Post-Show: Debriefing I

Posted on January 29, 2009 by LCT Magazine

My flight from L.A. to Vegas on Sunday did not look good, at least from a revenue standpoint; only 35 passengers in a 137-seat jet bound for Vegas, Philadelphia, and Providence, R.I. L.AX usually teems with passengers going everywhere all the time, so being surrounded by empty seats and having a row to myself for the first time in a decade made we wonder about attendance at our International LCT Show.

While circling the Vegas sprawl during a sunny, windy morning descent, the plane lurched, and pitched, and bucked, until finally it landed in a way that felt like a rolling jumping jack popping up and getting mashed onto the runway. Maybe the recessionary flight wasn't ready to land in a town where unemployment is 10% and Vegas hotels and casinos are cutting room rates Wal-Mart style. Not to mention the empty, Mediterranean themed subdivisions and condo canyons that have become very squatter-friendly.

The Vegas airport was empty, my baggage was already in the claim office, and there were no lines for anything. Sunday morning? Shouldn't the place be packed with hungover weekenders headed home? I pondered these questions in a stretch limo to the Palazzo Resort Hotel & Casino, which helped offset the recessionary lurch into Vegas and the faded auras of air travel.

Whatever the reasons for the empty airports, such was not the case at our annual ILCT Show, where, yes, attendance was down compared to 2008, but far better than projected. And it certainly blew out all the rumor-mongering that preceded the show about cancellations and collapsing coachbuilders. This Show was special because it brought forth the more serious minded operators and industry stalwarts open to change and finding new ways to succeed. Despite economic pain, there was a lot of practical gain. There's nothing like a setback to focus and strengthen the mind and sharpen the plan. 

I can't fully buy into the Armageddon economy just yet, given all the people I saw at slot machines and craps tables, the $8.50 turkey sandwiches at the Venetian food court, the $10 shooters, the $5 coffees (jacked up $1 from coffee houses every place else), packed night clubs, the selection of luxury goods retailers I still can't pronounce. Is this really a severe recession? And what about all those families with kids wandering around on a Monday and Tuesday? Do they have the leisure time to take the kids out of school and spend money at a casino resort?

Yes, we talked to plenty of operators down for the year in revenue and clients, but relative to some big boom growth years in 2003-2007, preceded by even bigger boom years from 1995-2001, interrupted only by 9/11 and a dainty recession that was portrayed by the media as a hands-across-America bread line.

Whatever happens in the following months, this show was a confidence builder for the industry. Group ground transportation, whether luxury or standard, will help American corporations and consumers save money. Those careful spenders will be receptive to any marketing messages that assure them of maximum value for a decent price.

Besides, even during the Great Depression, a sliver of the population dined at country clubs and bought luxury goods. In our decade, that economic class will gradually emerge, otherwise known as the governmentally stimulated. So make sure you market to all the gravy-licking porkers lubricated by the omni-busty, maxi-fluffed bailout bill stuffed with our tax dollars. Knowing the collective waste and incompetence of our federal government, get ready for someone, somewhere to have a government-supplied shovel ready job for $100k per year -- "Need a Town Car to the construction site? Can we take you to your next windmill installation gig in a stretch?"

For small business owners and operators, that will be the only way you ever get some of that stimulus redistributed back to yourself. -- M.R.


View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)


Bus-ting Out

More LCT Blog Blog Posts

October 1, 2012

Event Management

Don't let your guests down. Here are some things to think about before the event starts.

September 26, 2012

October LCT Mag Focuses On Customer Service

ISSUE PREVIEW: What does he think? What did she really say? Are you channeling your customers? In the October 2012 issue of LCT Magazine, you’ll get a complete primer on how to read and please your
September 26, 2012

Driverless Cars Legalized In California

With no need for people to operate vehicles, how can limo companies adapt to the new world of transportation?
September 26, 2012

Manners Still Matter On Social Media

It has never before been easier for businesses to share information, insight and intimacy with consumers; it has also never been easier to offend them. Read more to learn how to avoid a social media faux pas.
September 20, 2012

My First Encounter With The 2013 Lincoln MKT Town Car

On my trip to Chicago last week for the 2012 BusCon Expo, I had the pleasure of experiencing a new ride — the 2013 MKT Town Car.
See More

Facebook Comments ()

Comments (0)

Post a Comment



See More

See More

See More

See More

LCT Store

LCT Magazine - October 2016 $12.95 COVER STORY: * Leverage Tech To Levitate Your Operations * *


Experience the three annual industry events for networking for business, showcasing vehicles and products, and getting the tools for success.

Read About Your Region

What’s Happening Near You?
Click on any state to see the latest industry news and events in that region.

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment


Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Metro Magazine

Serving the bus and passenger rail industries for more than a century

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

Please sign in or register to .    Close