Knowing an effective, tactical PR strategy would be the most cost effective and strategic way to broadcast the Motorcoach Council’s mission, “to promote public awareness about the availability, selection, usage and benefits of motorcoach transportation,” the council recently retained Philadelphia-based public relations firm Barton Gilanelli & Associates Inc. (BGA), one of the agencies that has helped reposition the image of recreational vehicles throughout North America in its 20-year public relations linkage with the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).
Through this relationship, the Motorcoach Council hopes to similarly improve public perception of the motorcoach (sophisticated tour and charter buses used for conventions, shuttles, individual or group travel), expand the overall market and increase ridership nationwide, according to a news release. By collaborating with BGA, the Motorcoach Council should capture the attention of TV producers, magazine editors and travel writers at the highest levels of print and broadcast media.
BGA brings two highly successful communications professionals to the table, Frank Gilanelli and Ronni Barton. Gilanelli’s experience includes many markets, including the automotive, leisure and recreation sectors. Barton has a background as a broadcast newswriter, savvy media director, marketing communications director and political media consultant. BGA’s staff of 18 represents national corporations and associations across the country, with clients in California, Virginia, New Jersey and Washington, D.C. Their client roster includes but is not limited to Cal Spas, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Cricket Software, Panasonic and the RVIA. The latter client that appealed most to the Motorcoach Council, knowing several parallels exist between the PR challenges RVIA once faced and those currently felt by the motorcoach industry.
BGA has generated an extraordinary volume of positive media coverage for RVIA over the past 21 years, using an aggressive, proactive public relations strategy. As a result, the RV industry has enjoyed decades of media coverage in large-circulation publications such as Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report and Parade as well as every major newspaper, network morning show and evening news broadcast in the country. HGTV even airs an annual one-hour RV special, as a result of BGA’s ongoing public relations effort.
“I believe North Americans are ripe for change and looking for new travel solutions,” said Heather Horton, executive director of the Motorcoach Council. “The general public simply needs to be informed about the latest findings on the environmental benefits of motorcoach transportation and the luxury, comfort, convenience and value our coaches provide. Once realized, I believe we’ll see a significant shift in favor of our services, as we’re clearly the smarter, ‘greener choice’ for group travel.”Motorcoach
The changes the Motorcoach Council (a not-for-profit organization) hopes to make are generational. The media coverage generated through BGA is directed at the consumer, the end user of the products and services the motorcoach industry provides. The ultimate success of the campaign is not only dependent upon public perception and acceptance of motorcoach transportation, but on the support and synergy of the motorcoach industry’s vendors, suppliers, associations, operators and other key players (organizations whose livelihood depends on the motorcoach industry’s vitality). To get involved, industry members may visit www.MotorcoachCouncil.org/involved.
To learn more about the benefits of motorcoach travel and related statistics visit www.GoMotorcoach.org.