2022 June

DIY Videos: Unleash Your Marketing Creativity

If a picture is worth a thousand words, the value of adding video to content marketing strategies is priceless. Don’t let the misconceptions of videos being expensive and complicated stop you from creating videos to describe your company and help sell charters and tours. Advances in webcams and smartphone cameras and a proliferation of cost-effective online DIY tools can help turn a marketing team member into a video master.

Start by going to the internet to find guidance on what’s needed to produce a quality video.

Wikihow.com has a step-by-step explanation of creating a YouTube video right here. The Verge, a news site dedicated to advances in technology, also has how-to’s on webcams and camera phones.

When creating a DIY video remember the goal is to present your story or marketing message in a compelling way. Here are additional steps to guide you in the right direction* —

  1. Determine what you want tell viewers. Create a story, or write your key messages down in a logical flow. Web videos must be short. It’s best to keep the subject focused on one idea.
  2. Use an online video creation tool. After knowing what you want your video to say, spend some time online looking over easy-to-use video creation tools. Playplay promises its video editing program is as user friendly as PowerPoint. Canva offers a drag-and-drop solution as well.  Vimeo has clear-cut instructions and guidelines. These three options also supply video templates designed to match a variety of marketing objectives and provide a library of stock images and footage for you to use.
  3. Be on brand. Use your logo, colors and signature coach at the beginning of the video, which allows viewers to immediately recognize you and the Trailways brand.
  4. Use Existing Content. Repurpose existing work. If you have video of a charter trip, a team celebrating a winning game, or video from one of your most popular tour destinations, include them to become the background for your message.
  5. Post to a variety of social media platforms. Posting a video on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube are among the most effective forms of audience engagement and broadens your marketing reach making your video worth the effort. Vimeo considers itself an all-in-one integrated solution for businesses. Unlike YouTube, which shows videos published by others in the subscriber side panel, Vimeo only shows your video library to viewers.

(*Source: Alison Murdock, Forbes Communications Council Member, blog post Feb 4, 2021.)

How long should your video be?

What is the ideal length? Statistically, YouTube advises that videos between seven to 15 minutes perform well on the platform. However, a video should only be as long as it needs to be. Some content marketing professionals are recommending video clips be no more than one to three minutes in length.



Accelerate your driver’s skills and be rewarded with customer loyalty  

Aries Trailways Safety Manager Mel Collazo is among the first to complete all five courses in Trailways’ newly launched Customer Service Driver Training. The program, designed to help Trailways’ drivers deliver a superior customer service and safety experience, is based on Disney’s practices renowned for creating repeat customers.

“My intention was to learn what each course teaches and how our drivers can benefit by the training,” said Mel, who oversees a full and part-time team of 48 to 52 drivers for Aries Trailways, which serves the Chicagoland area with charters, sightseeing, convention shuttles, school trips, airport transfers and more. “I liked the video training and how it includes the Trailways branding, especially for inexperienced drivers.”

Mel, who joined Aries in 2019 with a longtime career as a driver and in safety management, knows first-hand how a driver can impact business success and customer loyalty.

For five years in the early 1990s, Mel was the driver for Doc Severinsen and his band on their trips aboard a Prevost seated coach to gigs in the Midwest, California, New York and around the country. Severinsen, 94, is a jazz trumpeter who still occasionally plays concerts and led the band for The Tonight Show, starring Johnny Carson. “I came to know Doc because I was working for Cardinal in Indiana, and they assigned me to be his driver on his tour through Iowa. After that, he only would ride with us if I was his driver.”

It is the kind of loyalty drivers can achieve by advancing their skills using Trailways training.

Drivers can access the Driver Training modules by going to the Team Trailways website, here. Scroll down the page and click on the training icon. For questions or technical difficulties, call 844-488-8195 or email Trailways@alliancesafetycouncil.org.

Trailways is offering discounted pricing of 50% off the Customer Service modules during 2022 to encourage members to get all their current drivers through the program.



Capture More Charters Now 

Trailways launches groundbreaking online charter booking system with Busie
Early results proving beneficial to members and customers alike

Trailways hosted an online webinar for members on May 26, Revolutionizing a Historic Brand and Bringing it into the Digital Age. The online seminar discussed early results of Trailways’ launch of its new online charter booking system with Busie, a leading cloud-based charter software company. The platform, now live on Trailways.com, can be viewed here.

“Our platform technology is groundbreaking; no one else has anything like it,” said John Zaworski, Strategic Initiatives Manager, Dean Trailways, Lansing, Michigan, who spent two years spearheading the project and represents one of seven Trailways operators involved in the platform’s pilot. “We are already getting feedback that more charters are coming in and praise for the technology’s time saving benefits.”

Customers are also finding the platform convenient. “We heard about a customer booking one charter trip and came back to the site to book four more trips because he found the system easy-to-use,” continued John.

The new online booking system replaces Trailways’ charter lead dashboard as of the end of June 2022.

Changing habits

Customer shopping preferences have shifted. “More people are going online to book travel and they expect convenience and instant gratification,” said Louis Bookoff, cofounder of Busie. “This trend is a big driver of why Trailways made the switch. The goal is not to get rid of the personal interaction operators have with their customer, but rather enhance that and give operators the ability to spend more time with customers as a result of the time savings and efficiencies they gain.”

As the systems’ network of users grows, Louis says the value for each Trailways member increases, with no need for brokers or ad dollars spent on leads, resulting in profitable charters when using standard pricing.

“The platform lets Trailways members control and own every step of the process with a customer; controlling rates, profit margins, and inventory availability,” he says.

Amy Brooks, Trailways board chair and Susquehanna Trailways’ vice president of sales, first thought the Busie system would require doubling the entry work into her company’s current database.

“The person seeking the booking request is responsible for entering the information. You will only need to enter the data into your own business system once the charter reservation is booked,” she says, explaining that potential customers who cannot commit to booking a trip are automatically eliminated from the system.

Attracting new customers

If a member of the Trailways network cannot facilitate a trip, Trailways would like to create an affiliate base of operators to fulfill the booking. This group would have access to the system under another pay- scale structure.

“We see the new platform as a reinvestment opportunity to help members grow their markets and the organization’s network of members,” John said, adding that Trailways has budgeted for greater investments in SEO and campaigns to drive more people to Trailways.com.

Aries Trailways, serving the Chicagoland area, is among the first group of five additional operators added to Busie since its May launch. Sam Trevino, Sales and Marketing Manager of Aries, said: “We have been on the site for a week and see new business coming in.”

Next steps

Trailways is purposefully holding a soft opening for the new site to allow members to get up to speed on the technology. Amy suggests apprehensive operators try out the site booking smaller, one-time events such as weddings. “This will allow you to become familiar with the technology and gain confidence in the system,” she says. “You can build from there.”

Busie also offers a safe and intelligent mapping platform, with capabilities to include routing times, state-by-state tolling information, and more, with the ability to launch an SEO-optimized website in less than two weeks.

In case you missed the webinar, or want to replay any portion, email Sabina Dhami, Trailways Director of Accounting and Office Management at Sabina@Trailways.com , who will send you the video link and password.

If you want to be in the next group of operators to go live, please fill out this waitlist form or book an onboarding meeting and a member of the Busie team will contact you.



Celebrating 50 Years: Thrasher Brothers Keeps Growing, Building New Markets

Thrasher Brothers Trailways, which turned 50 in 2021, enters its next half-century with optimism and loads of work. Alan Thrasher, President and second generation to lead the Birmingham, Alabama-based company, has managed the day-to-day operations and owned the business along with his sister Alyce since 2007. Like his father Jim Thrasher, the co-founder of the company who died in 2019, Alan has a genuine passion for the bus business, the Trailways brand, and a knack for spotting sales opportunities.

“I was practically born on an Eagle bus,” says Alan, “I’ve been around the entertainment and bus business my entire life. I’m proud to be following in my dad’s footsteps and am dedicated to helping Thrasher Brothers and the industry flourish.”

An Entertaining Start

The Thrasher Brothers, Jim, Buddy, and Joe, performed on the Wally Fowler Gospel Sing at the Grand Ole Opry when they were children in 1948 and won Ted Mack’s The Original Amateur Hour five years later. The family produced a TV show called America Sings, which aired on 100 stations around the nation from 1967 to 1976 and made several hit records including “Still the One,” a country and pop music standard.

To keep up with life on the road, brothers Jim and Joe co-founded the Thrasher Brothers motorcoach company in Birmingham, becoming pioneers in entertainment coaches in 1969.

The brothers’ first encounter with Trailways began that same year when Jim was in Dallas for a taping of America Sings and walked into the regional Trailways office. He talked the organization into becoming a national sponsor of the show.

“Trailways ran ads for years and we had a Trailways miniature bus replica as a prop on the stage,” recalls Alan. “My granddad, who was known as Pop Thrasher, would drive the band’s Eagle bus, pulling only into Trailways members’ shops for service. He also won a Trailways Driver Safety Award.”  Trailways even hired The Thrasher Brothers Quartet to perform at its annual meeting in 1972.

The band retired in 1986, and Jim, who is in the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, became the sole owner of the bus company. He was influential in the industry as a co-founder of the Alabama Motorcoach Association (AMA). He served as its first board president for three years.

Thrasher Brothers officially became a Trailways member in 2002, with Jim and Alan Thrasher both contributing their talents to Trailways for many years. Alan served on the Trailways Board from 2013 to 2019 and now serves as Vice-Chair of UMA’s board.

Like his dad, Alan also had a musician’s life on the road supporting touring bands before returning full-time in 1997 to focus solely on building the bus business. With the growth of the charter company, the Thrashers left the entertainment side of the bus business in 2013.

“Many doors have opened for us because of our reputation for quality coaches and caring for customers,” says Alan. “Big moves are easy for us, and we’ve always worked on the premise of risk and reward.”

Alan points to his company’s efforts to arrange Trailways members’ participation in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver as a big undertaking that paid off. “The move was one of the single biggest revenue earning events for Trailways members,” he says.

Since 2015, Thrasher Brothers has been the exclusive transportation provider for Daimler’s Brand Immersion Experience at its Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance, Alabama. Thrasher currently runs five Setras, made by Daimler, to carry participants arriving in Birmingham from all over the country to tour the only Daimler-owned manufacturing facility in the U.S. where they build SUVs, C-class automobiles, and now the electric cars. “We’ve just extended the contract by three years for the EQ Experience,” says Alan.

Thrasher is looking at Daimler’s new Tourrider coach to feature on the service. “We will be among the first to experience the new Mercedes model,” says Alan. Tourrider was introduced to the industry at UMA EXPO 2022.

Thrasher Brothers keeps a modern, well-maintained fleet of 20 coaches in its yard and shop near the heart of Birmingham. “We have the right number of coaches required for Birmingham,” says Alan, who knows he can count on other operators in Alabama and in the Trailways system for help when extra buses are required. Thrasher is always ready to reciprocate. “I do enjoy helping other operators out when they’re in a coach-down situation or technical jam.”

It’s happening in Birmingham

The company’s charter business is booming as well. Thrasher is wrapping up a three-month, eight-coach assignment for the revived United States Football League (USFL), transporting the league’s eight teams to practices around the city’s stadiums. The inaugural-season of games were played April through June in Birmingham’s new Protective Stadium and the recently upgraded Legion Field. In between, the company handled charter transportation moves for Garth Brooks’ June 4 concert at the new stadium, which broke an attendance record with 52,000 tickets sold. 

Up next is the World Games, an 11-day international multi-sport event taking place in Birmingham July 7-17, 2022. An anticipated crowd of 100,000 will be watching 3,600 elite athletes from over 100 countries compete for gold in more than 30 next-generation sports including waterskiing, dancing, and billiards. As current president of the state motorcoach association (AMA), Alan made sure other Alabama Trailways members and the state’s smaller operators were contacted to help fulfill the transportation requirements.

“Now is our time,” said Alan. “As an industry we can accomplish more when we work together.”

Getting passengers to their destinations with care and class

Driver and passenger safety are of utmost importance to Alan, who would like the industry to come together on how to serve overnight trips requiring relief drivers. “These types of trips add to the burden of driver shortages, and affect the safety of the group,” he says. “I’d like to see groups include overnight hotel stays for longer trips rather than rolling through the night. I see it as an extra safety measure and a win-win for everyone because travelers also arrive at their destinations well-rested.”

Industry accolades

Alan’s business know-how and service-oriented nature has won multiple awards for the company. Trailways presented Alan with a leadership, valor, and team spirit award for his contributions to the 2010 Olympics effort.

Metro Magazine also recognized Thrasher Brothers as an Innovative Operator in 2016 for its inventive long-term Mercedes-Benz contract, modern fleet, and the emphasis the firm places on safety.

Alan credits operators and the Trailways organization for keeping the industry in business during COVID-19. “I am particularly grateful to the heroic efforts of our industry’s state and national associations and carriers throughout our country to make the government aware of our plight during the pandemic. We are still in business today because of all of you.”



Suzanne Thornburg Joins Trailways Board

Suzanne Thornburg, CEO and President of Alabama-based companies Capital Motor Lines DBA Capital Trailways and Colonial Trailways, has joined the Trailways board of directors. Capital Trailways celebrates 92 years and Colonial Trailways marks 87 years in the bus business this year. When Trailways formed in 1936 both carriers were among the first to join its network.

With a 25-year career in banking and a board member of Capital and Colonial since 2011, Suzanne became CEO and President of the businesses in 2019. She is the first wife of the late Frank E. Montgomery III, the first family member who worked in the day-to-day operations of Capital and Colonial since his great grandfather Avery Austin Crow founded the first company in the 1930s. Frank purchased the businesses from family members in 2005 before his death in 2010. Suzanne joined the Board the following year in the interest of her then-minor children, who represent the fifth generation of family ownership.

“I am all in,” she says. “It is so important to me to protect our employees and move the company forward.” 

Suzanne worked in regional and corporate banking institutions located in Mobile and Baldwin County.  Experienced in financial management, Suzanne is especially conscientious about controlling costs, which sustained the company during the COVID-19 shutdowns.

“We slowly started coming back to life with military trips and our scheduled service partnership in July 2020,” said Suzanne.

Suzanne sees a sales-driven culture and a fresh perspective as the way ahead for Capital and Colonial. Her oldest son, Frank Montgomery lV, now on board as General Manager of Capital Trailways Madison-Huntsville location, reports that June has been the busiest month of the year. Frank worked as an intern with Colonial Trailways in 2019 in the Mobile location while attending the University of South Alabama and working toward his bachelor’s degree in business with a concentration in marketing. He joined the business full-time after graduating in June 2020. 

Today, the businesses operate a fleet of more than 50 motor coaches, minibuses and trolleys from three operations in Mobile, Madison and Montgomery, Alabama with charter services that extend into Tennessee, Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana and to other points in the United States and Canada.

Devoted to her family, employees and the businesses alike, Suzanne includes Trailways in that sphere. “Trailways is a big part of our family’s business heritage. The affiliation helped us get to where we are today,” she says. “Now it’s my turn to collaborate and support the many operators and vendor partners in the Trailways system. We all need a network of people we trust. I’m honored to serve on its board to help build our futures together.”



Trailways and Greyhound End Partnership After 25 Years

Change reflects Trailways’ commitment to improving customer experience

NEW YORK, June 1, 2022 /PRNewswire/ – Today, family-owned Trailways of New York announces the end of its almost 25 year partnership with Greyhound Bus Lines. Valued at over $50 million in revenue annually, the partnership began in 1998 and placed the two major ground transportation carriers under one alliance along bus routes including New York to Toronto and New York to Montreal.

Trailways announces the end of its partnership with Greyhound, and will continue to independently offer affordable, comfortable and dependable bus travel along the New York to Toronto and New York to Montreal corridors. (CNW Group/Trailways of New York)
Trailways announces the end of its partnership with Greyhound, and will continue to independently offer affordable, comfortable and dependable bus travel along the New York to Toronto and New York to Montreal corridors. (CNW Group/Trailways of New York)

Dissolving the agreement between the two companies gives Trailways full control over the end-to-end travel experience for passengers, allowing it to reaffirm its commitment to providing affordable, comfortable and dependable transportation.

“As a family-owned and operated business for almost 100 years, we want every rider to feel cared for, but this wasn’t possible in our partnership with Greyhound,” said Eugene J Berardi Jr., president and CEO of Trailways of New York. “We weren’t able to operate our routes the way we wanted but that all changes now.”

Trailways will continue to operate along the New York to Toronto and New York to Montreal corridors, but with many improvements to the rider experience, including:

  • Dynamic scheduling allowing for added buses to meet the demand on popular routes
  • Ticket agents stationed in all major bus terminals to provide on-site customer support
  • Enhanced digital-first online experience due to multi-million dollar investment in Trailways.com and Trailways.ca

“With travel top of mind and consumers hoping to return to the road, now is the time for us to take back control and reclaim our position as a leading provider of affordable, comfortable and dependable transportation for those wishing to explore along the New York to Toronto and New York to Montreal routes,” continued Berardi.

For nearly 100 years, North Americans have depended on Trailways to confidently explore the world around them. Every Trailways ticket unlocks new possibilities for long-awaited reunions, thrilling adventures, or simply welcoming what the weekend brings. Trailways has been making regional travel easier and more accessible to weekend warriors for decades, providing a surprisingly affordable, reassuringly comfortable, and relentlessly dependable service on every ride.

Trailways is the perfect exploration option for the sustainability-minded traveler. In fact, bus travel has been proven to use the least amount of energy and produce the lowest carbon dioxide emissions per passenger mile of all travel modes including air, automobile, and rail transit.1About Trailways of New York:

Trailways of New York (Adirondack, Pine Hill, and New York Trailways) operates over 150 trips per day to more than 140 destinations in New York, New Jersey, and Canada. The largest, and longest continuously operating, privately held, intercity bus carrier in New York State, Trailways of New York boasts an unmatched legacy of service in the region. Gateway cities include Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Montreal, New York, Rochester, Syracuse, and Toronto. As an interline partner with Amtrak, and member of the National Trailways Bus Network, Trailways of New York is able to connect millions of passengers to thousands of destinations throughout North America each year. Connect online at Trailways.comTrailways.ca, and on Twitter.



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