Luxury Coach & Transportation

February 2014

Magazine for the professional limousine, charter and tour industry.

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54 LIMOUSINE, CHARTER & TOUR FEBRUARY 2014 WWW.LCTMAG.COM LCT SHOW EAST SESSION SERIES: TECHNOLOGY How Operators Can Compete With Mobile "On-Demand" Technology By Tim Crowley, LCT senior editor A TLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Opera- tors packed into the ballroom during the f nal day of LCT Show East, ready to hear the latest insights from an expert panel on how mobile technol- ogy is bringing changes to limo operators and their clients. The panel included Amy Harris of Deem Ground, Apurva Patel of Ground- Widgets, Chris McCrae of Sedan Magic, and LCT publisher Sara Eastwood-McLean. Ever present on the minds of opera- tors, Uber was a prime topic. The session kicked off with a video featuring exactly how Uber works. The video demonstrat- ed how an order is placed using the inter- active map feature with simple touches, and how within minutes a chauffeured vehicle arrives at your destination. Use of mobile applications for trans- portation is already in full swing and growing by the day. More than 3,000 apps are available for on-demand car service all over the world, and mobile apps are beginning to target more spe- cif c consumer segments. There are 91.4 million smartphone users in the U.S. alone, and 80% of the world's population now owns a mobile phone. With the rise of Uber, consumers can get transportation at a moment's notice, wherever they are. Termed "disruptive technology," Harris opened with some research from a survey of corporate travel man- agers from Fortune 500 companies to see how on-demand apps affect their buying habits. As the industry transitions to the new technologies, she brought out new insights. On-Demand Well On Its Way "The research indicates that corporate travel managers are very interested in mo- bile apps for a variety of reasons that are no different than they are for everyday us- ers, because mobile apps are easy to use," Harris said. She noted that travel managers are excited about using apps for ground transportation because with almost every- one having a smartphone, no new equip- ment will be needed for start-up. As of now, survey responses show that travel managers believe the current method of booking for ground transporta- tion is adequate, but that the needs will change. "If an executive has a very im- portant f ight or meeting, they are far less likely to book using a mobile app because of the dependability risk," she said. They'll use an established ground transportation provider with an advanced reservation to make sure everything goes smoothly. But times are changing fast. As members of the Millennial/ Y generation move up into the ranks of middle management, the overall buying behavior will shift towards more mobile use. "They want on-demand functionality," said Sara of the new gen- eration, and the numbers from the survey show that corporate travelers will become more inclined to use mobile on-demand technology to book ground transporta- tion in the near future. According to the research, when travel managers were asked how im- portant on-demand booking is for both "today" and "in one year," their responses show that although they might not necessarily need the on- demand service now, they are look- ing down the line and thinking about how it could increase eff ciencies. Apps Vs. Operations Apurva Patel of GroundWidgets noted that with mobile apps, the main priority of the business traveler is safety and re- liability. He advised that it is crucial for operators to begin investing in mobile technology just like they do with vehicles and chauffeurs. Expert panel (L to R): Apurva Patel of GroundWidgets, Amy Harris of DeemGround, Sara Eastwood-McLean of LCT Magazine, and Chris McCrae of RideCharge/Taxi and Sedan Magic. To help understand how mobile technology is revolutionizing the industry, a panel of experts tackled the tough questions before an engaged audience. Source: 2013 Market Research Study which is the outcome of a collaboration between Deem Ground and LCT Magazine/ Bobit Business Media. L I M O _ 0 2 1 4 m o b i l e . i n d d 5 4 LIMO_0214mobile.indd 54 1 / 2 1 / 1 4 1 1 : 5 7 A M 1/21/14 11:57 AM

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