Three days infused with knowledge and positivity! With many motorcoach companies still in a holding pattern due to the pandemic, the United Motorcoach Association (UMA) shifted into overdrive to help arm members with all the information needed to jump right back into business safely when travel resumes. Over three days between June 17 and 19, UMA hosted its Bus & Motorcoach Industry Virtual Summit: Ready. Aim. RESTART with daily sessions taught by dynamic speakers who focused on HR/employee best practices, sales, marketing, and financial issues. Participants were also offered a daily “tool kit” of resources that reinforced the sessions’ takeaways and created additional learning opportunities. As a bonus, registration included a complementary pass to LinkedIn Learning, which features thousands of online classes on everything from body language to social media.
The program, hosted by UMA President & CEO Larry Killingsworth and VP & COO Ken Presley, was designed to provide a combination of expert presentations, panel discussions, and breakout sessions. To ensure that operators are staying motivated and on the right track through the phases of recovery, there will be follow-up meetings held four, eight, and 12 weeks after the Summit.
The Summit was sponsored by Lancer Insurance, Spader Business Management, PAX Training, and Rellevate. Killingsworth also thanked ABC Companies, MCI, Prevost, and TEMSA for their support.
After a welcome message from Killingsworth and Presley, day one kicked off with a rousing keynote—Building a RESTART Mindset—from entrepreneur and motivational speaker Joe Calhoon, who challenged participants to consider their ideal future by “deciding to climb, camp, or quit—all acceptable options” depending on their circumstances. For those soldering on, he helped them explore the four dimensions of the adversity quotient. In the second hour, frequent UMA guest speaker Jim McCann of Spader Business Management focused on how companies can pivot in these changing times with his session Building Your Plan, Part I: We Were Doing Great … Until We Weren’t. Moving beyond the record year that many companies had in 2019, he offered his advice for “right-sizing” business and emerging in a strong position once travel moves again.
The second day began with another session from McCann, Building Your Plan, Part II: Creating Your Roadmap to Return to Profitability, which built on his seminar from Wednesday. McCann explored all aspects of operation with the 4 Quadrants of Total Success, including staff, company culture, customer loyalty, and management.
Next, sales training veteran Jim Pancero motivated participants to think differently about securing customers in How to Increase Your Sales (and Competitive Advantage) in Today’s Virus-Impacted World. He noted that the pandemic has hastened one of the largest cultural shifts in the past 50 years, and that all industries have been affected. He offered his ideas on improving messaging, marketing, and attitude.
In the final hour of the day, James Blain and Bruce Heinrich of PAX Training shifted the conversation to employees with their session Building the Right Team to Deliver an Experience, Not Just Passengers. With so many valuable employees on furlough, the PAX duo offered ways to keep staff engaged, set new expectations to meet novel challenges, and how to train for success as they return to work. Heinrich and Blain also spoke at the 2020 CD/NLA Show in Las Vegas this past February.
The last day launched with a panel discussion that included Alan Robinson of R&W Motorcoach, Ginny Orr of Golden West Travel, and Elizabeth Kamalakis of Coachlight Tours. In this session, Pulling It All Together: Finalizing Your RESTART Roadmap, the panelists offered an honest and often emotional take on what they are doing to prepare to relaunch their business as well as their very real frustrations and trepidations about the impact of the pandemic. Despite the frank conversation, the panel offered their optimism and renewed hope.
UMA didn’t let the virtual nature of the Summit get in the way of networking as breakout sessions and a final networking session between participants promoted dialogue about what they had learned and what their strongest takeaways were from the numerous sessions.
To wrap things up, Calhoon (who opened the Summit) joined Killingsworth and Presley to give their final thoughts and motivated operators with some much-need optimism as we all embrace the uncertainty and use this time to emerge stronger as an industry.
Visit uma.org/summit for more information. Follow-up sessions will be held on July 15, August 12, and September 9, and is included in the initial registration cost.