This time of year is absolutely one of my most favorite times. Attending the International Limousine, Charter & Tour (ILCT) Show Feb. 13-15 is such a gold mine of opportunities. It is almost hard to decide what has the most value. There are networking opportunities, educational opportunities, and a chance to let your hair down and dance the night away. Well, I suppose IF I had hair, I would let it down.
On a serious note, I remember meeting Lisa Ortega, affiliate manager at BostonCoach at the ILCT Show. This was an opportunity of a lifetime. Being an affiliate for BostonCoach is a privilege. BostonCoach is not going to affiliate with just anyone. They want to meet you. They want to know you. The orders pour in through their automated “Afnet” system. There is no other affiliate that pays its bill like BostonCoach does. You can count on that check like clockwork. If you are not at the Show, you will never have this opportunity. But, it isn’t just BostonCoach. It is Music Express, EmpireCLS, Commonwealth and all the big key players under one roof. I’m not just talking about the “speed meet” opportunities. I once seized a moment to chat up Scott Solombrino, founder and CEO of Dave-El in a hotel deli. I have seized many opportunities to chat up Tom Mazza, an industry icon. I truly attribute so many affiliations with people I have met at the International LCT Show and remain grateful for the business they send us year round.
I have met people like Carla Boroday from Miami and sent her work. She got one of my clients in the swankiest restaurant in Miami with no wait. I have sent Chris Hecker work in Santa Barbara. I have sent Curt Chandler work in San Francisco, and Mo Garkani in Los Angeles has been a lifesaver over and over in customer service, and even repairing one of our vehicles for us when it broke down in his area. You just feel better putting your client in a car of someone you know personally.
As for the educational opportunities, I have been the teacher and I have been the student. Many people say that after 20 years in this business, I should be able to teach any class and perhaps you feel the same. But I am here to tell you that you can indeed teach an old dog new tricks. The fact is, employment laws change all the time. Federal DOT laws change regarding hours of service for drivers. Safety regulations change, and if you get audited and you are doing something wrong, saying, “I didn’t know” is not going to avoid a fine of $1,600 for a violation. Technology is ever changing. Offsite data backup and cloud computing didn’t even exist when I got in this business but sure has saved my hide as recently as last week when I accidentally deleted important data. Since most of us are no longer attending school, this is the once a year refresher course in things that otherwise might be passing us by.
Did you know that doctors are required to maintain a certain amount of continuing education and recertify with board examiners periodically? Think of the ILCT Show as a preventative maintenance for keeping your business healthy and running properly. Come visit me at the LCT booth during exhibit hall hours. I want to hear about what is important to you in the coming year. If you haven’t booked yet, don’t worry. You can register onsite when you arrive!
— Jim Luff, LCT contributing editor
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