Luxury Coach & Transportation

June /July 2019

Magazine for the professional limousine, charter and tour industry.

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28 LUXURY COACH & TRANSPORTATION JUNE / JULY 2019 WWW.LCTMAG.COM PEOPLE Ralf Buelter, CEO and founder TOP ALLIANCE FRANKFURT, GERMANY One of the biggest challenges for our industry in Germany and Europe is explaining the price of a quality limousine service to our customers compared with other modes of transportation they can get with just one click on the market. More customers, particularly "digital natives," perceive a quality limousine service just as a TNC with nicer cars but higher prices. Here we have to show them the difference with dependability, professionalism, friendliness of our staff, and simply better service. That's why we just expand our business to Switzerland where we can offer our customers in Zürich enhanced services like pick up directly in the baggage area and convenient access to the airport. Our customers must be inspired by our service. Tom and Ann Olson, owners STELLAR LIMOUSINE, LLC SIOUX FALLS, S.D. Operating a transportation business in a more rural/ suburban area of the country brings with it a completely diverse set of concerns than one would anticipate. Be- ing in a region with very few transportation providers, we must maintain a diversiˆed ‰eet in order to meet the needs of the community, as well as to ensure we are allowing ourselves as many opportunities as possible to do business. In addition to the difˆculty of being in a small region of operators, we also experience a lack of ability to collaborate with others in this industry. This leaves us to be highly self-sufˆcient and motivated when it comes to thinking outside the box as far as service levels and pricing. One more differential is the fact we sit near three state lines. If we didn't pay for and maintain the credentials and licensing for interstate service, we'd limit our busi- ness exponentially! There are a limited number of operators to bounce ideas off of. As one of the few providers in our area, we must continuously assess and perfect our services in order to perpetuate the standards. Much like others in our industry, we also struggle to ˆnd and hire professional, committed chauffeurs. The industry, and our region, allow us to continue to grow in our knowledge and execution of this business. Too many vehicles that need work can lead to prices that undervalue our service. When the industry is battling to keep wheels rolling and drivers busy, we may not be meeting the margins we need to operate a successful company. If I am not running a successful company, how does that change my succession plan? Kim Grzywacz We are required to hire chauffeurs who have a clean driving record, and need them to submit to a pre- employment drug test, be up for random drug testing, and also need to be ˆngerprinted which can run about two weeks to process for us. Jess Sandhu Nina Parson, director of sales COMPANY CAR AND LIMOUSINE CLEVELAND, OHIO I've given so much thought to our industry and it reminds me of growing up in the middle of Amish country Ohio. It's a large but small community — large by numbers, but small by relationship status as most people know everyone. It's kind of a love-hate relationship. In a strange way, it reminds me of when my uncle died in a car accident. The community banded together, but then judged all my aunt's decisions after the fact. The same thing happened when my 20-year-old cousin committed suicide. Our industry is similar: When someone needs an afˆliate recommendation we band together, but when it's not in the heat of the moment, we judge each other's moves. I think we need to spend less time talk- ing about each other on social media (both in public posts and direct messages) and more time ˆguring out the best ways to help each other succeed.

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