January 16, 2012 | Issue #114
From the moment the lights went up on the opening ceremonies, it was clear that Marketplace 2012 was out to prove the old adage that everything is bigger in Texas.
"I've never seen a show quite like that," said one stunned delegate, referring to elements of Texas the Musical that were part of the opening ceremonies, including stampeding horses and a human torch.
And indeed, the rest of the show proved to be just as eventful.
Over 3,300 ABA member motorcoach and travel industry professionals swarmed the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas to take part in the five day show. The delegates attended business- making networking appointments, educational seminars, fantastic evening events, including one on the field of Cowboys Stadium, and took in performances from world-class acts like Phil Vassar, The Best of Broadway and top performances from Branson entertainers.
"This was a fantastic show in a fantastic city," said Marketplace 2012 Chairman, Steve Haddad. "It would not have been possible without the help of the talented folks at the Grapevine CVB and Team Texas!"
Marketplace has long been the premier business event for the group travel industry. The core of the show are the appointments where buyers, who are bus owners and tour operators, come to meet with sellers, who are travel industry representatives from destination marketing organizations (cities, areas, states), attractions, restaurants, receptive operators, hotels, and associate service suppliers. More than 100,000 business sessions allowed buyers and sellers to plan trip itineraries for motorcoach group travel throughout the United States and Canada
Although the core elements of the show remained largely unchanged from previous years, ABA added some tweaks to Marketplace 2012 to increase the delegates' return on investment. This included a move to an open business floor, which gave delegates a great opportunity to pick up more appointments, and the addition of the MarketTalk Area, where delegates attended receptions and educational seminars a few steps away from their booths.
"I spoke with hundreds of delegates during the course of the show, and the feedback I got on the changes we made to Marketplace 2012 was all positive," said ABA President and CEO Peter Pantuso.
"This show gave us a lot of momentum going into Charlotte in 2013," he added.
Marketplace delegates also took the time to give back to the community that hosted them. Collectively they raised over $33,000 for the Grapevine Relief and Community Exchange, a local nonprofit that gives emergency relief to families in need.
Next year Marketplace heads to Charlotte, N.C., and in 2014 the show will be in Nashville, TN.
A panel of representatives from Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) held two listening sessions at Marketplace 2012 to gather information, concepts and ideas from the motorcoach industry relating to hours-of-service (HOS) requirements for drivers of passenger-carrying vehicles.
FMCSA held the session as part of its research for a new HOS rule for motorcoach drivers, which the agency will craft over the next year.
Over 120 people attended the session in person, including representatives of operators from around the country and members of the ABA staff.
The operators in attendance had a unified message for FMCSA: remember our industry's diversity and increase enforcement.
"In our industry, not only do you have big and small companies. But you have line run, charter and tour, commuter shuttle airport shuttle and special events," said ABA Board member and Capitol Bus Lines. "You're trying to come up with one rule that will fit us all, and that's a daunting task."
Clyde Hart, ABA's Senior Vice President for Government Affairs and Policy, was one of the many speakers who reminded the panel that changes to HOS regulations will have little impact if they fail to increase enforcement of those regulations on illegal and unsafe operators.
"One other issue that ABA believes FMCSA must examine is the need to enforce present FMCSA hours of service regulations on motorcoach operations and operators," Hart said. " ABA's analysis of the last two decades of fatal motorcoach crashes has revealed that more than fifty percent of all fatalities involved unsafe or illegal motorcoach operators."
Click here to view the listening sessions in their entirety
Members of the American Bus Association collectively donated or pledged $33,000 to the Grapevine Relief and Community Exchange (GRACE) as part of the Grapevine 2011 “Marketplace Gives Back” program.
GRACE is a Grapevine, Texas based non-profit relief agency which provides food, clothing, financial assistance, and other vital necessities to people who are struggling with a limited income or recent emergency.
Fundraising events for GRACE at Marketplace 2012 included a reception at Cowboy’s Stadium, a clothing sale and a silent auction.
Since 2007, ABA has made it a priority to give back to the Marketplace host region community by selecting a charitable cause from that region. In six years, Marketplace Gives Back has raised a total of nearly $175,000 for these charities.
Past recipients of “Marketplace Gives Back” funds include Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (Philadelphia 2011) the Yellow Ribbon Fund (Capital Region 2010), Carolina Breast Friends (Charlotte 2009), the American Cancer Society (Virginia Beach 2008), and the Joey Wilkins Foundation (Grapevine 2007)
Click here to make a donation to GRACE.
Over 100 of the motorcoach industry’s leading safety, maintenance and human relations experts participated in the winter meeting of the Bus Industry Safety Council at Marketplace 2012.
The two-day meeting kicked off with a presentation on bus safety from Deborah A.P. Hersoman, Chair of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB.) Chairman Hersman focused her remarks on detailing several NTSB recommendations for improving bus safety, and explaining why the agency thought they were necessary.
She concluded her presentation by imploring the operators in attendance to stand up to their customers when the push companies to violate safety regulations. “You have to know where the line is,” Hersman said. “If a customer is pushing for an all-night run that violates your hours-of-service practices, you have to tell them no.”
The Winter BISC meeting was also the site of the first-ever Driver Wellness Industry Panel, which was cosponsored by BISC, ABA and the American Trucking Associations. During the discussion, BISC members listened to representatives from the medical, insurance and transportation industries explain safety and cost benefits of implementing an effective driver wellness program.
BISC members wrapped up their meeting by breaking into their subcommittees, where they discussed topics as varied as Security Grant Guidelines to the operational implications of NHTSA regulations.
“This was a fantastic meeting, and I want to thank Chairman Hersman for joining us,” said BISC Executive Director, Norm Littler. “We are still looking to grow. So I invite anyone interested in bus safety, security or maintenance to join us for our next meeting , which will be held in June 2012 outside of Washington, D.C.
Click here for more info on the BISC, including a membership application.
Over fifty people participated in the first-ever meeting of "Women in Buses" at Marketplace 2012.
Women in Buses is part of an ABA initiative to bring together female owners and general managers of bus companies to discuss what challenges they face and find out what services ABA can offer women in the industry.
To launch the new group, ABA held an evening reception where the National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman was the keynote speaker.
The next morning, the group met for a roundtable discussion about a variety of topics including: safety and standards; women in leadership within companies and associations; manufacturers' treatment of women; mentoring and support and female driver statistics.
In the coming months, ABA will hold a follow up conference call and schedule another meeting.
Contact Vicki Osman at email@example.com for more information or if you are interested in joining.
Delegates to Marketplace 2012 contributed over $120,000 to the ABA Foundation during four separate fundraising events. All of the proceeds will go to support the Foundation's scholarship and research programs.
The most energetic of the Foundation's supporters woke up early to participate in four different Zumba fitness classes, sponsored by IMG and the Student Youth Travel Association.
Blue Man Group and Wet n' Wild, Orlando, Florida sponsored the live and silent auctions where delegates bid on fantastic items like motorcoaches from ABC Companies, Glaval and Anderson Coach and Travel and a guitar signed by every member of U2.
To cap off the week, delegates flooded the Hard Rock Café in downtown Dallas to party the night away in support of the Foundation.
"I want to thank everyone who participated in an ABAF event and all of our generous donors," said Doug Anderson, Chairman of the ABA Foundation. "I especially want to thank Blue Man Group, Hard Rock International, ABC Companies, Motor Coach Industries, ZF Services, IHG and Wet n' Wild, Orlando, Florida. Without their support, the Foundation would not be the strong institution it is today"
If you would like to help support the ABAF by becoming a sponsor at Marketplace 2012 or by making a contribution please contact Daniel at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 218-7214.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a cease and desist order against Double Happyness Travel last week, after finding that the company was operating and selling tickets in violation of a previous agency order to shut down.
On Dec 23, 2011, FMCSA ordered Double Happyness to immediately cease all intrastate and interstate passenger service declaring the carrier an "imminent hazard" to public safety. The imminent hazard order followed an extensive review of the company's operations, which found multiple hours-of-service, vehicle maintenance, and controlled substance and alcohol testing violations.
In a written statement, FMCSA warned that f Double Happyness continues to operate illegally "the company will face additional enforcement action."
"FMCSA will continue to do everything within its current legal authority to remove unsafe bus operators like this one from our roadways," said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro.
The 2012 BusCon planning committee is working on the conference schedule and is looking for your input and ideas! We invite interested parties to submit papers for consideration of speaking opportunities at the 2012 event to be held from September 11-12 at the Navy Pier in Chicago, IL.
Presentations must be completely unbiased and brand/product neutral and provide solid, take-away value for attendees. Abstracts 1-2 pages in length should be submitted to conference organizers no later than March 30th, 2012. Your submission should include:
* An abstract of 100-200 words including at title of the suggested presentation
* A brief biography of the presenter or each panel member (50-100 words)
* Presenter contact information
To submit a paper, please email the conference manager, Adriana Michaels, at email@example.com. Official notification of paper acceptance or rejection will be sent via email.
Looking for a specific issue of Marketplace Today or a photo taken by one of ABA's photographers during the show? Don't worry. ABA has you covered!
All four issues of Marketplace Today from this year's show, as well all official pictures taken by our photographers will be posted here. Take a look to relive the excitement!
New Members- Print and Add to your 2011 ABA Motorcoach Marketer
Lock Media Services Inc.
Rolling Strong LLC
Turley & Co.
Utah Office of Tourism
The following Tour Operator has submitted an application for membership between December 20, 2011 through January 15, 2012 and has met all membership requirements. They are currently in the mandatory 30 Day period for member comments. Should members have comments regarding this application, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
E.E. Tours Inc.