Luxury Coach & Transportation

December 2018

Magazine for the professional limousine, charter and tour industry.

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Cathleen Lamprecht offers useful tips for operators looking to pursue the Chinese market as well as quality afliates everywhere. By Lexi Tucker, LCT associate editor GLOBAL /INTERNATIONAL: OPERATOR PROFILE S HANGHAI, China — Before she got involved in the luxury ground transportation business, Cathleen Lamprecht, co-owner of BCD Limo, never thought she'd be a part of it. Years ago, she didn't even know limousine service was a separate industry; she always thought corpora- tions, movie companies, and major brands owned the cars and chauƒeurs themselves. After getting involved, she grew to love what she does, and values the relationships she's formed. Winning Business In China For American companies doing busi- ness in China, rates are important, but not the only factor to consider. "I know a lot of transportation companies in China label their cars. If you are look- ing for someone to represent you, make sure to ask about that," she says. English-speaking chauƒeurs are also not that common. "In our ˆeet, we have diƒerent levels of English-speaking chauƒeurs: Ones who can communicate ˆuently, and ones who can only greet and communicate with software. Be sure to get clari‹cation on that as well." Some car models in China may not exist in America; for example, the most common sedan, the Audi A6L, is a longer version of the A6 and has more room. SUVs as chauƒeur service vehicles are also not as common. Ask about the type of cars that can be used, and don't assume. "A lot of the time, peoples' mentali- ties diƒer among countries. Open lines of communication are best to ensure nothing gets lost in translation. Asking detailed questions can help you avoid a lot of unnecessary incidents." Same Challenges, Various Locations Her service areas pose many challenges that resemble those operators face worldwide. One is to hire and keep talented, English-speaking chauƒeurs. "We overcame this issue by giv- ing them competitive bene‹ts, good pay, and oƒering them part ownership of the vehicle they are driving so they can treat it as their own. Sometimes I joke with my partners the drivers are making more money than us." •e second challenge for the com- pany was to collect foreign credit card payments, as China has strict rules on foreign currency regulations and POS machines. "We solved this by using a merchant service com- pany in Canada. In the beginning, we ran into issues with getting the money back into our account from the merchant service company, but that has ‹nally been solved this year." BCD Is Born After Lamprecht graduated from col- lege in Montreal, Quebec, she moved to China to start her own businesses in 2009. Because her family has been in the wine business for over 28 years, she ‹rst started a wine importing com- pany. In 2010, many wineries came to China to exhibit at the World Expo. Her company and some of her friends provided free chauƒeured car service for the wineries that attended that year. Although BCD didn't get paid for its services, visitors appreciated them and tipped the chauƒeurs well. "One of 2 6 WWW.LCTMAG.COM LUXURY COACH & TRANSPORTATION DECEMBER 2018 Shanghai Company Seeks Relationships Before Prot Cathleen Lamprecht, co-owner of BCD Limo

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