There is noticeable progress on our new facility in Waterloo and it is finally taking shape. Phase 1 work, which includes over 10,000 square feet of garage space, over 2,000 square feet of finished office space (for our use), and 1,700 square feet of unfinished office space (to be rented out later), should be close to complete sometime near the end of November. As you can see, we are on track for that deadline.
We will immediately be looking for a renter for part of the building, and when found we will continue with phase 2. Our expectation is that Waterloo will continue to act as an important hub of charter bus activity, while we systematically grow our tour & travel sales from within that market area. This new facility is designed to allow us to grow into the space, while we continue to provide service that is in keeping with the dynamic high quality image it offers.
Our customers love our drivers, and so do we! They are professional, courteous and safety conscious. We make sure that they are with quarterly training and pre-employment skills assessment and training. The video shows Pavel Makarov running a prospective employee through a parking skills test.
Tour planning requires that we keep up on what the current market trends are. There are many sources out there. Here is an abbreviated list of the results Trip Advisor got when they asked more than 44,000 travelers and hoteliers about their plans for the year.
Trend #1 – Seeking new experiences. Travelers of all ages want to seek out things they haven’t tried before.
Trend #2 – Spending more because it’s “worth it”.
Trend #3 – Choosing destinations based on culture, special offers. Travelers are seeking trips with “meaning” or that differ from their own experience.
Trend #4 – Staying cool and connected.
The amenities that travelers most want are air conditioning and WiFi.
Trend #5 – Rising room rates (and optimism). The majority of hoteliers say they’re optimistic about profitability in 2016, and many plan to raise their rates.
Trend #6 – Managing reputations online. Online presence remains important. Travel businesses will be keeping a close eye on what people are saying about them on the web.
To see the entire article, visit: https://www.tripadvisor.com/TripAdvisorInsights/n2670/6-key-travel-trends-2016#sthash.ajZkPyjx.dpuf
The early 1960s were a time of civil unrest in America, and several times the military was called in to keep the peace. It was on one of these occasions that the 720th Military Police Battalion from Fort Hood, Texas was called into action. Hawkeye Stages driver George Lewis was a member of this unit deployed to Oxford, Mississippi to quell the riots which had sparked in response to the Supreme Court decision to allow black students to attend the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) in Oxford.
On February 25, 2016, a reunion was held at Fort Hood to recognize servicemen from the 720th. One of the college students the unit protected, James Meredith, had the opportunity to meet and thank the MPs who kept him safe by escorting him to class, searching vehicles and pulling security. The troops ensured no further rioting happened on campus.
Meredith said, “I had not just the United States Army fighting my war against Mississippi, but President Kennedy sent in the BEST of the United States Army.”
The veterans who went to Oxford said the deployment 53 years ago made a big impression on their lives. George Lewis was a 22-year-old Specialist when his unit deployed to Oxford, and says he didn’t understand the deep racial divides that existed in the South until he saw it firsthand in 1962.
“I was born and raised on a farm in Nebraska and, while I was growing up, would see black people when our family traveled to Omaha,” he says. “I thought they were just like me — they just had different skin color.”
Lewis began his career as a motorcoach driver with Northwest Iowa Transportation in 2004 in Fort Dodge and is still proudly serving behind the wheel for Hawkeye Stages. His cheerful nature and polite manner have made him a favorite with travelers.
Newton Operations Manager, Rick Brannen recently attended a two day Safety Management Seminar at the National Transportation Safety Board Training Center in Ashburn, VA. The seminar was sponsored by the United Motorcoach Association and was attended by over 100 other safety professionals representing our industry from all over the United States.
Valuable information was obtained concerning the importance of Safety and its promotion within our Operations. Driving staff will hear more about the seminar and the lessons Rick learned at the seminar at future Driver’s Safety Meetings.
We take safety seriously at Hawkeye Stages – Remember: Safety is a Choice, Not a Chance
Hawkeye Stages has Office and Flexible Commercial space for lease at their Newton and Fort Dodge, Iowa locations. We also rent our conference facility for meetings and other special events at the Newton, Iowa location. Please click on the links below for additional information. If interested in the Newton location contact Rick at 641-792-3232. If interested in the Fort Dodge location contact Deann at 515-576-5519.
As you know, the people who travel with Hawkeye Stages are special. Their ages vary and so do their areas of interest. We would like to introduce you to Rita and Stuart Ashmead who have traveled with us as part of the Community First Credit Union of Ottumwa for many years. According to driver Rick Brannen, they have been EVERYWHERE! “Gosh, I’ve gotten to drive them all over the country — Myrtle Beach, Florida, New York, the Mayan Dude Ranch — they are always up for a new adventure!” says Rick.
Curt Swarm of the Ottumwa Courier wrote a piece about the Ahmeads which appeared in the July 8, 2015 issue of the paper. What follows is part of that article.
Active Octogenarians Continue to Set Records
They are not your usual octogenarians either. They met at the “Y” 17 years ago. Or was it dancing? Rita and Stuart aren’t certain, but you can bet they met during some physical activity. Stuart is 87, and Rita will be 80 in November. Every year they compete in the Iowa Senior Games — Rita as a runner, Stuart as a swimmer. And they hold all the records. Rita: 50 meter, 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1,500 meter gold medals. All are records. Stuart: 50 freestyle, 50 back stroke, 100 free, 100 back, 200 free and 200 back stroke. Stu’s were records when he turned 85.
What’s even more amazing is that Stu can’t walk without assistance. He has spinal stenosis and lost the use of his legs five or six years ago. But he doesn’t let it bother him. He doesn’t need his legs to swim. The Iowa Senior Games has a lift for getting him in and out of the water. And then it’s all upper-body strength. Stu has perfected a method of keeping his head low in the water, which brings his legs up. By swimming real deep in the water, some people don’t even think he’s breathing. But he is, and he smokes the competition, what few there are left in his age division.
Stuart is a retired military man. He spent 30-plus years in the Air Force. He suspects that he is the ranking enlisted veteran in Iowa.
Rita had seven children and worked two jobs. When her last child left home, she went back to school, got her nursing degree and became the county nurse. She started walking about 20 years ago, faster and faster, until she was running. She’s never stopped and still has no joint pain. Today, she runs three to four times a week and lifts weights three days a week at the Y.
Stuart contemplates that, because of the progressive nature of his disability, this might be the last year they can compete together. But he has no regrets: “We have the best life in the world,” he says, wrapping an arm around Rita. “I swim for fun. Rita’s the competitor. You ought to see her at shuffleboard. She hates to lose.”
First, a quick wipe-down. Then the vinyl is positioned, adjusted, and the backing is peeled away in sections. Next, the installer massages out air bubbles and presses the vinyl on with a flat tool. Last, graphics were added to the back of the motorcoach. Finally, the finished look! Seems simple but it took quite a while to complete the entire motorcoach.
Our fleet grew by four members in May with two new Prevost and Temsa top-of-the-line motorcoaches. To say they look spectacular is no understatement!
Along with fresh side panel graphics, the interior finishes and amenities of these vehicles are sure to impress our travelers.
The luxurious interiors of all four coaches feature “wood grain” flooring and plush leather seats. There are cupholders, footrests, reading lights, and personal air vents like most of the fleet, as well as USB ports and electric outlets for passenger convenience. The Prevost coaches have larger bathrooms with a door that slides laterally for extra room and ease of entry. The new coaches will primarily serve tour groups, with many departures scheduled on Legacy Tour & Travel adventures. The latest and greatest equipment will allow us to continue to offer the very best in all around group tour services.
Adding to the “top” of the fleet has far reaching impact for the rest. With the addition of these new Temsas and Prevosts, we should be able to more readily utilize the existing tour coaches in our charter fleet. We think our college groups will be thrilled to ride in #149 & #150 (our 2013 Temsas) instead of #118 & #122 (the “little blue buses”)!
All four motorcoaches have been busy since they arrived in late May, taking passengers to Mackinac Island, MI, Washington, DC and Gettysburg, PA, Washakie, WY and Oregon, as well as points all over Iowa, including a “Rail Crew Express” to Boone!