In the past, companies that had working relationships with bus charters relied on complex and individualized systems for every part of the process. For instance, quotations were mostly based on telephone conversations, invoices used a paper-based system, and reports were convoluted and easy to mix up.
With charter bus management software, challenges associated with such processes are a thing of the past. Now, anyone can be trained to use dedicated management software that can handle everything within a single interface.
Here are some of the things that charter bus management software needs to succeed.
1. Keeping things simple for all users
The first thing to keep in mind is that any charter bus management software is going to be used by a number of different people across multiple disciplines.
For example, it might be used by an actual bus charter company or it might be employed by a travel agency who wishes to manage an extensive supplier network of bus charters.
Because of the fact that it could be used by multiple people with a broad range of capabilities and needs, the software should be as easy to use as possible. This can be accomplished in any number of ways.
For example, one might choose to create simplified dashboards for entry-level users and more advanced ones for higher-level positions such as managers.
In that case, a bus driver could easily add his schedule on the software without being distracted by unnecessary features whereas the manager of the network could easily check up on every driver’s schedule without having to go through any additional steps.
2. Integrating features in a single platform
Using more than one platform for the same job is something that everyone wants to avoid. Solutions that can integrate all of the necessary and optional features under the same umbrella have a much wider reach and will find it much easier to reach an audience.
For instance, Allbus’s Sengerio platform handles booking, scheduling, creating and managing invoices, reporting, managing vehicles and drivers, and more, all in the same platform.
Charter bus management software should be as accessible as possible. Users will almost always choose an integrated solution rather than a fragmented one, something that holds true for most industries.
On that note, integrating third-party services can be a very beneficial move for this kind of platform. For example, adding Stripe means that drivers would be able to accept credit card payments on board.
3. Add systems with real-world appeal
When developing new software, it is easy to get lost in a sea of potential add-ons and features. Many of those will look fantastic on paper and will look very appealing, especially to someone who has not worked in the industry before.
However, this can lead to some grave mistakes. Features that work well but have no real-world appeal are practically useless. Users will neglect them and the developer will spend precious time building them up instead of working on more important things.
There are two ways to prevent that. First, one might approach a developer who has actual experience in the industry and who might know what the potential users would want to see in such a platform.
The second solution is to approach charter bus companies and talk to them about their needs. Some of them might already have dedicated charter bus management software installed but they might not be too happy about it.
In any case, the point is to develop systems that will actually be used by the target audience. This can be tricky but it can also make or break any platform.
For instance, adding Stripe would add the ability for drivers to accept credit card payments, but this would also mean training them to do so and ensuring that this is something that passengers would actually want.
4. Real-time features are key
When you have to manage an entire fleet of buses and coaches, having access to real-time information can be the difference between a successful operation and a confusing mess.
Successful software for charter bus companies should be able to handle multiple real-time features without any hiccups.
For instance, drivers will need to update their schedules and routes on the spot. On the other side of the job, managers will need to be able to inform drivers of any issues that might occur in an instant.
Every member of the team from drivers to management should be able to report and receive information instantly and anywhere. Real-time reporting and tracking should be considered essential features and not an afterthought.
5. Making the platform available anywhere
Regardless of how good a platform is, it will matter little if it cannot actually be used in any situation. Desktop variants are fine for management, for example, but mobile-friendly versions or dedicated apps are necessary in this industry.
Of course, the mobile version of the platform does not have to be as powerful or complex as its desktop variant. In fact, it can merely include essential features like scheduling, assigning tasks, and managing bookings and reports on the go.
What is necessary is for drivers to have an easy way to connect with the platform and keep management updated. That way, the platform will become an integral part of daily procedures instead of something to be forced on the team members.
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.