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The Ideal Equation for a Great Birthday Bash

The Ideal Equation for a Great Birthday Bash

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!

   

So for 2019, we did the same equation and we’re going to Branson and St. Louis, Missouri!!  https://www.starrtours.com/bus-tours/index.php/branson-mo-birthday-bash/tour-detail/3575

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?

Breaking Bus Records

Everyone knows that Starr buses are luxurious. Between comfortable seats, on board entertainment and wifi, they have all you need to make getting to each exciting destination enjoyable. Our buses, Drivers, and Tour Directors make noteworthy accomplishments every time they head out, but what about the other buses in the world? As it turns out, Guinness World Records has a whole list of the best world records involving buses! Some of them are unbelievable feats. So, sit back, relax and enjoy.

 

Longest career as a bus driver

Many things in our world have changed since 1946. One thing that hasn’t, however, is Carl Fisher’s career as a bus driver. Set in 2011, Fisher holds the world record for the longest career as a school bus driver. He started driving school buses at age 16, and found a job he loved and excelled at. Fisher estimates he has driven over two million miles, and has owned twelve different school buses. He finally retired at age 82, after spending 66 years driving Missouri’s children to and from school.

 

Furthest distance to pull a single decker bus with the ears

Famous strongman and grandfather Manjit Singh has been training as a strongman all his life, and he has broken over 55 world records. On March 31 2008, Singh pulled a single decker bus 20 ft in Loughborough, UK. Singh attached cables to his ears, and yanked the bus almost 6.1 meters. He did this to raise money for the Manjit Fitness Academy. Read about his other bus pulling record here.

 

Most people crammed into a single decker bus

According to Guinness, on June 1st, 2011, a group of people in Poland took a 57 second journey, but this one was no ordinary bus ride. Normal buses of this size can usually fit somewhere around 50 people. But this bus contained 229 people, most were faculty at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the Krakow University of Technology.

 

Longest Journey by Bus

In 1988-1989, longtime friends Hughie Thompson, John Weston and Richard Steel took the world’s longest journey traveling by bus, as reported by Guinness. The group rode a red London Routemaster double-decker bus, which was their home for over a year. In the end, the boys traveled 54,289 miles and visited 18 countries, going all throughout Asia, Europe, Australia and the USA.

 

Our Cross Country Trip of a Lifetime

While they may not have broken any world records, our annual Cross Country trip accomplishes its own set of impressive stats!
June – July 2017, 34 passengers, 1 Tour Director, and 2 Drivers traveled across our great country and back in 26 days.
– They slept in 20 different cities, enjoyed 30 attractions, visited 5 National Parks, and gambled in 4+ casinos (with the possibility of many more on their free day in Las Vegas).
– They drove on 30 major routes and highways across 19 different states, passing through all 4 time zones for a total of 7,304 miles!
(You can set your own personal records on our Cross Country trip in 2018!)

 

So, the next time you’re relaxing on a bus trip on a Starr bus, think about all of the incredible things that were accomplished in buses just like these, and relax as you travel to your wonderful destination.

The Birth of a Birthday Bash

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.

Myrtle Beach Skyline

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.

Myrtle Beach

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.

Pirates Voyage Dinner Show
ONE the Show

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!

Click here to view this tour on our website for more information and to reserve your seat!

Sandy Borowsky
Vice President, Tours

Giant Crab – Waterfront Private Dining Room

 

Brookgreen Gardens

 

Pirates Voyage Dinner show

 

Barefoot Princess II Paddlewheeler

 

Carolina Opry
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

Coming Soon: DC’s Newest Museum!

DC_AfricanAmericanHistory-rendering_web-icontactGround-breaking history is soon to happen in Washington, DC as the new National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) opens its doors to the public on September 24th. It will be the 19th and newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution. The NMAAHC captures the roots of African American history where you can explore the story of America through the lens of the African American experience. Like the Smithsonian museums in DC, cost to the NMAAHC is free to all, which makes this a great stop on any trip to the city.

The NMAAHC will exhibit showcases and stories of African Americans who paved the way as trailblazers, innovators, visionaries and history makers. The primary focus is on history, culture, and community. More than 33,000 artifacts have been collected and will be on display throughout the museum. Currently, “Through the African American Lens” is the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s eighth exhibition and is on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History until the NMAAHC opens its doors on September 24th.

The artifacts on display at the museum have been graciously donated by individuals across the nation. They cover a multitude of topics like education, military service, popular culture, religion, sports, and visual arts. These are wonderful and historic examples of the African American struggle, determination, and pride that has built our nation.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is sure to be an educational and enlightening experience on any trip to the nation’s capital. Let us take you there!