Wake-up call to the coach sector from McCarron Coates

McCarron Coates is offering the industry some tough love in the form of a consumer survey.

The coach insurance broker has commissioned a consumer research survey, which it says suggests the coach sector needs to act fast, change its thinking and marketing strategies and align itself with what the current customer wants, if it is to survive. The survey of 1,500 adults largely highlighted that the coach industry is out of touch with potential customers in the UK. McCarron Coates initially viewed the results as ‘deeply depressing’, but has analysed the responses to questions about coach travel undertaken for all types of reasons and has turned things on their head, by suggesting strategies that coach operators need to adopt.

The publication, ‘You’re Just Not Selling it to Me’, takes the statistics that relate to the consumer survey that McCarron Coates commissioned and presents what British consumers really think about coach travel.

“It was clear to us that coach operators should not shy away from what was most definitely a total disconnect between the British public and coach travel” – McCarron Coates director, Paul Coates

McCarron Coates director, Paul Coates, said: “It was clear to us that coach operators should not shy away from what was most definitely a total disconnect between the British public and coach travel, but embrace the negativity and act fast, to turn things around. Having supported the sector so strongly during Covid, and in-person at events such as Coach Week rallies, we potentially view what we have produced for the coach industry now, hard as it may be to swallow for some, as our biggest contribution to the sector’s survival.”

As well as presenting its negative points, the report shows a few positives too, highlighting what coach operators need to do now if they are aiming for a long-term future.

“Our publication has to be a wake-up call for the coach sector” – Ian McCarron, director at McCarron Coates

“We debated whether we should hide these findings, but decided that the best thing is to use them as a vehicle for change,” says Ian McCarron, director at McCarron Coates. “Our publication has to be a wake-up call for the coach sector. The sector is at a cliff-edge, if our findings are to be believed, so needs to reposition itself, stop presenting the same type of programme year after year and shake up its offering. The pandemic was clearly a threat, but consumer apathy is a bigger one and that’s what the sector needs to address.”

McCarron Coates points to possible ‘quick wins’ for the coach sector in summer 2022, capitalising on train strikes, flight cancellations, airport delays and the fuel crisis. It highlights many areas in which operators need to do more and switch-up their thinking. It also urges coach operators to visit their own websites with fresh eyes and assess whether they provide enough information to customers, whilst considering how their presentation and imagery might be perceived. Above all, it insists that the coach sector needs to act and act now.

Paul Coates said: “As coach insurance brokers, we have a vested interest in seeing the coach sector thrive but, on the basis of the information we have acquired, its days are numbered. Many sectors go through decline but also enjoy a rebirth, because they reinvent themselves. Our message to coach operators is to start that reinvention process today.”

  • To download a copy of ‘You’re Just Not Selling it to Me’, head to the news section of www.mccarroncoates.com

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