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Success of motor coach industry hinges on conventions, group trips resuming

Miller Transportation hiring ahead of fall return of college sports
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Posted at 11:13 PM, May 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-05 00:12:01-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Tourism in Indianapolis is on the rebound, according to a new report by Visit Indy.

"We're excited about the leisure business in addition to the convention business. Bottleworks recently opening, and the Garage and you see a lot of activity on Mass Ave. right now," Leonard Hoops, President and CEO of Visit Indy said. "Indianapolis was named one of the top places in the world by both Conde Nast magazine and Travel + Leisure magazine.

Even though Visit Indy has the data, an unofficial, yet good gauge of tourism is how many of those big tour buses -- or motor coaches, are on the road.

John Miller, president of Miller Transportation, is the leading operator of motor coaches in Indiana. He said tourism is up from this time last year during the stay-at-home orders but still down from where they should be.

"Percentage wise, COVID knocked the bottom out of it. We're up, maybe to 50% now from practically zero," Miller said.

Miller said the motor coach industry thrives on conventions coming to town and schools and companies taking large groups on trips...two things that still aren't happening as often as normal and until that changes, revenue will be down.

He said many of the buses you see out on the road right now are likely carrying sports teams that have started their spring season.

"If you're seeing buses on the road, it's about a 90% chance that was probably a college athletic trip. That's primarily what's been running this spring," Miller said.

While tourism in 2021 has gotten off to a slow start, Miller believes that will change this fall when more events open back up to full capacity. It's why his company is now on a hiring spree after employee layoffs during the pandemic.

"We're in a building period right now. We're strong on trying to hire office staff and drivers, trying to recruit people. So basically, now we're just getting ready for the turnaround," Miller said.

You can find out more about Miller Transportation's open positions by clicking here.

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