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Virtual Motorcoach p











{Tour of the U.S. }

America At Your Fingertips welcome aboard!

The Mesa Oasis Sonoran Desert playground

Van Hool Elegance

Flagship touring and charter vehicles

Virginia Beach Adventures Lift your spirits

Going Wild in New Orleans

Celebrating the “Wonders of Nature�

Introducing a brand new way to dive into the Virginia Beach experience. Designed for group travelers, Live the Life Adventures reveal the best of this unique place through hands-on, interactive involvement. With itineraries to lead the way through a range of interest-specific activities, each Adventure allows groups to be really involved – and rewarded. Visit for more information.

ures or all its own. These advent Virginia Beach has a loc al flav ng our fresh approach to livi take you right to the heart of or the mouth-watering fusion off the land and sea. You’ll sav the farm-raised produce that is of just-caught seafood and t, you tour the farmers marke heart of Coast al Cuisine, as it a farm or look on as an learn about organic foods, vis rket, your meal. Taste of the Ma accomplished chef prepares are Bay and Farm to Table Organics 10 1, Taste of the . satisfy a taste for adventure deliciously tempting ways to

Inspired by the beauty of our ocean views, Virginia Beach is a place where expression thrives. Experience vibra nt visual arts and lively stages in three adventures that explore your own creativity. Backstage Broadway and Behind the Curtain take you into the theatrical world of a profession al stage production to discover what goes on behind the scene s. The Great Create combines a gallery tour with a hands-on workshop in a visual adventure certain to bring out your group’s artistic nature.

The shores of Virginia Beach have long been home to brave sailors and airmen. We celebrate these heroes in three adventures that share the excitement of their explo its. The Sound of Freedom takes your group on a tour of a master jet base, home to today’s heroes. SwingTime in the Skies gives you a glimpse of an earlier era as you tour one of the largest collections of flying WWII Military Aircraft in the world. And the Surfman Chronicles brings you oceanfron t to meet the legendary rescuers of shipwrecks long ago. Prepa re to be amazed and humbled by their real-life adventures .

rolling Virginia Beach is so much more than soft sand and oceanfront waves – there’s a coast al environment beyond the you off the take just waiting to be explored. These adventures al beauty beaten path into a world of diverse terrain and natur Beach ri, that you’ll reach out and touch. Eco-Wildlife Safa through the Combing and Seasonal Harvest Tours take you a search on wilds of our most remote and pristine state park your group for nature’s treasures. Conservation Quest takes ia Virgin the behind the scenes with giant sea creatures at the nature Aquarium & Marine Science Center. Adventure for lover in us all.

Fresh salt air and long walks on the shore don’t lie – Virginia Beach is well-known as a relaxing place to visit. Provi ded through Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research and Enlightenment, these adventures deliver on that prom ise at a deeper level by revealing a new point of view. Your group will discover new insights through Unlocking Your Drea ms and Finding Your Purpose. The Cayce Exercises is a workshop centered on simple movements with multiple benefits. Holistic Health & Healing reveals the power of healthy thought and nutrition. And the Spa Escape offers pampering, restorative therapies to release tension and impro ve health. Every adventurer deserves a day of calm relaxation , especially when it has so much take-home value.






The Mesa Oasis


Getting there: Van Hool Elegance



A verdant playground for soughtafter outdoor recreation.


The European motorcoach experience attains a new level.




Adventures… Virginia Beach Style


From beaches to boardwalks, Virginia Beach specializes in lifting spirits.

T H E U . S





Going Wild in New Orleans The Audubon Nature Institute celebrates the “Wonders of Nature” in a big way.



future has arrived!


e’re very excited to have you with us for

ideas and new perspectives at your fingertips

the premiere issue of BUSRide’s newest

by including fully interactive presentations,

e-magazine, the Virtual Motorcoach Tour of the

embedded video, links to Web sites and more.

U.S.! We’re especially pleased to welcome our

Come with us on this digital page-turning

co-sponsors, ABC Companies and Van Hool

journey across America, as we explore the


getaways, attractions and destinations that truly

This fully interactive digital e-magazine is designed to interest, inform and engage you, our

welcome motorcoach travel. It is our sincere hope that this will inspire many other journeys to come.

loyal readers. We’ve put new technologies, new Welcome aboard.




Embraced by the Sonoran Desert, Mesa is surrounded by a rich, vibrant and verdant playground for sought-after outdoor recreation. Within minutes from our collection of resorts and hotels, guests can immerse themselves into a legendary landscape – a region full of intrigue and awe that continues to inspire and amaze our guests every day. Exploring the area’s scenic byways will weave motorcoaches along a interconnected region of lakes, calm rivers and majestic mountains and stunning canyons.




n Mesa, visitors can take advantage of the city’s close proximity the fifth largest forest in the United States, the Tonto National Forest. One of the mostvisited “urban” forests in the U.S., the forest service oversees all the Mesa-area lakes including Saguaro and Canyon lakes, and the lower Salt and Verde rivers. Groups love the serene setting at Saguaro Lake where there is more than 22 miles of cactus-studded shoreline to explore. Special discounts are offered to motorcoach tours there book the Desert Belle experience. This 143 passenger, two level vessel features two bathrooms, a snack bar and is fully air-conditioned for the guests comfort. The Desert Belle offers two 90-minute tours daily of Saguaro Lake with detailed narration on the Arizona wildlife, towering canyon walls, and dramatic desert vistas. TIP: Operators, take note that you can pack a lunch and bring it on board, or plan to have it catered. Desert Belle works with groups to make sure their food and beverage needs are met before they set sail.

like sunscreen, hats and water bottles. Unique features of the Nature Center at Usery Mountain include a desert loop trail that extends from the visitor center’s back patio – a site for numerous educational outreach programs; an outdoor amphitheater for scheduled lectures and programming; and a garden rooftop with 12 solar panels and native plant species that helps with insulation, retains rainwater, and reduces storm water runoff on the site.

The next stop in the area is to the Nature Center at Usery Mountain Regional Park. This is the newest offering for Mesa-bound visitors seeking answers about the Sonoran Desert. Guests will want to stop in before exploring the more than 3,600-acre park. Inside, rangers are on hand to guide guests into the wonders of the Sonoran Desert before taking in some unique programming – everything from stargazing sessions, group guided hikes and scorpion hunts, to edible cactus lessons and even yoga in the desert! Guests can purchase snacks and cold beverages, souvenirs and outdoor necessities

TIP: Discount entry fees apply for large groups that will want to take advantage of the open-air ramadas. There are more than 70 sites to choose from here and tour operators will want to inquire about tailored programs for their groups that can utilize their scenic outdoor amphitheatre and so much more! For more information on the scenic offerings in and surrounding Mesa, Arizona contact the Mesa Convention & Visitors Bureau at 480-827-4700 or online at Tour planners, be sure to ask for your complimentary 2011 Mesa Planner Guide & Kit.

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Basics Successful Tour of a

Ensure your passengers’ motorcoach experience is memorable, safe and successful with this basic operator checklist.

Remember, aside from ensuring the safety and security of your passengers, achieving a memorable customer experience is “Job #1!” 1. Encourage passengers Remind your customers to remember personal items - purses, wallets, cell phones, cameras, watches and cash - whenever they disembark. This can go a long way toward instilling the belief that you have their best interest at heart. 2. Preparation is Key A simple reminder to your travelers concerning local weather can also successfully win their confidence. Comments about properly preparing against or avoiding precipitation, too much sun or other local and environmental cautions can help passengers avoid getting sick while keeping the trip comfortable and safe. 3. Keep Track of Your Guests Nothing will unnerve travelers faster than delays. Keeping track of your passengers and offering gentle reminders to help them 8


keep an eye on time and each other is great way to insure the tour moves on schedule and without frustrating delays due to waiting for stragglers. This vigilance also helps keep everyone safe and accountable for each other. Also, stressing the importance of sticking together for the sake of personal safety can help avoid any unexpected confusion, lost party members or delays cutting into travel schedules.

4. Is Your Paperwork in Order? It’s always a good idea to keep all operational documents in order and handy; current vehicle inspections, documents such as a certificate of insurance, your Department of Transportation (DoT) or your Department of Defense (DoD) safety rating. This not only satisfies the curiosity of inquisitive travelers, but this can also spike the level of confidence of passengers who were unaware of such documentation. What about insurance paperwork – for the vehicle and for operating a tour? Study maps, know the route and get directions before the trip begins so that passengers aren’t delayed in reaching their destination. 5. Is Their Paperwork in Order? Remind travelers that important documents such as a driver’s license, passports, ticket confirmations, boarding passes and travel itineraries should be scanned and stored via web-based email. Should these critically important items get lost or stolen, webaccess email is an excellent way to retrieve these items quickly. 6. Let Them Know You Care Your motorcoach operator is a key participant in communicating with your customers and making them feel special. Informing customers that they matter goes a long, long way toward shoring up customer confidence and sets the stage for potential repeat business. Even little things like helping customers disembark, wishing passengers a good time or asking the group if everyone is accounted for, shows compassion and dedication that translates to good business no matter how you look at it. 7. A Little TLC Your customers want to be catered to. Sharing helpful travel tips and suggestions that can make their trip even more enjoyable is good practice. Most coaches today are equipped with monitors for viewing movies on long rides. Engaging the entertainment system often distracts otherwise chatty, anxious or nervous passengers, creating an environment that contains minimal disruption. Also, announcing the itinerary and upcoming rest stops over the PA systems reinforces to your customers the destination(s), estimated arrival time(s) and any updates or necessary schedule changes. Know what your passengers prefer: Get a read on the group before embarking. Some may not need to be entertained or talked to constantly; others may think a quiet driver is a safe driver; still others may view the driver as a tour guide. Drivers need to know the difference and respond accordingly. 8. Safety First In the motorcoach business, passenger safety is a number one priority. There should not be prohibitions against passengers moving from seat to seat, to the lavatory or through the aisles. Make them aware, however, of the federally mandated need to remain behind the white or yellow line marked on the floor in the

aisle behind the driver. Caution passengers to remain in their seats whenever possible. Reminding them that coach lavatories are equipped and designed for the comfort of the group and to handle passenger emergencies and not designed for regular usage. Remind guests that your itinerary more than likely will have scheduled rest stops about every two (2) hours, it is best to keep the coach lavatory for emergency use only. 9. Remembering the Basics of Safe Driving During the course of your tour, it is easy to get caught up in the rush and excitement your passengers experience. Even the most experienced motorcoach veterans could use a gentle reminder from time-to-time about staying vigilant when it comes to the rules of the road. Maintaining a reasonable following distance, staying aware of your vehicle’s blind spots, mirror adjustments and tailgaters, etc. 10. Customers With Disabilities The Americans with Disabilities Act guarantees people with disabilities an equal opportunity to take part in our society. So when serving customers who utilize wheelchairs, communication is key. Project yourself as a friendly and accessible professional. Make yourself approachable and speak softly with confidence: • Ask customers how you can assist them. •R  emember wheelchairs, walkers, canes, and other mobility devices are part of the customer’s personal space. Do not hold or lean on these items without the customer’s permission. • Your customers should be allowed to travel with their mobility aids if they wish to do so. • If a wheelchair must be stored in the baggage compartment, the driver or another motorcoach employee must assist with storing or retrieving it. • If you need to operate or store mobility aids, make no assumptions; ask the customer how best to do so. • Be sure you are aware of your company’s policy regarding the securing of passenger wheelchairs. If the passenger wishes a wheelchair be secured, the operator must provide assistance. Keeping the motorcoach travel experience a positive one isn’t difficult, just be mindful that you are part of their overall experience. Your mood, attitude and attentiveness are key factors that help contribute to your customers’ overall experience. It’s your opportunity to make an incredible, lasting impression as a member of a caring and knowledgeable organization that offers comfort delivered with style and professionalism. Take note; these tips can be the catalyst for building your reputation, happy customers and repeat business.



Delivering European Style and Global Technology to Tour & Charter Operators

Worldwide. As one of the world’s largest independent manufacturers of buses and motorcoaches, Van Hool NV offers American operators a wide range of quality engineered motorcoach models. Renown in the U.S. for their flagship touring and charter vehicles, Van Hool has been exclusively distributed through ABC Companies in the North American market. 10


This enduring partnership has given operators access to a host of evolving product innovations unique to Van Hool coaches including the Van Hool T2145 highline touring coach, the VanHool C2045 premier passenger charter/commuter coach and the high-capacity, eco-engineered Van Hool TD925 double deck. For overthe-road trips, intercity and commuter lines, charters and more, Van Hool offers tour and charter operators an array of design, engineering and safety features that are designed to maximize curb appeal, drivability and the passenger experience. Featuring sweeping body side lines that soften sharp corners and invite free-flowing graphic design, the continuous body style integrates bezel-design projector beam headlights for easy-open service and longlasting LED lower side turning lights and LED front and rear fenders lights. The passenger entrance door and driver’s window maximize driver visibility and provide easy passenger access and blend seamlessly with the coach’s swept-design body theme. Optional stainless steel window accents also add a modern, stylish coach accent. Onboard, passengers will enjoy a memorable travel experience via a range of amenities designed for comfort, safety, and leisure entertainment. Durable and comfortable seating offers 3-point seat belts and footrests, plus contoured parcel racks with 22” LCD monitors, 110V outlets, integrated HVAC climate control, Eurostyled reading LED light modules, driver call buttons and more. And, exciting options such as end-to-end glass top roofs, wood-grain vinyl flooring, blue LED accent lighting and reclining Van Hool Bodyline seats with leather headrest and 3-point seat belts enable operators to maximize the on-board experience. The following state-of-the-art safety features are also available as options on all three Van Hool models. Designed to improve driver operations and passenger safety, popular features include Electronic Stability Control (ESC) to increase protection against rollover, skidding and spinning; Hella DynaView® Headlight System to increase nighttime illumination, side views during turns and improve visibility to oncoming traffic; Iteris Lane Departure Warning System designed to address inadvertent lane changes, sideswipe or run-off-road accidents; and the Smartire Smartwave Tire Pressure Monitoring System which can alert drivers when adverse wheel and tire issues arise. Of course, new 2011 models will see the introduction of 2011 emission standards and offer a diversity of technical and maintenance-friendly features to meet the specific requirements of each operator. For every tour and charter destination, Van Hool engineers and builds a motorcoach solution that consistently delivers comfort, reliability, luxury and the distinctive pizzazz that makes passenger transport unforgettably Van Hool!



ADVENTURES Virginia Beach Style

Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia Beach specializes in spirit-lifting. Like exploring miles of beach and boardwalk, nature and adventure. The joy of shopping for that perfect find, getting nose-to-fin with marine life, reveling at an outdoor crab feast or just walking the shoreline. 12


Here, waves meet the shore along 35 miles of ocean and bay beaches, for what Guinness calls “The World’s Largest Pleasure Beach.” Pleasure that includes a three-mile boardwalk with a park-like atmosphere and vibrant activity that maintains its appeal even when the summery scent of coconut oil is just a memory. Pleasure that reaches into the wilds of our inland waterways and nature preserves, and out on the open sea where humpback whales make their way through our waters. Pleasure that finds its way into the flavors of our fresh coastal cuisine, and the stages of local theaters and art galleries. Pleasure that echoes through sites rich with the past, and in the pride of the region’s military history. New for 2011 - Live the Life Adventures: Introducing a brand new way to dive into the Virginia Beach experience. Designed just for group travelers, Live the Life Adventures reveal the best of this unique place through hands-on, interactive involvement. With itineraries to lead the way through a range of interestspecific activities, each adventure allows groups to be really involved and rewarded. Much more than just a tour, this is an invitation to experience what makes life here in Virginia Beach so irresistible. Our new themed experiences allow your group to experience Virginia Beach in new ways, and even if you have been to Virginia Beach before, the attractions now offer an exciting new opportunity for groups. Each experience has been designed to engage and immerse each visitor in a variety of new and different ways, and you can select your adventure by theme and interest.

Themed Categories include: Culinary & Agriculture Tours, Arts & Culture Tours, Military & History Tours, Outdoor & Eco-Adventures, Mind + Body + Soul Experiences, and Quintessential Beach Life Adventures. Within each theme, there are five adventures for groups to choose from and focus on a specific aspect of Virginia Beach. You can focus on one category and really get into one area that is of interest to your group, or you can mix and match them. The categories allow you to create day trips, overnights or multi-day itineraries for visiting Virginia Beach that relate to the individual themed categories. Regardless of the time of year or size of the group, Virginia Beach has a full itinerary for any group adventure. For customized itineraries, please call the Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau for personal assistance at 1-800-700-7702. Local receptive operators will also be happy to help you plan your tours and provide a step-on guide to tell interesting stories about the area.



Audubon Insectarium


Wild in

New Orleans


udubon Nature Institute is a private, not-for-profit organization with a collection of world-class family attractions dedicated to “Celebrating the Wonders of Nature.” More than three million people each year visit Audubon Nature Institute’s facilities. Audubon Nature Institute operates a total of ten facilities and parks, most located along the historic Mississippi Riverfront in New Orleans, Louisiana. The tenth facility, Audubon Insectarium, was the first major attraction to have opened in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is located along the banks of the Mississippi River in the historic French Quarter. Ranked as one of the top five aquariums in the US, a visit to Audubon Aquarium of the Americas spans the underwater world from the Caribbean, to the Amazon Rainforest to the waters that give New Orleans its lifeblood: the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico. Entergy IMAX® Theatre, located next door to Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, features a spectacular flat screen, single projection, IMAX® 3D and high definition capabilities. IMAX® is the finest motion picture system in the world. One of the country’s consistently topranked zoos, Audubon Zoo entertains 14

Our male Lowland Gorilla named Casey visitors with the excitement of animals from around the world and the serenity of colorful gardens. Through innovative natural habitat exhibitry and an animal collection ranging from the uniquely extraordinary white alligators to the majestic white tigers, Audubon Zoo has become one of the Gulf


South’s favorite family gathering spots. Audubon Insectarium, located in the U.S. Custom House on Canal Street, encourages you to use all five senses as you explore North America’s largest museum devoted to insects and their relatives. You’ll discover why insects are the building blocks of all life on our planet in our newest one-of-a-kind attraction. Thousands of live and preserved specimens illustrate the vast diversity of shape, size and color of Earth’s largest group of animals. Audubon Nature Institute welcomes student, youth, adult and senior groups. Discounted rates are available for groups of 10 or more making a reservation in advance. Motor coaches are welcome at all Audubon attractions and drivers are offered a complimentary visit. Complimentary bus parking is always available at Audubon Zoo, which is located at 6500 Magazine Street. Off site, prepaid parking is available by permit for buses bringing reserved Audubon groups to our downtown facilities (Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Entergy IMAX® Theatre and Audubon Insectarium). Or drivers may choose to park at Audubon Zoo. Contact the Group Sales Department at 1-800-774-7394 or 504-581-4629 for visitor and parking information as well as to purchase a parking permit.

Four Attractions. Countless Possibilities. In New Orleans.

The Audubon Experience Package gives you access to all four award-winning Audubon attractions. Visit anytime over five days for a New Orleans adventure you’ll always remember.

Audubon Zoo Audubon Aquarium of the Americas Entergy IMAX® Theatre Audubon Insectarium

Contact Group Sales for information/reservations 1-800-774-7394 or 504-581-4629 Email: Online: www. Follow us on:

The Audubon Experience Package includes entry to: • Audubon Zoo Named a “must see attraction”–Frommer’s • Audubon Insectarium “A top museum for you and your kids”– • Audubon Aquarium of the Americas “Most Popular Attraction in New Orleans”–Zagat • Entergy IMAX® Theatre 3D and 2D adventures!

New Orleans, LA





Virtual Motorcoach  
Virtual Motorcoach  

BUSRide Magazine and ABC Companies presents the Virtual Tour of the U.S. Welcome aboard! America At Your Fingertips!