How do you change the public's perception?

Posted on December 9, 2011 by Alex Roman - Also by this author

Most of the time when the mainstream media focuses on the motorcoach industry it is negative — it usually has to deal with an accident that injured a host of people, many critically. In an attempt to shift the spotlight this week for being kicked off of an American Airlines flight, Alec Baldwin wrote a blog about the incident, where as a joke he must have thought was funny, he took a shot at Greyhound.

Taking exception to Baldwin's shot, Greyhound President/CEO Dave Leach wrote a letter to him to voice his disappointment with his views and invited Baldwin to ride the system himself to see.

"Now, I'm the first to admit that Greyhound has had some challenges with brand perception, so I understand that you probably were basing your comments on that alone," said Leach. "But, we've made so many changes in recent years to significantly improve the travel experience. My guess is you've never traveled with us, but I ask you to give us a try for a number of reasons and see for yourself that we're really a great way to travel."

Leach then discussed all the changes and new amenities Greyhound has made over the years, including adding Wi-Fi service, which would allow Baldwin to play his beloved "Words With Friends" game that he was playing prior to being kicked off his flight.

I like that Leach responded to Baldwin and focused on all the positives that could come from riding not only Greyhound but any other motorcoach operator. The underlying problem with Baldwin's statement, though, is that there is still a negative perception of the motorcoach industry as a whole. This is bad for the industry, as it begins to focus on adding younger riders to its ranks, to both grow its ridership and solidify it as an option for future generations of travelers.

If Baldwin's views are a microcosm of people's perceptions of the motorcoach travel, what can the industry do to flip that ideal?

In case you missed it...

Read our METRO blog, "The Politics of Transit" here.


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