By 2022, the charter bus industry is estimated to generate revenues of up to $3,810 million.
This sector has different entry points that are lucrative for investors. Additionally, it offers a platform for traveling and interacting with people from different cultures.
So, what exactly does it entail? Running a charter bus company involves taking guests on special events or already predetermined sightseeing routes.
However lucrative and fun it may be, you need to learn as much as you can before you venture into this industry because there are many things that affect the success of bus companies.
In this article, we shall discuss in detail all the steps you should take for your business to thrive.
The dynamics of the chartered van business vary from one city to the next.
Before you settle on a strategy, it is important to acquire a comprehensive grasp of how it works in your city. Get all the details on licenses and other initial requirements. Consult with industry experts.
They will give you a sense of how the industry is and the direction it’s headed.
Once you have an overview of the market, delve into the nature of operations.
Find out how the current market players are set up. This step requires a little bit of creativity on your part. To begin with, you can go through their websites and social media pages.
There you will find out the most popular routes and standard rates.
To get a clear perspective of how the competition is, pose as a customer on different trips. Do this with different companies. Ensure that your company provides superior services from the onset.
Choose a Niche
Travel bus companies serve a range of clients. These include tourists, corporate clients, party groups and even sports teams. The type of service and approach required will be different for each category.
Though big industry players offering premier transportation services can cater to all the categories, as a startup, it will be important for you to focus on one or two sectors.
Consider one of the following methods of selecting a niche. The first one involves identifying a robust niche with few entry barriers. For instance, it will not be hard to get tourist clients if your city is a tourism hotspot.
All you need to do is advertise your services at attraction centers. Ensure you give a personalized experience to every group. You can also request hotels and other places of accommodation to refer your services to their guests.
The second approach involves identifying an underserved niche and focusing on it. Though this approach may not yield instant results, it may become lucrative in the long run.
With the right strategy accompanied by exemplary services, you can establish yourself as the dominant player in that industry.
Get the Right Vehicles
Travel bus companies require different types of vehicles to serve various clients. These include:
• Buses for large groups of over thirty people
• Minibusses for medium-sized groups of between 15 and 20 people
• Vans for small groups
As stated earlier, the dynamics in the charter bus industry will vary depending on the market segment you target. This, therefore, means that groups of similar sizes but from different niches will require vehicles with different features.
For instance, a van ferrying a group of tourists on a sightseeing trip will need to have large windows to enable clear viewing.
Such vans can also have parts of the wall removed for the same purpose. On the other hand, a van ferrying corporate clients will not require such features.
Once you have selected a niche, have your vehicles customized for it to give the best experience to your clients.
As you begin getting many new clients is very important to maintain consistency in the delivery of high-quality services.
Repeat clients and referrals will ensure you have a steady flow of business. Referrals can cushion you during low seasons.
From the onset, you must set yourself apart from your competitors. For example, your brand should be associated with the highest levels of professionalism.
Your staff should be neat, polite and able to make the passengers relax and engaged during trips.
The drivers should be diligent and careful on the road.
You may also include amenities that will make the journey more comfortable and enjoyable.
Consider installing a good air conditioning system, an audio system, television, and Wi-Fi. Ensure the vehicles have sufficient luggage space and where possible use reclining seats with footrests.
Marketing and Branding for Bus Companies
To penetrate the market and carve out your own base, you need to brand and market your company appropriately. The first step is choosing a business name that is catchy and directly communicates to your target market.
Advertising will be important from the onset. Start by branding your vehicles and setting up posters and leaving brochures and fliers in strategic places.
Radio and television ads along with strategically positioned billboard placements can be very beneficial.
Nowadays, 90% of consumers read reviews online before visiting a business. It is therefore crucial that your company has a robust online presence.
It is imperative that you set up a website and social media pages to showcase your products and services. You must also ensure that your website is optimized for search engines to increase visibility.
You must also be ready to go social. Be active on social media and engage with your followers consistently. This will expose your brand to more and more people and will help you to remain relevant.
Take up Relevant Insurance Covers
Running a charter bus company will require several types of insurance. It is important to be fully insured to protect your business from any liabilities. Some of the policies you might need to take up include:
• General insurance
• Motor vehicle insurance (comprehensive insurance)
• Risk insurance
• Financial reinsurance
• Liability insurance
• Deposit insurance
• Payment protection insurance
• Workers compensation
• Overhead expense disability insurance
• Business owner’s policy insurance
• Lenders mortgage insurance
Get in touch with an insurance broker to help you identify the best policies to take up for your company.
Why You Should Start Immediately
Aside from the potential profits, running charter bus companies is very rewarding. It allows you to network and learn about other industries in the process.
You do not even have to start with your own vehicles. Try leasing to cut down on the initial startup costs and grow your business organically.
How you market and brand yourself will play a vital role in your success. Check out this article to learn how you can define your brand’s tone for advertising