Welcome back to Galway Chamber’s Business of the Week series. This week, we spoke to Dara Burke, GoBus.ie.
My name is Dara Burke and I am Transport Manager of GoBus.ie.
Tell us about GoBus.ie.
GoBus.ie is a Galway based business which was set up in 2009 by my father Jim Burke who has been in the transport industry for most of his life. Jim has been joined by myself and my brothers Donal and Cian and we are all involved in the day-to-day running of GoBus.ie which now has a team of over 50 people.
Jim saw an opportunity for a coach service which provided comfortable, regular and non-stop trips to and from Dublin and Dublin Airport. We have been delighted to serve students, business people and tourists regularly travelling between Ireland’s cultural and commercial capitals.
What does being located in Galway offer your business?
Being located in Galway means that we have a steady supply of visitors travelling with us to the city for the different events like the Christmas Market in Eyre Square, Galway International Arts Festival or the Galway Races. The restaurants, bars and nightclubs are excellent in attracting domestic and foreign tourists, for whom Galway is often the first port of call after arriving in Dublin Airport.
Galway being home to three top class third level institutions in NUIG, GMIT and GTI means that from September to May we have students travelling with us. Students can travel for €21 return, and many will go to Dublin for concerts or sporting events and travel back on our late night services without having to miss class the next day.
Also the success of the Galway Hurlers, Footballers and Corofin GAA means that we get to be a part of GAA fans Croke Park experiences.
How has being a member of Galway Chamber helped you?
Through our Galway Chamber membership, we have made great connections and become involved with businesses with whom we have shared interests. Regularly meeting with everyone through the Chamber provides us with the opportunities to network and learn about upcoming changes or events in Galway.
What is the biggest challenge, in your opinion, facing businesses in 2018?
The ease with which information can be spread (particularly through Social Media) has made interacting with current and potential customers very easy and while there are significant opportunities with this, there are also challenges involved. Unhappy customers find it easier than ever to voice their opinion have their opinion heard.
Word of Mouth has always been central for a business’s success and this holds true in today’s world of Electronic Word of Mouth. There certainly are positives with this, as it enables a business to see how they can improve their customer’s experience. However, customer feedback which is ignored or not taken seriously can gain momentum and end up hurting a business.
In 2018, businesses need to constantly be at their best as there is very little room for error.
Tell us about GoBus Club.
The GoBus Club was set up to reward our frequent passengers and encourage them to book online. Passengers can set up a profile which they sign in to prior to booking. Every time they book a ticket, points are added to their GoBus Club account. A single trip amounts to 1 point and a return trip amounts to 2 points. Once 10 points have been built up, they can be exchanged for a free trip.
What one thing do you do every day that makes your business a success?
Communicate. Communication is a central part of GoBus.ie’s success. Any pertinent information is spread around to every part of the business. If a driver in Dublin is experiencing delays due to heavy traffic, they relay the information back to me and I let other drivers, our customer experience team and marketing department know. This way we can ensure our customers stay informed.
The same goes for customer feedback, we pass the information to everyone in the business to let them know how they improved a passenger’s journey or how our passengers feel we can improve as a business.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone just getting started in business what would it be?
Above all, be customer focused. Whether it is a big or small interaction always be pleasant, helpful and competent. People appreciate it when you provide them with an excellent service and likely will tell others when your business comes up in conversation.
Another valuable piece of advice for Galway businesses is to put a flag up. Reach out to local businesses, through events, social media or face to face. There is a real supportive business community who look out for each other and are happy to help out.
How does Christmas affect your business?
Christmas is one of our favourite and busiest times of year. There is a massive amount of tourists coming to visit Galway’s Christmas Market, the city is decorated and there is real sense of cheer from people living here.
The closer it gets to the 25th of December the more exciting things are. We love helping out passengers, many of whom are travelling with us to spend time with their friends, family and loved ones.
Our services operate throughout the holidays; the only day we do not run is Christmas Day. On Christmas Eve our last coach leaves Dublin Airport for Galway at 9:00 pm and we are back on the road starting from 01:45 am on St. Stephens Day. This way we ensure passengers get home for Christmas and can travel again for work, holidays or to see friends.
(091) 564 600