The fifth annual CoachMarque Best Practice Conference took place over the second weekend in January. Manchester Airport’s Hilton Hotel was the venue this time seeing 24 CoachMarque member companies represented along with suppliers and guests. As has been the custom, the weekend event started off with dinner and drinks (sponsored by Plaxton) on the Sunday evening, providing all delegates with the opportunity to break the ice and chat with those of like mind in a relaxed atmosphere.
Many anecdotes were exchanged and the rights and wrongs of the coach industry were debated in jovial fashion. Coach operators shared ideas and mixed with various suppliers to the industry over an excellent three course meal.
Fun over, and a relaxing night’s sleep in the excellent rooms in this hotel, Monday was down to business. The CoachMarque Management Committee and its chairman Mark Anderson have been working over recent months to put together a day of carefully selected speakers and an afternoon with a slightly more ‘hands on’ format.
Mark Anderson of Anderson Travel and Chairman of CoachMarque Management Committee Introduces the Conference.
There was a presentation by way of an update to membership on the Global Passenger Network (GPN). This was given by Madrid based Raquel Morcillo, the executive at the heart of this international organisation which brings together an ever expanding list of coach companies and CoachMarque ‘type’ organisations with a view to increase business flows between nations and member coach operators. CoachMarque is the UK face of GPN with members also sitting on some GPN committees. Most of Europe is in GPN in addition to the USA, Canada, South Africa, Russia and Egypt. Members meet in a different country every six months, hosted by that country’s GPN member company.
Raquel reminded all CoachMarque members that by extension of their CoachMarque membership, they are also members of GPN and are in position to receive the benefits of belonging to such a large organisation. These include the luxury of having a single point of contact and breakdown support in each member country. She played the latest GPN marketing video outlining its key objectives. The ‘quality’ ethos is very much in line with that of CoachMarque. Raquel also pointed out that 24% of all requests through the GPN website are from the UK.