Blog Innovation

What Coach Bus Companies Can Learn from Top Airlines

A Reservations Checklist to Elevate Your Passengers’ Experience


It’s been said that when it comes to reservations and ticketing, the bus and coach industry is where the airline industry was 30 years ago. To close the gap somewhat, we wanted to profile what it is that sets the two industries’ systems so far apart in terms of meeting passengers’ needs.

89% of companies compete primarily on the basis of customer experience – up from just 36% in 2010. But while 80% of companies believe they deliver “super experiences”, only 8% of customers agree. So how is the industry failing in this area?

See our checklist below to find out how a leading reservations system can create tremendous value for your existing and future passengers, as well as give your business a competitive edge.

Use This Reservations Checklist To Delight Your Customers

Are Your Prices Flexible?

People travel at different times of the day. So, why should a customer pay higher prices when they don’t need to travel during peak times? Through a reservations system that supports dynamic pricing, you can offer your customers a better price determined by their departure day and time.

You can also reward advanced purchasing by providing lower-priced tickets to those who make their reservations long before their travel dates.

The benefit to your business? Flexible pricing means you can generate more revenue by capturing more riders at the price they’re willing to pay.


Can Customers Make a Seat Selection?

Airlines offer paid seat selection, so why not coach buses too? Passengers are often willing to part with extra money if it means getting more legroom or securing a seat close to the exit. Being able to choose a seat in advance means they can enjoy more comfort on their journey.

The benefit to your business? Earn more money by offering a paid seat selection. It’s not mandatory, so those who do purchase it are willing to pay for the extra comfort. The result? Better peace of mind for your customers.

Does Your Business Recognise and Offer Rewards To Repeat Customers?

Through a simple, built-in loyalty program, frequent passengers can earn rich points to redeem against future reservations. Of course, the promise of discounted travel is enticing, and you might even find that people try out new or longer routes if they feel they are paying less upfront for it.

The benefit to your business? Encourage frequent travel from existing customers. Retaining an existing customer costs 5-25 times less than acquiring a new one.

Is Your Reservations System a 24/7 Mobile Booking Channel?

Managing a reservations system manually limits your sales to the duration of your office hours. Furthermore, offering a sub-par mobile booking channel means you’re limiting your potential client base. Your customers need to be able to book tickets anywhere, anytime, without your assistance.

The benefit to your business? Be open for business 365 days of the year. With unlimited office hours and a reservations system compatible across devices, you increase your opportunity to sell more tickets.


Are You Using Targeted Offers?

Does your reservations system offer exclusive digital sales with promo codes? Many airlines use this tactic to drive awareness of new routes and boost sales during certain times of the year. For example, offer 20% off a ticket price by entering a code when making a reservation.

The benefit to your business? Track the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and drive awareness of particular routes.

Do You Send Out Thoughtful Communications?

You’ll find that strategic communications not only make your business more efficient but also provide a personal touch that adds value to your customer’s experience.

Follow up every purchase with an automated text reminder closer to the date, send customers feedback surveys so they have a voice in improving your service, thank them for making a purchase, send out a relevant special offer with promo codes already applied. These thoughtful messages let them know their patronage is important to you, and a leading reservations system can offer these features.

The benefit to your business? Track customer engagement, incentivize certain behaviours, and continuously improve your service. Taking care of your customers in addition to your business, will help you to succeed.

Can Customers Choose From Different Pass Options?

Do you offer your customers different pass options, or do you simply sell tickets based on the route travelled? Adding options such as tourist passes, or weekly, monthly or yearly passes often makes travel more convenient for them.

Not only that, typically, longer-term tickets offer better value to the customer. And easy redemptions on mobile create a seamless reservations experience for them.

The benefit to your business? Have your customers commit to more travel upfront. They receive better value for their money, and you secure the repeat business.


Final Thoughts

While the bus and coach industry’s comparative timeline has progressed beyond advertising fares in the back of Sunday newspapers or posting tickets in the mail, it’s evident that there is still much to be taken from the airlines’ book.

With a model reservations system to draw insights from and the affordability and convenience of ground travel on your side, there’s no reason why your bus or coach platform shouldn’t be ticking all the boxes to provide your passengers with the best customer experience.

Does dealing with your booking platform produce happy customers? If not, contact us for a demo on our innovative reservations system today.