Chauffeured Tips From Mickey?

Posted on May 7, 2008 by LCT Magazine

The Wall Street Journal reports today that Walt Disney Co. saw net income rise 22 percent for its second fiscal quarter despite the troubled economy. (WSJ article only available through subscription but L.A. Times version here). Disney’s hotels, resorts, and theme parks all performed above expectations. Bookings for the rest of the year are slightly ahead of those for 2007. Disney, of course, appeals to visitors and tourists of all economic strata. Disney knows all too well that just about anyone who has a child will eventually visit at least one of its theme parks.

So what Disney lessons can be adapted to the limousine and chauffeured transportation industry during tough economic times? Disney CEO Ron Iger told the WSJ:

1) 75 percent of Disney hotels are “moderately priced” or “value-priced,” compared to 55 percent of rooms that were “premium priced” during the economic downturn of 1991. That has positioned Disney to maintain its customer traffic despite the economic troubles.
2) International visitors are up 25 percent compared to last year because of the weak dollar.
3) U.S. visitors are looking for simpler, shorter trips closer to home, and are more likely to hit theme parks.

So here are three ways operators can handle tough times: Offer competitive, special pricing; market to foreign tourists and visitors who may prefer chauffeured services; target U.S. travelers and tourists who may want chauffeured limo day trips this summer instead of an expensive vacation. -- M.R.
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