Luxury Coach & Transportation

March 2015

Magazine for the professional limousine, charter and tour industry.

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34 LIMOUSINE, CHARTER & TOUR MARCH 2015 WWW.LCTMAG.COM ILCT NEWSMAKER Q&A: CUSTOMER SERVICE / BUSINESS TRAVEL Hotel Exec Shows More Global Way To Chauffeured Service Hospitality industry and corporate travel veteran Ed Fuller explains how limousine operations can adapt to a world driven by more international business, TNC competition, and fve-star client demands. By Martin Romjue, LCT editor I RVINE, Calif. — The career and expertise of Edwin D. "Ed" Fuller bring together many of the knowledge bases and trends transforming chauffeured transporta- tion worldwide. As a keynote speaker at this year's International LCT Show, the former Marriott International hotelier-turned-consultant and prolifc global user of chauffeured transportation will discuss how operators can apply leadership and business relationship skills to become more competitive. While working at Marriott International, Fuller's leadership resulted in more than 80,000 new jobs worldwide, 555 hotels opening in 72 countries, $8 billion in annual sales, and the launches of multiple environmental, youth and educational efforts. Staying competitive is an over-arching theme of this year's Show as Transportation Network Companies and the technology spurring them challenge limousine opera- tions as never before. Fuller, the founder and president of Laguna Strategic Advisors, spoke at length with LCT a few weeks before the Show about how the hotel, business travel, and chauffeured transportation industries intersect in an ever more global economy that must embrace new technologies. As Fuller makes clear, there is much that opera- tors can learn. LCT: What has been your involvement with chauffeured transportation throughout your career, as a client and a hotel executive? Fuller: Overseas, we use limousines more for our clients and ourselves. The laws are different in foreign countries. People are not as comfortable driving in emerging markets. Hotels tend to have their own feets, such as in Hong Kong, Dubai and India. It's something we sel- dom see in the U.S. I've also gotten used to chauffeured service living in Laguna Hills. Getting to LAX in the diamond lane is the only way to be sure to make your fight. I also almost fell asleep once driving my car back from Los Angeles at night. I found out a chauffeured car is a better value in the long run. If I'm not on an expense account, I still use it on my own. I'm not a huge fan of taxi systems in our cities because of communication problems with the drivers, and drivers taking longer routes. I used Uber only once and that was the last time. It was not a good experience. • • • • • LCT: What have been some of your best experiences with chauffeured transportation? Fuller: The best have been in Asia and the Middle East, with the good quality of cars and staff. Hotels set up their head- quarter bases for chauffeur service and there are few problems. • • • • • LCT: What have been experiences you've had that limousine operators could learn from? Fuller: When a major brand sub-con- tracts to an affliate, there is occasionally a miscommunication. That has been my only complaint. I have never had a prob- lem with a limo company that makes the drive from point A to B. They know where they are going. GPS has elimi- nated most problems or diffculties. The service I use locally I've been riding with to LAX for 15 years. I know the chauf- feurs and they know me, my wife and my dogs. The personal attention and level of service is good. I use larger companies outside of my local area. • • • • • LCT: What are the most important service requirements for limo Former Marriott International Lodging Divi- sion President and Managing Director Ed Fuller says limousine operations need to prepare for the coming infux of international visitors, especially from China, who will not want to rent cars and are ripe for becoming chauffeured service clients. (All photos cour- tesy of www.edwinfuller.com)

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