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Onboard advertising

Using passenger WiFi on demand-responsive bus services

Fleet management made easy with the Sygnal Portal

By | Coach hire, Coach operator, Onboard advertising, Passenger Wifi, Sygnal Bites | No Comments

At the risk of stating the obvious, the bus and coach industry is undergoing a period of rapid change. The growth in onboard technologies, coupled with new vehicle emission standards, have added further layers of complexity to the already demanding job of running a successful coach hire business.

That’s why, alongside consistency and cost, convenience is an essential aspect for operators considering new onboard technologies. Sygnal understands just how vital convenience is to operators. Sygnal X, our flagship 4G data-wireless server, was designed specifically to maximise range and reliability while enabling easy installation.

Using the Sygnal Portal for effective fleet management

Of course, simple installation and maintenance is essential for a modern transport firm, but hardware is just one element of service. Sygnal understands that the most convenient onboard WiFi solutions give customers the freedom to manage their own technologies. The custom OS enables simple setup and secure sign-in for passengers, but it’s in the management system that the Sygnal X really shines. With every Sygnal order, customers also gain secure access to their own remote management platform; the Sygnal Portal.

With access to Sygnal’s custom streaming library, fleet management, vehicle status updates, route designation, WiFi analytics and a viewing portal for CCTV & Dashcam footage, the Sygnal Portal puts operators firmly in control of their fleet.

Every aspect of the Sygnal Portal user experience (UX) was designed with the operator in mind. With a dedicated sign-in, operators can remotely access their Sygnal Portal from anywhere. With business and networking events requiring regular travel, remote access is essential for operators looking to maintain visibility of their fleet on the go. Updates to the Portal are rolled out remotely, meaning there’s no disruption to the operator. Of course, the Portal is fully optimised for mobile.

With the Sygnal Portal, operators can simplify the many processes required to run a modern, efficient coach service while providing the latest onboard amenities to passengers.

Want to try Sygnal’s fleet management software on your own vehicles? Get in touch today and find out more!

Running coach travel for sports events

Coach travel for sports events: The ultimate guide for coach hire firms

By | Coach hire, Onboard advertising, Sports events, Sygnal Bites | No Comments

Running coach travel for sports events is a great source of revenue, but it can be a lot more challenging than you think. Not only are you transporting large groups across the country (and beyond), you’re often doing it to a tight schedule. That’s why Sygnal put together this handy guide. If you’re already running services for sports events, what lessons have you learned? Let us know in the comments!

Hiring coach transport for sports events

So what’s different about coach travel for sports events as opposed to say, weddings, festivals, or corporate events? Well, that depends on the type of sporting event, and who you’re transporting. Transport for athletes is usually managed through the club or sporting body, while transport for sports fans is often managed by an individual or representative.

Both have their advantages and disadvantages. It’s down to the operator to establish the level of demand they can accommodate. It’s also worth remembering that vehicles will need rest periods for maintenance, cleaning and safety checks.

Coach travel for sports events bus pulling into stadium

Pick up and drop-off

The secret to an efficient pick-up and drop-off process is in the planning. That means:

  • Designate a pick-up-point well in advance
  • Leave clear instructions on how to reach the pick-up point
  • Set clear departure times
  • Make sure both points are accessible to vehicles and passengers.

With the majority of sporting events held in urban areas, congestion can be a major issue. It’s vital operators take delays into account in advance – particularly as passengers who miss the start of an event are entitled to request a refund.

Most stadiums have their own designated drop-off zones. Operators must make sure their drivers know the location of these zones, and the process of drop-off and collection before and after the event.

Two coaches on coach tour holiday driving along empty road

Regular bookings

With 38 games per season, running coach hire services to football fans is a great way to increase bookings. Building relationships with sports clubs could also lead to return bookings; a fantastic way of ensuring regular custom throughout the autumn and winter months.

Taking bookings for sports fans comes with its own unique opportunities. Whereas services for sports teams are usually organised on a contract basis, there’s no such guarantee with individual groups of fans. Offering deals to private passengers for booking multiple journeys at once (for instance, for all away games in a football season) can be a great way to gain return custom.

Couple chatting enjoying the onboard technologies

Seasonal sports events

Many, although not all, professional sports are seasonal. With the football season ending in May and beginning again in late August, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing – these off-months are also the most popular for weddings, overseas tours and corporate events.

Other sports have their own schedules. Get ahead of the competition by regularly updating your calendars with key dates and keeping an eye out for one off events. Running efficient and reliable transport services is all about managing demand, and that only works when you anticipate peak periods.

Overseas sports travel

Running international coach hire services can be a great source of revenue, but it also comes with added responsibility. If you don’t already, add an on-boarding process to ensure no passenger is left behind every time the vehicle stops. Likewise, clearly communicating boarding times keeps journeys on schedule.

International journeys also come with challenges in managing passengers over long distances. It goes without saying; driving long-distances without a functioning toilet is courting disaster. Couple this with the potential for passengers to consume alcohol on the journey and you have a recipe for angry passengers.

Passengers sat on bus using coach travel for sports events

Additional revenue streams

Of course, where there are passengers, there’s an opportunity for additional revenue. Onboard advertising is a great way to boost income and develop new partnerships with local businesses.

Opportunities can range from advertising local bars and restaurants to official club merchandise. Of course, these partnerships are easier to establish when you have an official contract with a sports club, but that shouldn’t stop you from sourcing your own advertisers. You can also use the data from your onboard bus WiFi to make a case to advertisers.

Man using bus WiFi on coach journey

Keep it simple: The secret to reliable onboard WiFi

By | Coach hire, Onboard advertising, Passenger Wifi, Sygnal Bites | No Comments

Onboard WiFi doesn’t need to be complicated, but you could be forgiven for thinking otherwise. Operators looking to install passenger WiFi on their vehicles are confronted with a myriad of choices. Every option is invariably described using industry jargon that would perplex all but the most tech-savvy operator. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Sygnal strives to keep the entire process of ordering and installing onboard WiFi as simple and transparent as possible.

The connected future

Passengers now expect onboard connectivity as part and parcel of their journey. Onboard WiFi is no longer a ‘luxury’ amenity – it’s for everyone. Despite this, the majority of bus WiFi systems on the market are designed for national operators, with a price tag to match.

The bottom line; just as passengers expect accessible and consistent connection, operators expect reliable and affordable service. That’s where Sygnal comes in. With an intuitive online layout, remote monitoring and streamlined installation process, Sygnal simplifies the onboard browsing experience for everyone. Great technology, as they say, should seem simple, even when the processes behind it are remarkably complex.

Women using onboard WiFi on a bus

Balancing costs

The introduction of new transport technologies has also highlighted the rift between large and small operators. Nationwide operators usually have engineers on staff or, failing that, a trusted professional on call. But many independent operators simply don’t have the time (or the staff) to install, maintain and repair new technologies.

Sygnal’s robust design and simple install process were specifically developed to limit time spent fitting and maintaining units. Likewise, remote updates enable operators to add new features without uninstalling units. Additional features like CCTV and GPS can be retrofitted as and when operators require them.

The Sygnal Portal offers an additional revenue source in the form of onboard advertising. Operators can offset their monthly data subscription by sourcing advertisers and promoting local businesses through their passenger WiFi.

Using passenger WiFi on demand-responsive bus services

Reliable service

Great technology should be adaptable to the unique needs of customers. The one-size fits all model rarely works for everyone, particularly in the age of personalised service. What works for the nationwide transport group, might not work for the local, independent operator. For instance; onboard entertainment, where passengers enjoy TV and movies, is essential for long journeys on inter-city services. For local urban services where journeys last no more than half an hour, however, onboard entertainment would be largely redundant.

Simultaneously, these onboard technologies should require little technical knowledge on the customers part. Independent operators are less likely to have their own engineers on staff, so installation and upkeep should require minimum effort.

Just as importantly, modern, connected technologies should be reliable. After all, inconsistent technologies will lead to more complaints than if the technology wasn’t there at all.

How to connect your vehicles

In keeping with the focus on simplicity, Sygnal developed a straightforward four-stage process to connect your vehicles:

  • Contact Sygnal
  • Choose your package & order
  • Receive your order & setup
  • Switch on and enjoy access to rapid, reliable onboard WiFi

Sygnal’s compact design allows operators to choose their preferred method of installation. Of course, installation can be affected by different factors, including vehicle layout and powering. Operators who require a unit for each vehicle often choose to power units through the vehicle wiring harness.  Operators looking to quickly move units between vehicles, however, tend to opt for the cigarette lighter adapter socket. Thankfully, our team of experts are always on hand discuss the best option for you.

The Sygnal Standard

At its heart, Sygnal’s mission is to remove the technical barriers from acquiring, installing and using onboard WiFi. It’s only by simplifying these processes that we can create a truly connected world. Sygnal strives to make the connection process as simple and cost-effective as possible.

Get in touch with Sygnal today to find out more about adding passenger WiFi solutions to your vehicles.

Using onboard WiFi to improve accessibility on transport

Increasing your bottom line through passenger WiFi

By | Coach operator, Onboard advertising, Passenger Wifi, Sygnal Bites | No Comments

Aside from providing additional value to your coach hire company, onboard WiFi provides a direct line to your passengers through their personal devices. This connection comes with its own obligations, but, when used responsibly, it also presents a unique opportunity to engage with your customers like never before.

Direct promotion

As old as the internet itself, online advertising offers a platform to engage with a huge audience, with the added value of gaining access to valuable information on the demographics, browsing behaviour and brand preferences of your audience.

Through the Sygnal Portal, transport networks can gain additional revenue streams by sourcing promotional content from relevant advertisers and promoting it through the passenger WiFi.

Because Sygnal enables ads to be customised according to the journey, transport operators can deliver personalised, locally relevant promotions at the push of a button.

Man using his smartphone on a coach hire service

Sourcing advertisers

If you’re not sure where to start finding advertisers, Sygnal is on hand to help you source local and national businesses. Valuable statistics gained from Sygnal server analytics can also help inform your pricing and add leverage to negotiations. Approaching an advertiser with analytics showing over 1000 unique visitors used your WiFi within the past month represents a better proposition than simply offering information on passenger numbers.

For large, multi-region transport operators, Sygnal can help source local businesses for relevant route-specific promotions. Running regular routes between London and Edinburgh, for example, provides a unique opportunity to promote bars, restaurants, live venues and even hotels in the English and Scottish capitals.

Woman using onboard technologies to browse bus WiFi

The Sygnal ad-platform

The ad-management section of the Sygnal Portal is simple and intuitive, allowing your team to upload, edit and push new ads direct to passengers.

The Portal comes with the option to choose from a variety of different ad-formats and upload images, video and text to your Sygnal servers.

Because passengers gain access to promotions through their personal device, they can keep the information on hand when they step off your vehicle.  That’s why the Sygnal Portal comes with the option to include business locations within an ad, enabling passengers to step off and – providing they have data and GPS on their own device – make their way directly to the promotion.

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