted while I was in college or the ad copy I wrote while I was in high school? OK, I guess not! So in that case, I will be celebrating my “official” 19th year at Starr this August!

 

Since I find employee tenure fascinating, I looked up some statistics on this topic and I learned the following from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of January 2016:¹

Did you know?

The median number of years that workers had been with their current employer was 4.2 years, down from 4.6 years just 2 years prior.

The amount of workers with 10 years or more of tenure with their current employer is 29% (men) and 28% (women). Not surprisingly, Employee tenure was generally higher among older workers than younger ones. For example, the median tenure of workers ages 55 to 64 (10.1 years) was more than three times that of workers ages 25 to 34 years (2.8 years).

 

What does tenure say about you?

Please feel free to chime in with your tenure and what you think it says about a person! Looking forward to all your thoughts!

 

Cheers to all of our great employees and here’s to many more years to come!

Sandy Borowsky
Vice President, Tours & Marketing

 

 

¹https://www.bls.gov/news.release/tenure.nr0.htm

Go Greener With Starr

Go Greener With Starr


Each year, Earth Day—April 22—marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970.
The largest secular observance in the world is celebrated by more than a billion people every year, and offers a day of action that changes human behavior and provokes policy changes. The fight for a clean environment is in full force at Starr and continues with increasing urgency, as the ravages of climate change become more manifest every day.

At Starr, we are committed to doing our part to help our environment and make a difference. That is why we invest in and maintain one of the “greenest” fleets on the East Coast. With numerous technologies and initiatives in place, Starr is actively working to protect our environment for future generations. Did you know that just one of our coaches can replace up to 56 cars on our roadways? It’s time to climb aboard a charter bus to help our environment!

 

In honor of this important day, here are (just a few of) the priorities that Starr focuses on in our daily regimen:

  • Starr continues to purchase motorcoaches that utilize cleaner engine technology
  • The Volvo D13 Engine, an engine in the newer buses that Starr purchases, delivers near-zero emissions of particulates and NOx – improving air quality and exceeding new EPA emissions requirements.
  • Starr operates a fleet of Prevost motorcoaches.  Prevost is the only North American bus manufacturer to be a world-recognized environmental leader and is fully committed to safeguarding the environment. Prevost is the only coach manufacturer to have achieved an ISO 14001 Certification for environmental management.
  • Starr has retrofitted our older vehicles to reduce emissions up to 85%
  • Starr recycles oil, tires, batteries, and many more engine components to keep these items out of our landfills
  • Starr Charter Bus Drivers have been individually trained by the University of Vermont’s Certification for Sustainable Transportation.
  • Starr Charter Bus Drivers are not permitted to idle engines for longer than 3 minutes as unnecessary engine idling wastes fuel and creates senseless pollution.


Starr’s Charter Bus and Tour Headquarters in Hamilton, NJ:

  • Runs partially on Solar Power
  • Maintains up to date environmental planning for stormwater and spill prevention
  • Goes paperless whenever possible…emailing confirmations and invoices and printing only when necessary.
  • Has a recycling program in place that includes everything from paper to ink toner.

 

Motorcoach Travel – The Greener Way to Go!

  • A couple boarding a motorcoach will cut their carbon footprint nearly in half compared with driving even a hybrid car.
  • And if they take a motorcoach rather than flying, they will cut their emissions by 55 to 75 percent, depending on the distance they travel.
  • Motorcoaches emit the least carbon dioxide per passenger mile compared to other vehicles, and are 7 times more energy and fuel-efficient than single occupancy automobiles.
  • Motorcoaches are 3 times more efficient in reducing carbon dioxide output compared to commuter rail.
  • Motorcoaches are the most fuel-efficient transportation mode in North America when measured in terms of passenger miles per gallon of fuel providing 206.6 passenger mpg compared to commuter rail (92.4 passenger mpg), airlines (44 passenger mpg), and single occupancy automobiles (27.2 passenger mpg).
  • A single motorcoach can replace as many as 56 passenger cars on our highways.


As you can see, Starr has a strong commitment to preserving our environment. So this Earth Day, what will your focus be to help cherish and maintain our environment? Now, it’s more important than ever to Go Green!

 

Related Articles:
Getting There Greener: The Guide to Your Lower-Carbon Vacation

5 Best Practices I Learned When I Acted as a Tour Director

Managing a group of valuable Tour Directors is a responsibility I take very seriously. After taking on this responsibility in 2005, my only prior experience in Tour Directing was as a college student, home for the summer, and helping out a couple times at the last minute. Yes, I grew up hearing “on the road” stories from my dad at the dinner table and yes, I was quite familiar with public tours in general, but I had never regularly escorted them. Accordingly, I asked lots and lots of questions and learned as much as I could in a short time. But nothing educates you like “on the job experience.”

Here’s what I learned when I (officially) escorted my first public tour.

Tour Director, Carole with two other Caroles!

Get to know your guests!

One of the most rewarding facets of being a Tour Director is getting to know new people. It starts with the basics: Learning to recognize everyone – this is especially important since we don’t require name tags for our passengers and people change clothes each day so you can’t  try to memorize who they are by what they are wearing! I got to know my guests by sitting with them at meals, interacting with them on the bus, chatting with them in the hotel lobby, or spending time while on tour with them. People are all so different and each person has a story to tell.

Beat them to breakfast

If you tell our guests that breakfast is at 7am, expect them to be ready and waiting at 6:30am or before! If you get there before them, you can make sure the hotel is prepared with food, plates/utensils, seating and plenty of coffee! There is no “sleeping in” while you are on tour with a busload of guests who are used to waking up early!

Confirm, confirm, confirm!

You know the saying… “The best laid plans…” At Starr our Operations department crosses every “t” and dots every “i” but when you are on the road, anything can happen. Hotel contacts may forget to tell the front desk an arrival time, restaurants sometimes “lose” reservations and attractions may even “forget” to unlock their doors! All of these things have happened! So the most helpful thing I learned as a Tour Director is that you should always confirm (and sometimes re-confirm) all aspects of the itinerary. “Better Safe than Sorry!”

Driver, Tom & Tour Director, Chris on our 2011 Cross Country Tour

Build a rapport with your driver

Tour are most successful when the Driver and Tour Director work together. This starts with some pre-planning before the trip departs and continues all the way through the entire tour. Communication and mutual respect are the key ingredients. If the Driver sees a Tour Director is working hard and smart, s/he is more likely to do the same. Working together will make both the Tour Director and Driver have easier and more successful trips.

 

Balance your talking and quiet time and make the talking worthwhile

It’s 2017 and let’s face it, tour guests not only need some quiet time but lots of them bring their own personal electronics to keep them occupied. This means that a good Tour Director should know how to balance his or her time on the microphone.  In the morning, after a brief orientation, let the guests rest. After the first rest-stop it’s time to start talking and sharing the plans for the remainder of the day. Tour Directors should do their homework on their destinations so they can educate their guests. Story-telling is a great way to convey information as it has been proven that stories are more memorable than just plain lectures. Add in some games for the guests to have some fun and maybe get to know each other. On a full day’s drive, after lunch is another good time for quiet.  It’s all about the balance!

And of course I couldn’t just end at 5 so here’s my 6th and final Best Practice:

Have fun! You only live once so this should not only be fun for our guests, but for our Tour Directors too! Shared travel can lead to wonderful experiences and if you’re having fun, your guests are more likely to have fun, too! There’s nothing like seeing a destination through the eyes of 50 different people from all different backgrounds.

 

Being a Tour Director was extremely rewarding for me, both professionally and personally. Even though it’s lots and lots of hard work and preparation, the memories and experiences make it a wonderful experience.

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Sandy Borowsky, VP Marketing

 

Top 5 Reasons to Attend an Industry Convention

ABA Marketplace Business Floor
This is the entrance to the business floor where literally millions of dollars of travel business is booked through 1 on 1 meetings with travel buyers and sellers

I just returned from the American Bus Association Annual Marketplace #ABACleveland and although it started on a Saturday morning and lasted 4 full days, it was worth it and here’s why:

 

  1. It’s all about networking.
    Meeting people in your industry is very valuable. Sharing “war” stories and successes is a wonderful thing because you may adopt an idea to your business that works! Or, you might have been thinking of an idea that didn’t work for someone else – this is a way to avoid making mistakes! Building a network also helps increase your business. Industry friends are more likely to refer your company. Worse case scenario: you build friendships to last a lifetime. Case in point I sat next to someone on a FAM tour many years ago and not only do we both use the other’s company (his a tour planning company and mine a charter bus tour company), now we call ourselves friends and will always have a special connection.
  2. Get away from your office and think big.
    Being stuck at our desk day after day sending and responding to emails and managing the day-to-day grind often doesn’t allow us to “step outside” and generate business building ideas. Being away from your desk on a business trip allows you to be creative and brainstorm (with yourself or others) ways to improve your business. On this last trip, I developed two new bus tours that I am very excited about sharing with my customers.
  3. Visit a destination you may not have otherwise visited.
    Who knew I would love Cleveland as much as I did! The people were friendly, the city was clean, and the food was phenomenal. My hotel and the Convention Center were brand new, built for the 2016 Republican National Convention. Some surprise destinations I have visited and enjoyed were Branson, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Colorado Springs and so many more. After visiting new destinations, I use the information I learned to help me plan future bus trips.
  4. Learn the newest developments in your industry.
    Here I am attending a "Women In Buses" seminar. Another great avenue to network and learn at the same time.
    Here I am attending a “Women In Buses” seminar. Another great avenue to network and learn at the same time.

    Even though I get emails (and snail mail) from lots of organizations and Travel Partners, I am not always “in the know” about the latest innovations and trends. Attending an industry convention allows me to learn the latest and greatest things I need to know to improve my business and make it run efficiently. I can’t always assume that I know what’s going on in and around the charter bus and tour industry but attending conventions and industry events keeps me abreast and “in the know.”

  5. Take the opportunity to thank your Travel Partners.
    We do lots for our Travel Partners but there are so many out there that are doing wonderful things for our company and our guests. Thanking someone over email is one thing but thanking them in person brings it to a completely different level. I like the personal interaction and being able to put a smile on someone’s face.

 

So next time a convention alert pops up and you are thinking you’re too busy or don’t have the budget to attend, think about those benefits and maybe, just maybe, you’ll change your mind.

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Sandy Borowsky, VP Marketing