Business never stops – and for a nationwide transportation company like Metropolitan Shuttle, it never even slows down! One of the largest charter bus rental firms in North America, Metropolitan Shuttle provides a complete line of bus services, including fleet options, rentals, customized charters, school bus transportation and more.
Metropolitan Shuttle’s man at wheel is CEO Glenn Orloff, who is responsible for dozens of bus charter service locations all across the United States and Canada. Under Mr. Orloff’s guidance since 2001, Metropolitan Shuttle has become one of the fastest-growing charter transportation companies in North America. The company serves government agencies, private firms, and individuals with keen attention to detail and a client-first culture, as evidenced by their industry accolades and positive customer feedback.
With an emphasis on streamlined service, safe & reliable transportation, super-convenient reservations and budget-friendly prices, Metropolitan Shuttle is going places – literally and figuratively. We recently spoke with Mr. Orloff about the unique challenges of managing a busy transportation enterprise, and his responses offer worthwhile wisdom on entrepreneurial success, personal inspiration, marketing methods and much more.
- Who has been your greatest inspiration?
It’s hard to say exactly, as there are many who have inspired me. I feel most moved by those who have succeeded in overcoming enormous odds and obstacles. People like Helen Keller and Nelson Mandela come to mind. Mohammed Ali has probably inspired me the most because his example is inspirational in such a number of different ways. He too overcame great odds – as a black man in the Jim Crow South to begin with, as an up-and-coming boxer getting a crack at the heavyweight title against Sonny Liston, and as a huge underdog in the Fight of the Century against George Forman. He was also inspirational in his unshakable belief in himself. Almost no one believed he could subdue Liston and Foreman, but he did. His strength of conviction was also inspiring. Even the loss of his heavyweight crown or time in jail could dissuade him from resisting the Vietnam draft. Agree with him or not, you have to admire his strength of conviction and his faith.
- What piece of advice would you give to someone who wants to become an entrepreneur?
Understand going into it that it will be one of the hardest things you ever do, but also be cognizant that it will be one of the most rewarding as well. Throughout the entire journey, never lose focus of the “risk-reward” aspects involved with running your own business.
- Where do you see your business in 10 years?
I believe Metropolitan Shuttle will be the dominant brand in the charter bus industry in the United States, employing hundreds of people and servicing millions of travelers every year. Given our steady expansion since we started in 2001, we have an excellent track record of growth. The first 15 years have been memorable – and the next 10 should be quite a ride!
- How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Being an online company, the vast majority of our advertising is internet-based. We keep an open mind to trying new things. Regardless of the method, we believe in testing and constantly try to increase our ROI. At the end of the day, however, we believe that serving our customers well and keeping them happy is our best form of advertising. Word of mouth advertising and referrals from satisfied customers still work remarkably well, even in this current era of online marketing.
- What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
About 10 years ago, we lost focus as we launched other businesses. As a result, our core business suffered. There is more than enough for us to do in the industry we are in. Focusing on our core competencies since that time has served us well and fortunately we were able to recover. Focusing on what you do well, and then trying to continuously improve upon on it, will allow for success.
- How does your company provide innovation within your industry?
The core service, the bus travel part, has not changed much over time. Sure, the vehicles are more comfortable, more nature-friendly and have better amenities, but we see that as normal progress.
Over time, we’ve realized that the key to customer satisfaction is communication throughout the process. Therefore, the best way to innovate in this industry is by coming up ways to make communication easier and clearer. In addition to training our sales people, we’ve implemented a CRM and are in the process of enabling e-signatures and online payments to remove friction from the reservation process.
The innovation that we’re the proudest of is our MetroTRAC smartphone application, which, we believe, is one-of-a-kind in the entire industry. The app is designed to improve the travel day experience for both the drivers and the clients by allowing them to communicate directly with one another. The app reduces stress for the driver by offering GPS navigation to the pickup point and, conversely, allows the client to see the bus’s real-time location and ETA. While the reservation process is important, there’s nothing more crucial than a successful trip, and MetroTRAC will be the key in making that happen.
Thanks again to Mr. Orloff for his feedback. Young entrepreneurs and experienced executives alike can benefit from his responses. We’re always happy to share real-life insight and advice from today’s most innovative business leaders. For more information about Metropolitan Shuttle, please visit their website or call 866-473-1909.
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