Throughout my 46 years in the motorcoach industry, I have been witness to the implementation of many new regulations by the various leaders of the U.S. Department of Transportation to improve motorcoach safety. Traditionally, as presidential administrations change, new department heads are appointed. Elaine Chao has been selected by the new administration to lead the U.S. DOT as Secretary of Transportation. Ms. Chao served as Deputy Secretary of Transportation under George H.W. Bush, and I expect Secretary Chao will take a hard look at existing motorcoach safety regulations in addition to new proposals put forth. I anticipate her approach and determination will be effective and practical to ensure riding on a motorcoach will be as safe as possible, and even safer than in the past.
Starr will continue to be a leader in safety and regulatory compliance as we manage our own fleet of coaches and highly trained Drivers. Starr will continue its philosophy of providing the highest level of safety, not only by its lawful operations, but resulting from the many proprietary safety programs we have put in place to help ensure our riders a safe and comfortable travel experience. The safety awards earned by Starr are evidence of our safe driving commitment in addition to our commitment to you, and our quest for new and improved operational policies and practices.
Our entire team at Starr is dedicated to continuously advance and look for new ways to increase the level of safety in our industry. Starr is proud to introduce on its two newest coaches additional L.E.D. turning signal lights. The additional lights will serve to increase the visibility of our coach to other motorists and pedestrians when it is making turns or changing lanes. The additional coach lighting is a safety idea that we at Starr suggested to our motorcoach manufacturer, Prevost. An idea we envisioned, will be adopted not just by Prevost, but by the other motorcoach manufacturers to create safer vehicles for their motorcoach customers.
We thank you for your loyalty and for the faith and trust you have placed in us.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Learn the newest developments in your industry.
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.”
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.