Advice for Booking Reliable Corporate Coach Hire
5 Mar 2021
Making bookings for a business trip can be stressful, especially when you need to arrange for a whole range of itineraries. Often, one of the easiest things to overlook is the travel provider - with cost usually making up the overarching decision on which company you decide to arrange your transport booking with.
Corporate travel, particularly by coach, needs to feel like luxury; comfortable, clean, and happen without any hiccups if you are to arrive feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day ahead. Finding a corporate coach hire company that is friendly, professional, and most importantly - reliable - is critical for smooth business travel.
When choosing a travel operator to book your corporate travel with, there are many considerations to make, including their safety procedures, affordability, and reputation. But when you have limited knowledge or the coaching industry standards, or even the local area where you may be making your booking, it’s hard to know if you’re getting a trusted service.
If you're arranging travel for an upcoming corporate event. take a look at our advice to help you find some of the best coach companies in the UK, and ensure your travel needs are met with precision and care.
Research the local area
When it comes to booking executive coach travel, you should start by researching the companies in your local area to keep costs to a minimum.
Pricing quotes are largely based on travel distance and the amount of fuel needed for the trip - this includes the journey from the depot to your pick-up location(s). If you choose a local company for your corporate travel, this will significantly reduce any extra fees.
If you’re not sure which local companies exist out there, then of course the most obvious place to start looking is the internet. But with many traditional coach companies not prioritising a digital presence, it’s also worth asking around your local contacts to see if they have used any reputable firms in the past.
You should also consider spending some time researching llocal bus companies which you may see doing local service and school runs. Some of these companies may also offer corporate bus hire services alongside their other duties, so it’s always worth taking a look.
When it comes to looking for quotes, it’s also worth asking for two: one which looks at the cost of picking up everyone from one location, and one which looks at doing multiple pick-ups along the way. Although this may mean your colleagues and employees may need to travel into work that little bit earlier, this could significantly reduce your costs.
See if they are members of The Guild of British Coach Operators
The Guild of British Coach Operators is one of the most acclaimed memberships a coach company can have. According to their website:
"The Guild of British Coach Operators is an association of top quality coach companies dedicated to providing our customers with a first class service. The member companies provide luxury coaches for charter throughout Britain and Europe and offer comprehensive travel management services.”
Ultimately, the Guild exists to highlight and share details about some of the best coach companies in the UK. All the member companies are required to meet a rigorous set of quality standards and abide by their Charter. This is in addition to complying with all the usual regulatory rules for safe operations, as well as holding a full license from the UK Government's Department for Transport - which includes the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency and the Traffic Commissioners.
You can check to see if the company you are interested in booking is listed on their website as a member. Alternatively, you can also check the individual coach company’s website to see if they display any official accreditation badges.
Check for CoachMarque Accreditation
If the company you’re interested in booking with isn’t listed on The Guild of British Coach Operators, you could check to see if they are accredited by CoachMarque.
CoachMarque is the only recognised accreditation for coach travel in the UK. All members who hold accreditation have been through a rigorous independent audit, to ensure they comply with the very highest standards of safety, customer service, and operating procedures. These checks include everything from ensuring there is a designated health and safety appointee within the company, to checking that all drivers wear full company uniforms.
Check the website prior to enquiring
Before contacting any potential private hire coach companies, always take a moment to browse through their website, especially if you’ve been referred to a travel operator from a contact.
Websites are essential in helping you gauge the validity of a company. Think of them like a virtual shop window into who they are and what they stand for. Do they offer information on the people who work for the brand? Share any insight into the causes they support? Can you read previous customer testimonials?
Look for pages which contain information and images of their coaches, so you can check the condition, cleanliness, and style of the transport you’re looking to book. Most executive coach travel companies should have detailed information about their vehicles, including internal and exterior shots of their buses. If you can’t find any, you could always contact them and ask for them to send some images over.
Always spend a few moments browsing the site to see if you can find any members of the team. This will help give you an impression of what company culture is like, and whether the faces behind the brand appear trustworthy and friendly.
You can also check for any certifications, official memberships, or badges they have been awarded - again, to help reassure you of their reliability to deliver the serve they promise.
Ask about back-up procedures
Now, we know this isn’t something you want to think about. But sometimes, things can go wrong on the day. That’s why it’s paramount that you know what back-up procedures will be in place should any eventualities occur.
For example, if your driver is sick on the day, will there be another one on standby to cover your trip? Or, what are their procedures for the eventuality that they could break down or get stuck in traffic on their way to pick you up?
Don’t be afrard to ask the customer service team when submitting your enquiry. If they are a reliable firm, they’ll have a standard set of procedures in place, and will be happy to give these to you in writing prior to the date of your booking.
Always read reviews
As with any significant purchase you make in life, you should always check and read reviews to make sure the company you’re looking to book your corporate coach hire with is a reputable one.
Searching for reviews can take just a few minutes, and can really help you to decide which coach companies are worth booking your business travel with. In the first instance, you can try searching for the company on Facebook and look to see if anyone has left reviews on their page. Alternatively, you can try looking on their Google My Business profile, Trustpilot, page, or any other review sites for testimonials and comments left from previous customers.
Don’t forget to give their social media profiles a full scan. Some previous customers will leave comments about their experience on the page’s feed posts, which often get lost in the noise of regular postings.
Sometimes it can be difficult to find anything about a company. In this case, it may be a warning sign that the coach company has removed their reviews pages because of previous bad press. Or, it could simply mean that they’re new to the web and haven’t yet got themselves established. Your gut will reassure you in this instance.
Arrange a visit to the depot
If you need reassurances about the type of vehicle or amenities you may need with your corporate bus hire, you may be able to arrange a visit to the company’s depot. Should you have any worries about the standards or physicalities of the vehicle you’re due to be travelling with, going to view the vehicle yourself will help to give you peace of mind.
Of course, at the moment, this visit may need to be conducted virtually, through video-call or another means of communication. And, it’s also completely down the coach company if a visit is possible. Bus and coach depots have strict procedures in place to ensure everyone’s safety. If your company’s depot is particularly busy, the company may try to limit external visitors for safety reasons. Even if this is the case, it’s still worth asking in the first place to see what they can offer to alleviate your concerns.
Make sure you monitor all communications with the coach company; from initial enquiry right up to the day of your booking. If the company is to be trustworthy - and by now, you’ve probably found that they are - they should openly communicate with you and address any queries you have with written confirmation.
In the run-up to your travel date, should you have any questions about your travel, you want them to be answered efficiently, while providing all the information you requested. Make sure you also have an out of hours contact for the day of your booking, just in case something does not go according to planned. It’s just another way you can gain peace of mind, and know you will receive the type of service you expect.
Booking Safe & Reliable Corporate Coach Hire
Looking to hire a coach for a corporate event? Our priority is providing reliable, comfortable and executive coach hire services to businesses and organisations all across Cambridgeshire and beyond. With over 60 years’ experience in the coach and bus industry, we are experienced in offering quality, timely corporate coach hire for all our clients.
Contact us to discuss your corporate travel enquiry - our friendly customer liaison team are here to meet your business travel needs.