2022 January

Continued Resiliency, New Busie Charter-Booking Technology Will Drive Trailways in ‘22

Trailways’ growth in 2022 will be technology-driven. “Everybody’s sales will be moving again in one form or another; tour, charter, direct line or sightseeing,” said Gene Berardi, Executive Committee member and President of Adirondack Trailways, Hurley, N.Y. “With scheduled service, 70% of bus travel bookings across the country are on the internet industrywide.  No one walks up and buys a ticket. The time is right for Trailways to be working with technology, and we’re going to be the leader.”

Charter has historically lagged direct line and tour products, however that is all about to change. The Busie charter sales platform, a cloud-based lead booking system that will be added to Trailways.com in the next few months, will give carriers a more efficient system to build business and profitability. “There are a lot of bus brokers out there,” said Gene. “I would rather use Trailways.com to sell more charters than pay a lot of commission to brokers. It’s all changing. We all know the time it takes to prepare quotes for a move, versus what really gets booked. Busie’s process will change that.”

“Having one central Trailways system to track and capture charter opportunities lets membership staff spend more time selling, and less time calculating quotes,” said Louis Bookoff, co-founder and CEO at Busie. In beta testing with Trailways’ seven largest carriers, the Busie system offers carriers a comprehensive and intuitive web-based charter quoting and booking portal that’s user-friendly for members and gives them the opportunity to include dynamic pricing on trips or tweak pricing based on market conditions. Additionally, it gives the Trailways network the ability to offer a truly modern quoting and booking experience online at Trailways.com “We’ve been working closely with Trailways’ executive team for more than a year to create a system that accelerates charter bookings for members, acts as a revenue stream and keeps Trailways leading the future.”

To learn more about Busie, or for a presentation please contact: trailways@getbusie.com



Purcell Offers Life and Business Lessons from Football to Broadcasting

As a longtime Texas rancher and high school football coaching legend, Ken Purcell knows how to win and inspire teams.

Purcell’s 40-year career in Texas high school athletics earned him nine championship rings, athletic director hall of honor recognition and a Fox Sports TV commentator slot for local Friday night football games.

In his opening remarks as Trailways annual meeting’s keynote speaker, Purcell praised members as the risk takers of the world. “You’re the type of person who I’ve always wanted to play for me,” he said. “You are not afraid of facing challenges.”

Purcell, who also co-authored “All I Need to Know I Learned from My Texas High School Football Coach” in 2017, stressed six traits for building a vision and a philosophy for one’s business and life:

  1. Keep your eye on short and long-term goals. When plowing a field, furrows will be crooked if you keep your eye only on the plow blade. “The key is you’ve got to look down and up to plow straight, said Purcell. Continuous review of short- and long-range goals helps you achieve them.
  2. Plant seeds. Don’t wait for things to happen, share your plans with those who may be able to help. Purcell landed at Fox Sports after mentioning to the TV producer of his championship games that he would be retiring from coaching and still wanted to be part of the sport. Fox picked Purcell as a commentator without an audition. 
  3. Put others first. “People don’t care how much you know until you show them how much you care,” he said. Putting this creed into practice with colleagues and customers builds lasting relationships.
  4. Respond, don’t react. By keeping calm, you’ll think more clearly and solve most problems.
  5. Make everyone part of your team.  Anyone who gets a check from your company is someone on your team. Treating each individual as part of your team improves morale and increases productivity.
  6. Don’t be afraid to fail. Many of life’s greatest achievements require going outside of your comfort zone. Risk takers accept losses and move on to the next challenge.

“In coaching, it’s all about impacting kids’ lives,” said Purcell. “I always told the kids on my teams; be happy with who you are today. Happiness is a philosophy. I hope I’ve brought happiness to you today and wish the same for you all the way to 2023.”

In a follow up email to John Zaworski, Dean Trailways, Purcell, who speaks to a lot of groups throughout the country wrote that Trailways is a special group. “They are the hard workers of our country and I have great respect for them.” He thanks Trailways for the opportunity to be the keynote speaker at the 2022 annual meeting.



Trailways Rolls Out Online Customer Service Training for Drivers

Five Course Modules Teach Drivers How To Create A Great Customer Experience

To further its quality-care brand image with current and prospective members passengers, Trailways has launched a new online customer service training program specifically for drivers. The five-course program is designed to help drivers deliver a superior customer service and safety experience. Modeled on the comprehensive training Disney offers its cast members, Trailways’ new program incorporates key elements of Disney Magic and success at achieving a high rate of returning customers.

The courses also standardize Trailways’ customer service procedures assuring each passenger traveling with a Trailways operator will be treated in the same manner everywhere and at all times. The new online LMS (Learning Management System) five course series is available exclusively to Trailways members.

“This training advances Trailways very own style of quality service,” said Amy Brooks, incoming Board Chair, discussing how the LMS program got its start. “In 2018, we sought out Alliance Safety Council and a consultant from Disney, who is an expert in the renowned philosophies practiced at Disney theme parks, asking for their assistance to develop a comprehensive customer servicing training program for Trailways drivers.  At the same time one of our OEM partners, MCI, agreed to sponsor the development costs, helping to bring this training to all our members today.”

Trailways welcomed Joelle McGehee, Vice President of Customer Success with the Alliance Safety Council, to the annual meeting, where she discussed the purpose of Trailways LMS, its ease of use, and the five customer service modules created exclusively for Trailways:

  • Course 1 Brand Recognition: Outlines how Trailways endeavors to make every interaction with our customers polite, pleasant, and stress-free, while explaining its longtime history, core brand values and company identity.
  • Course 2 Conflict Resolution: Identifies the five main styles of conflict resolution and teaches drivers how to use basic communication tools, from agreement framing to open questions, along with anger and stress management techniques to resolve conflicts.
  • Course 3 Customer Experience Interaction: Explains to drivers how they are the face of Trailways and how they should strive to the best version of themselves while on duty.
  • Course 4 Driver and Passenger Safety: Covers commercial driver’s license rules, CDL drug and alcohol testing, hours of service, driver fatigue, fitness for duty, distracted driving and crisis solutions.
  • Course 5 Vehicle Safety:  Provides instructions on pre- and post-trip interior and exterior inspections, vehicle maintenance, safe operating procedures, fire safety, and emergency evacuations.  

“These courses offer a cost-effective way to give drivers and new employees tools to provide a better level of service to each customer interaction,” said McGehee.  Please click here for Alliance’s presentation on how to use the system and instructions for drivers to access the courses. Trailways members also have access to five new Entry Level Driver Training courses added to the LMS site.

At this time, Trailways is extending discounted pricing of 50% off the Customer Service modules during 2022 to encourage members to get all their drivers through the program. Each course will be $7.50 individually or choose the 5-course bundle for $30. You can access the Driver Training Module by clicking on the portal bar or the Training link found at TeamTrailways.com.



Trailways Transportation Elects Susquehanna Trailways’ Amy Brooks as its first female Board Chair at 2022 Annual Meeting

Leaders spotlight digitally driven ticket and charter sales growth,
driver training, and awards during busy sessions

Trailways is charting a new course for 2022 and beyond. The renowned national travel brand elected its first female Board Chair in its 85-year history and unveiled a cutting-edge online charter booking technology, customized online driver training modules and other programs at its annual meeting January 6-8 in Grapevine, TX.

Amy Brooks elected Board Chair of Trailways Transportation

During its annual meeting, Trailways’ Board of Directors elected Susquehanna Trailways’ Vice President of Sales Amy Brooks as the new Trailways Board Chair.  A board member since 2019, Brooks succeeds Patrick Dean, Vice President of Dean Transportation in Lansing, MI.  Dean will remain on the board as Joe Kobussen, of Kobussen Trailways, Kaukauna, WI retires from the Trailways board. Bob Brisman, President of West Point Trailways, Vails Gate, NY joins the board representing the Northeast region.  

“When I joined the Susquehanna team in 1981, we were a school bus operator with three charter coaches, and today we have 30 coaches,” said Brooks. “We became a Trailways member in 1982. My boss, Carl Kephart, Jr., told me he was considering joining Trailways and asked me what I thought. Adding Trailways to the end of Susquehanna added instant familiarity, credibility and respectability in the travel marketplace.”

Brooks sees Trailways’ new ticketing and trip-planning technology leading the way. “We want Trailways.com to become the one-stop-shop for anything travel, whether purchasing a ticket to a city destination or a group looking to charter a bus,” said Brooks. She added that a more powerful Trailways.com “will lead to greater growth for current members and help attract operators who never thought of becoming Trailways members until now.”

Susquehanna Trailways, a third-generation, family-owned motorcoach company based in Avis, PA, was Brooks’ first job after college. She answered phones there for eight months before leaving to attend graduate school at Eastern Illinois University’s College of Business and Technology, where she founded a chapter of her national sorority. When she returned to her hometown and rejoined Susquehanna, she applied her education to create a computerized tour reservation tracking system for the company and rose through the ranks.

“Trailways is known across the globe,” Brooks told the members. “We have the ability to pick up the phone and reach out to other members in every circumstance. It’s not about being competitive, it’s about being a teammate. Everyone brings something different, their specific talent, to the team. I am a salesperson, and this business has been my life’s work. I am thrilled to stand at the podium for Trailways as its first female chair. I am committed to advancing Trailways.com and bringing charter booking and greater growth to members and new members to fruition.”



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