Luxury Coach & Transportation

December 2018

Magazine for the professional limousine, charter and tour industry.

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LUXURY COACH & TRANSPORTATION DECEMBER 2018 23 Karim Maachi Owner and CEO, Cardel Global and Wanderlust Agency, Paris, France and Los Angeles, Calif. The luxury transportation industry is seeing an increase in operators like Karim Maachi, who boost their business reach by creating complementary ventures. As the owner and CEO of Cardel Global, one of the largest luxury chauffeured services in Paris, Maachi in recent years noticed a steady stream of business and private clientele moving between Paris and Los Angeles. In addition to ground transportation, these high-end clients need access to and reservations for charter jets, hotels, res- taurants, entertainment, and other luxury services. In April 2017, Maachi launched the Wanderlust Agency, a worldwide full concierge service to fulfill requests from his chauffeured clientele. The Wanderlust Agency has grown faster than he expected, and now serves 50 VIP clients on its roster. While Maachi's primary focus is still on Cardel Global, he now divides his time between his base in Paris and a new Wanderlust office in Beverly Hills that has a full-time concierge manager and a business developer. "After almost two years of seeing our French clients moving to the U.S. and many living in Los Angeles, we decided to open an office there and create a bridge with Paris," Maachi says. His clientele breaks down about 80% corporate/business and 20% private/lei- sure. Many of his clients have connections to the Southern California entertainment industry. Overall, 65% of Wanderlust clients came from Cardel Global, which runs 49 luxury chauffeured vehicles in Paris and Geneva, Switzerland, and uses affiliates in Los Angeles. "I saw an opportunity to create a business related to our trans- portation service," Maachi says. "This is a good way to diversify and have real synergy among your businesses. It's not that difficult to grow your network." As Maachi has proven, one business can lead to another. With a rising number of French residents moving to Los Angeles, he is laying the groundwork to launch a service focused on helping expatriates adjust to the U.S. and navigate immigration and the legal paperwork needed to do business and reside here. He's developed relationships with the French Chamber of Commerce, the local French consulate, immigration lawyers, accountants, and real estate agents to refer clients. The goal is to provide French and international entrepreneurs, and arts and entertainment professionals, custom relocation packages based on the profile of the client. "You have to approach your clients in different ways, and use your professional experience in the transportation industry to diversify your business," Maachi says. sector, Secure has created a new division in its company based on security-oriented driving and service, which operates distinct from its standard luxury chauffeured service division. Its chauffeurs have undertaken security driv- ing courses run by former members of Special Escort Group, an elite cadre of metropolitan police officers who escort and coordinate the routes of royal vehicles. Their chauffeurs are trained in anti- hijacking and anti-terror driving techniques well beyond standard defensive driving. They must take exams informed by the Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM/Roadsmart). "People who pass these exams are statistically better equipped with their observation skills so they do not have accidents," Fraser says. "They are about 75-80% less likely to have accidents. The training heightens your observation on what is going on to the front, side, and back of you. The observation is so well honed, you anticipate better what can happen on the road. You see what others don't and can take evasive action." Only 50 chauffeurs in the U.K. have reached the highest level of professional security driving, and 13 of them work for Secure Ground Transportation. Several of the chauffeurs are trained in First Aid, and one is a paramedic. Davies and Fraser take this se- cure driving approach because there is not enough demand in the U.K. for armored vehicles, and chauf- feurs and the general citizenry are not allowed to carry firearms. Only members of the military and law enforcement are allowed to carry weapons. Secure runs a fleet of 18 S-Class Mercedes-Benz, 15 Mercedes-Benz Viano minivans, two Range Rov- ers, seven Sprinters, and one motorcoach. Among its other practices is a 15-minute-after waiting policy where the chauffeur must stay near the drop-off point after a client leaves the vehicle and does a complete sweep of the vehicle. This helps retrieve lost or forgotten items of the client as well as stand ready in case the client's appointment has been canceled. For women traveling alone, chauffeurs escort them to and from the vehicle when picking up and dropping off. "We make a point of getting to know clients, and for the first five or six times, we drive them," Davies says. "They know us and we know their likes and dislikes. Anytime they have a problem, they can call us. We get to know all of our clients personally." Neil Davies and Gary Fraser

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