BusRates.com Expands to Full-Service Travel Website

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – BusRates.com, which for the past six years has been putting thousands of travel planners in touch with motorcoach companies, is expanding its scope to become a full-service resource for the travel industry.

Planners not only will be able to line up a motorcoach for a charter but they’ll also be able to use the site to collect all of the information needed to book reservations at hotels and restaurants, locate ticket information for events, and find out what activities are available along their route.

“When our customers started looking for the group contacts for hotels, restaurants, attractions and other activities, we knew a change was needed,” said BusRates program manager Eric Elliott.

“We set out to create a site that makes planning a complete motorcoach trip easier and less time consuming.”

He said the new offerings, which are being introduced this month, will turn the BusRates website into a full-service travel center.

“Travel planners will have an easy group travel directory where they can find telephone, email and website information for any participating NTA member and can build an entire itinerary that can be submitted directly from BusRates.com to all requested companies,” he explained.

NTA, formerly the National Tour Association and the organization of professionals who serve the travel industry throughout North America, is a partner of BusRates.com, which is owned by the United Motorcoach Association.

Elliott said the site also is being expanded to include maps and feature content that will help planners locate restaurants, attractions and events that are near certain hotels.

The new offerings will join a successful addition to the website that was introduced nearly two years ago — a customer review section.

“In the past year, the site has seen customer reviews increase by more than 150 percent. This is exciting for BusRates.com as it shows how our customers care to educate other group travel planners about each listed company. It brings a community feeling to the site,” Elliott said.

Founded in 2005, BusRates.com has grown rapidly into an industry leader with visits from more than 1.2 million travel planners and tour operators annually.

Last month, the site drew more than 4,000 visitors on several days, and the number of requests for quotes also climbed to new highs.

“We have been blown away with the increased site traffic and the number of requests for quotes coming in,” said Elliott. “The site traffic has been growing by leaps and bounds and it seems that each week outperforms the week before. There is obviously a need by group travel planners to find motorcoach operators for their trips, and we are happy they have found BusRates.com to help them with their planning.”

Many of the planners seeking information and booking motorcoaches are from foreign countries, including Canada, Japan and most of the European nations.

Elliott said BusRates.com has positioned itself as an industry leader by offering its resources free to group planners and optimizing the use of web search engines so it consistently ranks in the top three spots for hundreds of different keyword searches on Google, Yahoo!, Bing and other search engines.

“Visibility is the key to BusRates.com’s success and the reason why we have been able to bring new business opportunities to tour and travel industry companies,” he noted.

Elliott said the website also provides a big bonus for companies that already have a strong web presence by giving them a new online path for them to reach new customers.

“This is where BusRates.com has flourished as a resource for large companies,” he said. “The site provides them with additional exposure to over a million visitors annually who might not see them elsewhere.”

Motorcoach operators interested in being listed on the BusRates.com site can sign up for a one-month free trial. For information, call (866) 375-0800, or send an e-mail to eric.elliott@busrates.com.

BusRates.com Internet Traffic Reaches Record

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – BusRates.com has retained a tourism and hospitality marketing firm to promote expansion of its popular website to include tourism suppliers.

The hiring of Mills Marketing Group comes as internet traffic on BusRates.com climbed to record highs in March.

The motorcoach travel website drew 4,416 unique visitors on one day in March, the highest single-day total in the site’s history. Two other days last month ranked as having the second- and third-highest number of daily visitors with 4,088 and 4,082 visitors, respectively.

Two other days in March made the Top 10 list of highest number of daily visitors, making March the best month ever for BusRates.

Additionally, the site hit a single-day milestone with the highest number of requests for quotes received. RFQs were received from 221 group travel planners, resulting in a total of more than 1,000 quote requests being sent out from the site to motorcoach operators.

“We have been blown away this month with the increased site traffic and the number of RFQs coming in,” said Eric Elliott, program manager for BusRates.com.

“The site traffic has been growing by leaps and bounds and it seems that each week outperforms the week before. There’s obviously a need by group travel planners to find motorcoach operators for their trips and we are happy they have found BusRates.com to help them with their planning.”

Meanwhile, BusRates.com has hired Mills Marketing, led by hospitality industry veteran, Jeffrey Mills, to promote the site to tourism suppliers.

Mills’ background includes three years as vice president of sales at Atlanta’s DeKalb Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“Jeff brings invaluable knowledge and relationships within the hospitality and tourism industry and we are thrilled to have him working on behalf of BusRates.com,” said Elliott. “When our customers started looking for the group contacts for hotels, restaurants, and attractions, we set out to create a site that makes planning a complete motorcoach trip easier and less time consuming.

“We have done that now and with Jeff’s help, we will get the word out to tourism suppliers that BusRates.com is the place to be.”

Mills said that BusRates.com can help tourism industry suppliers gain immediate exposure to buyers and “that’s a very exciting message to be sharing.”