Luxury Coach & Transportation

September 2018

Magazine for the professional limousine, charter and tour industry.

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LUXURY COACH & TRANSPORTATION SEPTEMBER 2018 17 cars. To market for parking deck business, track your local business media outlets, go to Chamber of Commerce meet- ings, follow social media, and network wherever you can to find out which company is growing. NO. 5: Special Events Whether it's Renaissance, strawberries, music, or arts and crafts, you name it, there's a festival for it. Also, university home football games, graduations, and other annual events will generate demand for parking and shuttle service. Your marketing plan should include a lot of face time. And I don't mean iPhone facetime. You need to be in front of these customers. Churches have golf tournaments, so play in them and sponsor a hole. Or maybe it's an outdoor BBQ. Buy enough for your entire office, or whatever makes an impres- sion on the church. Marketing to special events resembles pitching business- es. Find out what special events are happening in your area and mail out or email your brochure. Pay for sponsorships on their websites. NO. 6: Tech / Corporate One example of this is how Windy City landed one of its best shuttle contracts. In the suburbs of Chicago, McDonalds University decided to move to downtown Chicago, creating a dilemma for most employees who lived in the suburbs and could not find parking. Windy City put together a plan to transport employees from the train stations in downtown Chicago to the new site, moving about 1,000 employees daily. Windy City helped McDonald's make sure employees felt cared for. It bought refurbished transit buses at a low price and renovated them into McDonald's branded and wrapped shuttles. e costs of buying and using $500,000+ new mo- torcoaches would exceed the pricing level while generating short-haul wear and tear on the buses. A luxury level contract would not have worked out, so the contract would have gone to another company. Windy City dealt with all of the key deci- sion makers in creating a service that reassured employees, ensuring peace of mind all the way around. ere are so many potential contracts available, such as with big names like Google and Apple and everyday clients such as hospitals, mega-churches, and any business or organization succeeding in this vibrant economy. Pursuing contracts ties directly into following businesses in your area: Who's growing and who's moving? Stay in the know. NO. 3: Airports Typically, these relationships are made directly with the airlines. ey are mostly interested in response time, such as one hour or less onsite. ese trips are for canceled flights when it's better to have a charter bus move the stranded pas- sengers to their destination city. Most trips are within four hours. e airline will almost always give you a voucher. Remember, they may take longer to pay than you'd like, so maybe a marketing idea would be a discount if paid within 30 days. Make it sound like they will save a lot during the year. Another marketing idea would be to showcase your 24-hour staff. Show them who they will be talking to in your dispatch center. ey would never call your number only to get a recorded message asking them to call an emergency number. Traditional motorcoach companies close at 5 p.m. and never open on weekends. All airlines require transportation for picking up and dropping off their daily flight crews. Normally the hotel is close by and round trips are easily handled. Depending on the size of the airport, you may be running several vehicles seven days a week. Twice recently, I was in San Francisco for a 20-group meeting, Spinning Wheels and Spader Business Manage- ment, and the downtown hotel always had a bus parked on the curb waiting for the airline crews. ere was a van, minibus, and motorcoach at any given time day or night. I was shocked by how many crew members were boarding the vehicles. Maybe multiple airlines stay at that hotel and they share the expense of the vehicle. NO. 4: Parking Lots & Decks As the economy improves, surface parking is becoming scarce amid growth in new buildings, apartments, town- houses, and mixed use development. e cost of land is rising in many metro areas. For large churches, there are not enough parking stalls on Sundays and holidays for congrega- tions. So, the solution is often shuttle service, mostly with a minimum of two minibuses. As commercial and office buildings sprout, businesses are hiring more employees. Often, moving is not an option. eir only choice is to build a parking deck on the surface lot, but that can take months. So they need to find a nearby remote parking lot for employees. at means they'll need to hire a bus service to shuttle them to and from the offices. Depending on the company, it could mean service for three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon. It likely will require larger buses on both ends, and a minibus to be there all day in case employees need to return their LEFT: Windy City Limousine & Bus won over McDonald's for shuttle work by refurbishing and wrapping used transit buses. RIGHT: Airline/airport shuttles provide steady, intensive, daily opportunities for contract work with basic, low-cost vehicles. TOM HOLDEN is the GM/operations manager of Rose Chauffeured Transportation in Charlotte, N.C. He can be reached at

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