Luxury Coach & Transportation

December 2016

Magazine for the professional limousine, charter and tour industry.

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Page 39 of 75

38 LIMOUSINE, CHARTER & TOUR DECEMBER 2016 WWW.LCTMAG.COM SALES & MARKETING Selling Service In A Local Market With TNCs nipping at the heels of small operators, selling your services is more important than ever — so learn how to stay ahead. By Jim A. Luff, LCT contributing editor T here's no doubt TNCs like Uber and Lyft are encroach- ing in local markets. With Uber intro- ducing "scheduled rides" in many cities, operators are find- ing themselves challenged to maintain a share of the pie they once owned. There are still many advantages of us- ing a livery service over a TNC, but we must sell those reasons to our business community. What Happened In Local Markets? Shortly after Uber launched in March 2009 in San Francisco, many small to mid-sized op- erators around the country watched in amusement. The thought of private citizens driv- ing their personal vehicles with passengers seemed preposterous. No one believed it would take off. When TNCs began expanding into other major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Chicago, the same operators shrugged their shoulders and falsely believed cities of less than 500,000 people would probably never see TNCs arrive in their communities. That was shorter than eight years ago. Now, the small town of Shafter, Calif., with a population of only 17,000 people, is served by Uber. No one is shrugging their shoulders anymore. TNCs are here to stay. We should have been educat- ing our small community markets long before they arrived. But we didn't, and now we must play a catch-up game of convincing our once loyal local business customers why they should continue to use our service. Throwing Media Stones One tool TNCs continually give us to use against them is bad publicity. Ev- erything from rapes to kidnappings, murders to uninsured accidents, and of course, their "surge-pricing" tactics. However, unless your business clients are living under a rock, you really don't need to spend too much time throwing out the statistics of danger. However, you might consider includ- ing in a "sell sheet" or proposal a few media stories about things that have gone wrong with TNCs. The Uber driver in Kalamazoo, Mich. accused of shoot-

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