Luxury Coach & Transportation

October 2018

Magazine for the professional limousine, charter and tour industry.

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LUXURY COACH & TRANSPORTATION OCTOBER 2018 29 BUSINESS TRAVEL Operators Hold Down The Duty Of Care Fort At GBTA Members of the luxury transportation industry presented the bene•ts of using legitimate car service to business travelers at the convention. By LCT editors Jim Luff and Lexi Tucker S AN DIEGO, Calif. — e GBTA Convention 2018, held Aug. 11-15 at the San Diego Convention Center, saw upwards of 40 luxury transportation com- panies exhibiting and explaining among 1,300 business travel buyers the importance of duty of care and the peace of mind that comes with hiring a professional car service. LCT talked with numerous industry attendees on everything from how they are staying competitive and Šnding promising chau‹eurs to trends in the business travel realm. Bruce Boillotat, U.S. Sedan Service Worldwide, Washington D.C. and Miami, Fla. To combat TNCs, Boillotat doesn't believe in "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em." "We are accelerating our higher- end product to o‹set any business lost to companies like Uber or Lyft. We are looking at fortifying our relation- ships with Šve-star hotels and private aviation companies, as well as serving more of the as-directed clientele." As far as trends in the business travel realm, he's seen more move- ment toward the use of larger vehicles, like buses and motorcoaches. "We've deŠnitely seen an increase in meet- ings and events." He also notes that education in the true meaning of duty of care is necessary to get corporate clients to understand the importance of using a legal, regulated transporta- tion company. Hiring quality chau‹eurs has become di˜cult for many operators nationwide, but Boillotat believes your reputation in the marketplace is a plus. "Most of the applicants we receive for chau‹eur positions come from word of mouth and referrals from our existing chau‹eurs. Believe it or not, some of the better Uber and Lyft drivers who found an interest in becoming legitimate see themselves upgrading to become a chau‹eur and knock on our door." Gary Bauer, iCars, San Francisco, Calif. "We've talked about it for years: If we do not change the way we do busi- ness, we will not be doing business any longer," said Bauer, founder of iCars. Bauer points out disruption in pas- senger transportation isn't limited to TNCs. "e new scooter industry is worth billions of dollars." His reference is to hundreds of scooters found lining the entrances of the San Diego Conven- tion Center where the GBTA Conven- tion was held. Once set up, users can grab a scooter as long as they have a smartphone. By scanning a QR code on a scooter and providing a credit card, users can be on their way. iCars is a technology company partnered with hotels, airlines, travel companies, and cruise ships who book transportation for their clients. e app connects those partners to 550 licensed operators who have access to 20,000 vehicles as well as connecting the licensee operators to each other. Bauer says his audience is the corpo- rate B2B traveler who cares about duty of care as well as convenience and in- novation. To that end, many operators participating in the iCars network run Tesla vehicles, adding a unique experi- ence for passengers concerned about the environment. "At the end of the day, what we do is completely di‹erent than what TNCs are doing," Bauer said. "We are taking the black car that's been used for hundreds of years and `making it easier for them to use." Bauer is also seeing a trend of business travelers who have given TNCs a try and are coming back for luxury. Bauer cited a corporate travel booker who reports booking 50,000 trips a year who says they have had complaints from travelers about TNC car smells, dog hair, drivers reek- ing of marijuana, and other nuisances. Scott Solombrino, Dav El | Boston- Coach Chau•eured Transportation Network, Boston, Mass. e people who are really important to successful corporations are not using TNCs, said Solombrino, CEO. "We don't see degradation in C Suite business Bruce Boillotat, Lauren Roberts, and Brian Kelley of U.S. Sedan Service Worldwide. Gary Bauer gives a presentation at the iCars booth.

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