Booking group transportation does not have to be hard! If you want to know how to work with those companies who offer this service, here are five tips that will make your next group transportation booking go smoothly.
Tip #1: Know what you want… or at least what you think you want…
When it comes to transportation you will be asked a lot of questions., even if you are just a casual shopper. From where you want to be picked up to where you want to go to if there are any stops and how many passengers you will have… the list may seem longer than you want to answer when you are simply trying to do some price shopping. However, the reality is that some of these little details can mean huge differences in price and availability. Taking a few minutes to provide a more accurate picture of what you are going to be doing will ensure that the prices you get back are meaningful and represent what you can really expect for a trip like you are planning.
Tip # 2: Compare apples to apples.
One of the most difficult part of shopping for transportation is getting four or five quotes for the same service that are priced wildly differently and not understanding why.Like most businesses, not all transportation providers are the same or offer the same service or equipment. What may look like the same bus on the outside may, in fact, be totally different once you step aboard. From late model coaches vs. older coaches, the caliber of drivers and sales staff, types of equipment, maintenance programs, the size of their insurance policies, DOT/FMCSA ratings, and etc. the list of things that you will want to think about before you book is extensive. If a new coach with all the latest technology onboard is important to you, make sure that you are shopping for that. If you are only interested in moving your group from A to B for the least amount of money possible, make sure you shop for that. Transportation is definitely not a commodity. If you see one operator who’s price is higher than another there is most likely a reason for that. Ask the companies you are shopping why their prices are what they are and you will be surprised to learn just how different one is from another.
Tip #3: Avoid brokers. Go Direct.
Brokers are companies who represent that they offer transportation services to the public, but who do not own or operate vehicles directly. These companies make money on the difference between what you pay them and what they are able to pay the companies who ultimately operate the equipment you will be riding on. This means two things. First, their motivation is to get the service for as cheap as possible. If you are not interested in the cheapest way to go, then this is not a good choice for you. Even if you are interested in the cheapest choice, you still should not choose a broker because, like we said before, they make money on the difference between what you pay them and what they pay the transportation company. Ultimately you still aren’t getting the most inexpensive deal with brokers. Booking directly is safer too, as many of the issues that we have seen in the industry start with people paying for transportation to a company who does not actually have the ability to deliver that service. Nothing beats going directly to the service provider and negotiating to get the service, equipment, and price that works for you.
Tip #4: Look at reviews
Reviews are not just for buying comfy sheets on Amazon! They are a great tool when dealing with a transportation provider. We all know that things do not always go right, especially when you are dealing with traffic, driving conditions, weather and the like. You can see how the companies you want to work with act when things do not go right by checking online reviews. It is easy to want to judge a company on its best day, but the better way is to judge them on the days where things do not go right!
Tip #5: Shopping is not always looking for the lowest price
You will find that there will be operators who will send you quotes that are significantly lower than others. If they are also the company running the best equipment, who have the most friendly customer service, drivers and sales, and are shining stars with the FMCSA and DOT, then we would say book it and do it fast! What you will find is that most of the time those that are the lowest price are not all of those others things. Trust your instincts and book the company that fits your needs the best. Choosing a transportation provider is a big decision as your safety will ultimately be in their hands. Choose a company who you feel you can trust and that is doing everything they can to keep you and your fellow passengers safe, comfortable, and that you believe will do what they say they will do, when they say they will do it. That may or may not be the lowest cost provider, but will always be the best choice!