Dec. 24—WILKES-BARRE — Scott Henry, CEO of the Martz Bus Group, said the company has experienced the beginning of a return to business as usual in 2022, and he has another goal for next year — one that involves bringing back a company tradition.
“People are ready to start having fun again,” Henry said. “We’re hearing from people who have gone on previous tours with Martz Bus as well as from new customers who want the convenience of getting on the bus and not worrying about driving, tolls, parking and making reservations.”
With that approach, Henry said Martz Bus is renewing its focus on the tour industry, with the hope of capitalizing on an increased interest in leisure travel, entertainment and group and family outings.
In the past, Henry said Martz hosted one-day and multi-day trips to popular destinations such as Broadway and other New York City destinations, plus dinner theaters, casinos, Niagara Falls and points along the New Jersey and Maryland shores.
To support the revitalization of its tours, Henry said Martz hired a tour manager, expanded its presence on social media and is working on changes to its online booking system, according to Brian Satola, chief revenue officer. The goal, he said, is to offer a tour that appeals to everyone, from children to college students, families to retirees.
Renita Fennick Zezza recently joined the Martz team as tour manager and is planning excursions to old favorites such as the Philadelphia Flower Show, along with new venues like the Wind Creek Casino in Bethlehem and Penn’s Peak near Jim Thorpe.
One new tour, the TAP New York Craft Beer & Music Festival, will be held May 20, at the site of the historic 1969 Woodstock festival in Bethel, N.Y.
Peter J. Pantuso, president and CEO of the American Bus Association, said the increased interest in bus travel is occurring throughout the industry.
“We are seeing a substantial increase in group tours across North America, as individuals are anxious to put COVID behind them and begin traveling again,” Pantuso said. “We first saw the increase in individual and family travel starting in 2021 but, in 2022, travel by groups started taking off again, with some reporting the strongest travel since 2019, and expectations that 2023 will be even greater.”
Loyal customers Frank and Marilyn Semanski of Hanover Township are glad the Martz tours are making a comeback. They said they have traveled with the bus company for years, including trips to New York City at Christmas time and to see Broadway shows. Mr. Semanski said his favorite, though, is the five-day tour to Ocean City, Md., in August.
“It’s so much easier and cost-efficient to just get on the bus,” Frank Semanski said. “You don’t have to worry about making reservations, parking or traffic. The hotel we stay at is lovely and right next to the Boardwalk. We love the convenience of it all.”
Henry said the tours will adhere to the Martz mission statement.
“We are committed to providing safe, courteous, reliable service at an affordable price while offering the highest quality equipment and the professional character of our drivers and helpful sales team,” he said. “We are doing it in a way that will provide great value for the dollar along with the convenience and comfort. This resonates with people who are looking to travel with the family on a budget. Tours generally are more affordable than other types of vacations or family outings.”
Those interested in booking tours are encouraged to check the Martz website — www.martztours.com — regularly since the company is adding new trips daily.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.