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In 2005, the United Motorcoach association launched BusRates.com to offer an easier way for group-travel planners to find bus companies. In 2009, the American Bus Association joined with the Ontario Motor Coach Association to launch GroupConnect.com, their portal for group-travel planners.
Both websites have evolved since their inception and offer more planning tools and options to benefit clients and operators alike. The philosophy behind them is simple: the easier it is for a client to book coaches and other group travel services from the same portal, the more likely they are to choose motorcoach travel over other modes of transportation.
The BusRates.com home page includes a four-step instructional box to guide new users.
BusRates.com, which receives nearly 100,000 visitors each month, sports an easy-to-use interface for clients searching for coach operators, hotel accommodations, restaurants, attractions, events, and other group activities.
“Our goal is not only to make it easy for our visitors to fulfill their group travel needs, but also to let them find out more about each company by directing them to a website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and/or review past customer reviews,” says Eric Elliot, program manager for BusRates.com.
“We encourage user reviews to help future customers navigate the choices available to them,” BusRates CEO Victor Parra says.
DID YOU KNOW?
84% of Americans are influenced by online customer reviews, according to an Opinion Research Corp. survey.
BusRates.com User Features
Users can navigate back and forth between the different category tabs to build their trip itinerary.
- Search for bus companies that offer group charters and own their buses.
- Search by bus type, location, or company name.
- Bus types: charter bus, minibus, school bus, Entertainer, Executive, limo bus, party bus, trolley, double decker, van, transit bus, tour operator.
- Search for hotels, attractions, events and restaurants with National Tour Association membership.
- Build customized itinerary.
- Customer review and testimonials section.
- Company descriptions, DOT safety ratings, websites, phone numbers, and email addresses.
BusRates.com Operator/Service Provider Features
- Different paid ad positions.
- Free one-month directory listing at the end of which BusRates will email the operator a summary traffic report to assess the benefit of joining the directory.
- Post information such as fleet size, vehicle types, vehicle specs and amenities.
- Post general rates, custom quotes, and inventory.