Sandy Borowsky, Author at Starr Tours & Charters - Page 3 of 3
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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

Exercise your right to vote – at the polls and with Starr!

In light of November 8th approaching, I thought I would share some politically charged thoughts about our tour business and how it relates to VOTING. I bet you didn’t think this was going to be a politically charged article, did you? Read on…
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It’s important to note that at Starr, we often link Customer Feedback and Booking Patterns to VOTING. Now you know! OK, so you don’t go to the polls when you VOTE with Starr, but your interactions with our services are similar to votes cast for or against features we offer.

Here are some ways that you can VOTE at Starr:

  1. Book your trip early. This gives us an early indicator of which tours have the potential to sell well so we can add inventory accordingly. For example, this May we are doing our first ever bus trip to the Kentucky Derby. The package sold so fast that we added a 2nd bus and now we have 2 sold out buses going to see the most anticipated event of the horse racing season! Plus, we’re already planning to run this trip again in 2018! So when you book a trip “out of the gate” (pun intended), you give a “vote” to that trip which signals us to double check that our inventory is sufficient.
  2. Choose your Departure Point wisely. Of course you want the location that is closer to your home but sometimes the perfect location isn’t available. So you may have to go with your second choice. But be smart, pick the location that puts you in the path of the trip so you don’t have to backtrack. Every time you select a Departure Point you give a “Vote” so we can make decisions for the future.
  3. Spread the word. Tours that have sold well have the best potential to be offered again in the future. So every time you take a trip with Starr, you place a VOTE for that trip so that in the future, other people can experience the same great trip you did! Along those same lines, if you don’t book a trip (and lots of people don’t book that trip either), that trip is less likely to be offered the following year. When you return from a great trip, tell others about it and share your experiences with us via social media to inspire other people to book! Better yet, Refer-a-Friend to Starr! When you refer-a-friend, your name is entered into our Monthly Sweepstakes for a $250 gift card to Starr! Also, your friend receives a $25 Starr gift card to put toward their first trip and when they come home, you get a $25 Starr gift card for your next trip! It literally pays to refer your friends to Starr!
  4. Fill out your commenExercise your right to vote – at the polls and with Starrt sheets. You know those surveys that you fill out at the end of your trip? Votes! Votes! Votes! You are telling us what you liked and what you think can be improved in the future. We read ALL of your feedback and interpret your VOTES as we make decisions for the future. Your comments help us offer the best tours possible! There’s even a space on your comment sheets for you to “cast a vote” with ideas for a future trip!

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So, what’s the lesson here?? EXERCISE YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE!
Not only at the polls but also with Starr!

 

 

All Businesses Need New Customers to Survive and Thrive

At Starr Tours, we are lucky to have a large mailing list (both snail mail and email) of people who have traveled on our bus tours. As you can imagine, every Tour and Travel company needs new customers to replace those who can’t or don’t want to travel anymore AND to be able to grow their business so they can offer great trips at a fair value.

So, how does Starr grow our market of customers?

Refer-a-friend#1 – Our Refer-A-Friend Program:

Our #1 way to add customers to our database is from our Refer-A-Friend program.

Here’s how it works:

  • You refer friends on our website. Or, by mailing us a postcard (see image to right)refer a friend postcard
  • Once we receive your referral, we will send your friend a new customer savings certificate worth up to $25! Lucky them!
  • Then, we enter you into our $250 monthly Refer-A-Friend Sweepstakes.
  • And when your friend travels with Starr for the first time, Starr will send you a $25 Starr Gift Certificate!

It’s that easy!

Thanks to the success of this program, we add thousands of new customers to our database every year – and we have given away thousands of dollars in gift cards! History has shown that once people receive our catalogs, they will find a trip that suits their interests and then they will become a Starr traveler!

Starr-Newspaper Ad
Recent Newspaper Ad

#2 – ‘New Customer’ Coupons

Our #2 way to add customers to our database and our trips is through offering Coupons to New Customers.

Like many businesses, Starr publishes coupons to attract new customers. We place these coupons in the newspaper as well as mail them to people whom you have referred or who have found us on their own.

Coupons are a proven method for enticing new customers toward a business. We offer first time Starr travelers a discount: $10 for a day trip or $25 for a multi-day trip. We hope this coupon program encourages people to try one of our bus trips. Then, after receiving a discount and also discovering first-hand how great our bus trips are, we hope those customers who have tried us for the first time will become a regular part of the Starr family of travelers.

The truth is that coupons create a win-win situation for both companies and consumers.

Businesses benefit from coupons through increased customers. Research has correlated coupons directly with brain chemistry that is linked to happiness. Consumers who receive $10 coupons have 38 percent higher Oxytocin levels, 32 percent calmer breathing rates, 5 percent slower heart rates, and 20x less sweaty palms. Isn’t that great news?!

And certainly customer satisfaction matters. Happy customers rate companies better on review sites like Yelp, Facebook and Google and they are more likely to come back as well as tell a friend. They are more likely to sign up for a company’s email list or “like” its Facebook page. And, did you know that 60 percent of people are willing to post about a product or service if you offer them a discount?

These are all positive outcomes for a business – and Starr especially.

Some may ask: “Why don’t we allow our current/past customers to use our ‘New Customer’ coupons?”

That’s a great question! Starr vacations are value-priced. This means we don’t put a high markup on them therefore we don’t discount them. No senior discounts. No frequent customer discounts. No discounts. Period. We want to give all customers the same, fair price so when they purchase their trip and get on the bus, they know that they paid the same price as the person sitting across the aisle from them. Of course, this is not the same way that airlines or hotels price. How did you feel the last time you sat next to someone on a plane or heard someone check into a hotel and they were paying a lower rate? I thought so!

So, if you like our trips, please encourage your neighbors, friends and family to travel with Starr. This way we can be around for another 70 years!