Author Archives: Brian Kurtz

Fall in the Hudson River Valley

It’s hard to find more picturesque scenery than that of the Hudson River Valley in the fall. Imagine meandering waters, beautiful shores, and brilliantly colored foliage. Better yet, don’t imagine it; Join Elite Coach for a relaxing 3-day, 2-night excursion to New York’s American Masterpiece, October 13-15, 2015.
tour the hudson river valley with elite coach

What’s Included

Our experienced travel advisors have worked hard to design an itinerary that opens the door to discovery and adventure while still allowing plenty of opportunity for relaxation. We think you’ll find there is something for everyone included in this trip.

For the History Buff

  • Guided tour of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Home
  • Admission to FDR Museum and Library
  • Guided tour of Val-Kill, Eleanor Roosevelt’s Cottage
  • Guided tour of the Vanderbilt Mansion
  • Guided tour of West Point Academy

For the Water Lover

  • Scenic river cruise aboard the Rip Van Winkle: Relax on a shaded deck, enjoy a tasty snack or beverage, and take in the view of million dollar estates, quaint villages, and historic lighthouses.

For the Foodie

  • 2 breakfasts and 2 dinners, including one at the award winning American Bounty at the Culinary Institute of America
  • Guided tour of the Culinary Institute of America

Travel Details

  • Dates: October 13-15, 2015
  • Price Per Person: $515 (double occupancy), $500 (triple), $615 (single)
  • Two departure locations: Elite Coach at 7:00am, Lancaster Shopping Center at 7:30am on October 13.
  • Return to Lancaster Shopping Center at 6:00pm, Elite Coach at 6:30pm on October 15.
  • 2 night accommodations included

How to Reserve Your Seat

Are you ready to take in the beauty of fall in the Hudson River Valley? Don’t miss your chance to reserve a seat on this exciting tour! Simply fill out a trip registration form and mail it along with your payment to Elite Coach at 1685 West Main St, Ephrata, PA 17522. Please feel free to contact our travel advisors at any time if you have questions about this excursion. We would love to hear from you!

Want to know where else we are going this year? Take a look at our 2015 bus tour packages.

Hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Perform Live June 25, 2015


PLEASE NOTE:
Our trip to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Performance on June 25, 2015 has been sold out. However, we offer several other exciting tour packages throughout the year. View all of our 2015 bus trips and reserve your seat today!

Mormon Tabernacle Choir

There is just something about listening to 360 individual voices come together and form one, unified sound. A finely tuned choir singing in perfect harmony has the power to take listeners away from the chaos of their everyday lives and create a moment of stillness. A choir’s sound manages to be haunting yet enticingly beautiful at the same time.

This beautiful haunting is what listeners all over the world experience when privileged to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir perform. Walter Cronkite once said of the choir that it “undoubtedly has an importance greater than entertaining or even momentarily uplifting an audience.” Praised as “America’s Choir,” the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has a rich, 150-year history that includes performances for ten U.S. Presidents, concerts at World Fairs, and shows around the globe. And now, you have the opportunity to attend a live performance by America’s Choir. On June 25, 2015 the renown Mormon Tabernacle Choir will be singing at the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Maryland, and Elite Coach is your ticket into a very special performance open ONLY to groups of fifteen or more people.

A Special Day Trip Bus Tour

Elite is offering a very special day trip to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir perform live along with their world-class orchestra. For $140.00 you can enjoy stress-free travel in one of Elite’s luxury tour buses and have peace of mind that you are in the capable hands of an experienced tour director. Of course we can’t forget to mention the three course lunch that is included at Tony & Joe’s Restaurant! Here is a brief rundown of the details for this exciting day trip.

Departure Information:

8:30 AM – Elite Coach Parking Lot in Ephrata

9:00 AM – Lancaster Shopping Center (park along the Oregon Pike side of A.C. Moore)

Return Information:

Approximately 6:45 PM – Lancaster Shopping Center

Approximately 7:15 PM – Elite Coach

Bus Tour Package Inclusions:

  • 3 course lunch at Tony & Joe’s Restaurant
  • Grand Tier ticket for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performance
  • Tour director and driver gratuities
  • Deluxe motorcoach transportation
  • Elite tour director

How to Reserve Your Seat

We would love to have you join us for a day with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. To reserve your seat, simply fill out a trip registration form and mail it along with your payment to Elite Coach at 1685 West Main St, Ephrata, PA 17522. Have questions? Please feel free to contact our travel advisors at any time. We would love to hear from you!

Don’t forget to check out all of Elite’s exciting bus tour packages. We charter pre-planned, luxury bus tours to popular destinations throughout the year!

Planning group travel

How to Plan Group Travel

With over 20 years of experience in the group travel industry, we’ve worked with a lot of different tour companies and even more trip planners. Some of these trip organizers have just as much experience as we do planning fun and exciting tours for mid-sized and large groups. Our travel experts have also teamed up with first-time group leaders with great success! Through the many partnerships we’ve enjoyed with group travel organizers, our staff has identified several stressors that first-time tour planners have in common when attempting to put together an entire trip by themselves. To help those of you who may be new to planning group travel, we have put together a few basic tips to help you navigate the process effectively.

Most Important Parts of Planning Your Group Travel

Whether you are planning your first group tour or your twentieth, there are a few components that should be your top priorities.

  • Transportation – If you don’t have transportation, you won’t be going very far. The type of transportation you choose will depend on the number of people traveling with you. If you are taking a group of 20 high school students on a weekend-long ski trip, your best bet is probably to pile into a couple of vans or travel in a small caravan of cars and do the driving yourselves. However, if you are traveling with a larger group—25 people or more—you may want to think about teaming up with a charter bus company like Elite Coach.
  • Timetable – Planning something 5-6 months in advance might sound like plenty of time, but unfortunately that cuts things pretty close when it comes to group tours. Our travel experts recommend for groups to book their trips no less than six months in advance to give folks plenty of time to prepare. If you are planning a trip that will last longer than a weekend, we suggest promoting it 9-12 months in advance. This helps group members budget their expenses leading up to a longer, more expensive trip. As with most things, the earlier you book, the more prepared you will be when the trip rolls around. Waiting until the final 1-3 months to make reservations at hotels, theatres, restaurants, etc. can lead to a lot of extra stress, as some popular attractions book groups far in advance.
  • Know your Destinations –If you are a first-time group tour planner, travel websites like Trip Advisor are fantastic resources for gathering basic information and reading traveler reviews for the attractions you are considering. But we do not recommend relying on these sites completely. It’s important to know your destinations rather than simply take someone’s word for it. Visit them if possible, and meet the sales staff. If you are partnering with a tour company like Elite, reach out to them in advance to ask if they have ever taken other groups to your desired locations. Local visitors bureaus are fantastic resources for group organizers as well.

Saving Money

Without a doubt, the most popular concern for groups is saving money. Who could blame them? After all, part of the benefit of traveling in a large group is receiving group discounts. And who doesn’t like to save a little cash when they can? Well, there is good news! Most tourist attractions will offer some sort of discounted rate for groups. If you are arranging every detail of your trip with no outside help, we strongly encourage you to call the sales department of each destination you’d like to visit. Be sure to provide the basic details of your trip (what date you will be visiting, estimated time of arrival, how many people are coming, etc.) and inquire about any special group rates they may be able to offer you. Of course a location’s website can provide basic group rate information, but in some cases a sales rep may be able to offer you seasonal discounts or special promotions that are not regularly listed online.

One of the perks that many groups enjoy when working with professional tour operators is a special “tour operator rate” that is typically offered by tourist attractions and restaurants. This rate is even lower than a “group rate” and is only available for professional tour operators.

Mistakes Commonly Made by Group Tour Leaders

Our experts have noticed that timing is usually the biggest issue among first-time group travel planners. The time it takes a car to drive from point “A” to point “B” is not the same for a motorcoach. Taking a short break at a rest stop may only take a family about 10 minutes. The same activity will likely take a bus full of people 20-25 minutes. Inexperienced group organizers often forget how much time traffic and traffic signals can add to their commute as well. Allowing time for rest stops and other delays can help ensure that your group has plenty of time to spend at each attraction on the itinerary.

Travel Like a Pro

The best way to lead your group tours effectively is to have a plan. The entire trip will be made easier if everyone involved in your group’s transportation is on the same page at all times. When working with a charter bus company, it’s very important to keep your bus driver in the loop every step of the way. If the driver does not know where you are meeting after dinner or what time your theatre tickets are for, it causes a lot of unnecessary confusion. Avoid these frustrations by making an itinerary and communicating your plans with travelers, destination personnel, and your driver.

When you partner with Elite Coach, we handle every aspect of your tour, making even first-time group leaders look like pros!

We hope these tips are able to make your planning experience a bit less stressful. If you are interested in learning more about how our group tour experts can help you plan a unique and exciting trip, please contact Elite Coach today!

CTIS Certification: Another Win For Elite Coach Staff

Jen Wagner Receives CTIS Certification

Elite Coach executives tip their hats to Jen Wagner for completing her CTIS, or (Certified Travel Industry Specialist) certification. Jen did more than just complete the CTIS certification program though. While taking administered courses at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Jen excelled: finishing with the highest mark possible. Jen is excited about her recent accomplishments and feels proud to have completed the CTIS certification.
CTIS Certification

Second Team Member Receives CTIS Certification

This mark of excellence gives her a competitive advantage and enhances her credibility in the travel industry. Jen is the second tour planner at Elite Coach with this CTIS certification, so you can believe that Elite takes pride in the service they provide. You can have full confidence that your group’s tour is being planned and organized by experts when you work with our certified staff members. Let us congratulate Jen Wagner and Dawn Dornes for being CTIS certified. Please Visit our tour planning page to learn more!

Elite Coach Receives Number One Safety Rating From Department Of Defense


DOD Stamp of Approval

Elite Coach has received their results from a December 10, 2013 inspection they received from the Department Of Defense (DOD). Once again, the company was awarded with a number one rating for safety, equipment, drivers, compliance with regulations, and services. Every 18 months Elite Coach is required to go through a top to bottom inspection.  

Because of this, the company strives for perfection in maintenance and service. They take pride in the condition of their tour buses and the service they provide to all of their patrons. No matter the occasion, or destination, Elite Coach guarantees your safety and comfortability. This award proves that the company is truly elite.

Elite Coach Receives Highest Possible Safety Rating

Brian Kurtz, Vice President of Elite Coach, is excited about the review and understands the importance of being an approved carrier for the United States Department Of Defense. Transportation coordinators arranging DOD-sponsored passenger travel must use the approved carrier list when organizing transportation. Being a part of the DOD’s approved carrier list allows coordinators to work with Elite Coach when arranging travel for group DOD passengers, including military movement solicitations and recruit travel.

Receiving the highest possible rating is a direct reflection of the good work done by everyone who contributes to the brands continued success and great results. “We can be very proud of once again receiving a #1 rating,” says Kurtz. “Thanks to everyone who contributed to a great result.”  Not only did the company receive the number one rating, they also had a bus reach the one million mile mark. Both of these achievements prove Elite Coach holds their self to a higher standard. A true testament to the dedication and passion they have to being the Top Charter Company in the Lancaster area.

Elite Coach Welcomes New Full-Sized, Handicapped-Accessible Tour Bus to its Fleet

Elite Coach is pleased to announce the arrival of the newest member to our fleet. Coach bus 130 arrived following the celebration of bus 108’s million-mile celebration on November 21st. Elite will use the new coach on bus trips including Elite tours, group tours, and our charter bus services.
charter bus services

High Demand for Accessible Lifts

The new 56-passenger Prevost coach bus will offer all of the familiar amenities that Elite passengers expect and enjoy. And it will be fitted with a handicapped-accessible lift. In 2012, Elite was chosen among several tour bus companies to receive a grant through the Federal Transit Administration in order to install the wheelchair lift on our new bus. The FTA’s “Over the Road Bus Accessibility Grant” is aimed at improving mobility for individuals with disabilities by providing financial assistance to make passenger vehicles accessible. The program also provides sensitivity training and preparation to properly operate installed accessibility features. Elite was chosen to receive the grant in 2012 after being identified as a location where the need for accessible buses was high. Elite already has accessible coaches, but this addition will allow us to continue to offer our services to as many of our clients as possible.

More Buses, More Fun!

Three additional coaches will be added to our fleet within the next couple of months. David Annett, Vice President of Annett Bus Lines in Sebring, FL sent us the following picture of one of two new 38-passenger buses freshly out of port after arriving from Turkey to our supplier in Orlando.
charter bus tours
All coaches are painted white during the manufacturing process. They are then donned with a sleek burgundy paint to match the other Elite coaches. Decals will be added to the exterior of the bus after arrival to our facility. Another 56-passenger coach will be added to our fleet in early March 2014. We are excited to welcome these new additions to the fleet so we can continue to offer exceptional charter bus tours for our valued customers in Lancaster, Hershey, Reading, and beyond!

Elite’s Oldest Charter Bus Family Member Reaches One Million Miles

Thursday, November 21, 2013 marked a milestone for Elite Coach in our charter bus company’s 22-year history. Purchased in 1998, coach bus 108 reached its million-mile mark as Elite employees were invited to take a ride that saw the odometer turn to 0.0. Elite will continue to utilize coach bus 108 for bus trips until January when it will then be resold to another motorcoach operator. Coach bus 108 is being replaced by a new 56-passenger bus that arrived to the Ephrata facility just before the million-mile celebration.

How Did We Make it to the Millionth Mile?

Regular preventative maintenance played a key role in bus 108’s longevity and performance. Utilizing the same maintenance practices throughout our fleet of buses, our service team expects another of our 56-passenger buses to reach seven digits soon. The longevity of our coaches is due not only to our exceptional service department, but also to our office staff and wonderful customers. Following 15 years of use from charter groups, group tours and our yearly Florida line run, coach bus 108 has been utilized on all types of Elite bus trips. Reaching one million miles would not be possible without our customers who look to us to provide stress-free, reliable transportation for their travel needs. News outlets WGAL, Blue Ridge News 11, and Lancaster New Era were on hand to commemorate the milestone which was followed by an employee luncheon to celebrate. For more on this exciting event, check out Lancaster New Era’s full article about our one million-mile celebration. charter bus company’s