I spent a recent weekend in Washington, D.C. visiting my daughter at college and taking my nephew for his first visit to D.C. Our first stop was at college to drop off groceries to my daughter. When we got into her dorm room, hanging on the door was a black ball gown. “What’s the occasion?” I asked.
“Tonight is the Founder’s Ball at the Portrait Gallery,” she explained.
“Do you need a car?” I asked. Carey’s corporate headquarters is just up the road from campus and my own company keeps cars in Georgetown only a few miles down the road.
“No. We are taking UBER,” she said.
“What?” I asked. Yes, fire was shooting out my ears, and yes, she knew I was not thrilled. In our house UBER is an obscenity never to be spoken aloud
“Yeah. It’s great. I have the app on my phone and it is cheaper than a cab. I will probably UBER four times tonight because I also have a party after the ball.”
First, my daughter is a traitor to the industry, but I can relate as I was once a poor college student. Her entire bill for rides that night would be under $50. Our industry can’t and won’t touch that. She explained to me that car service won’t work since she doesn’t know when she wants to leave. If it is good, she will stay. but if it is boring she will UBER out of there.
Let’s face it folks, UBER is here to stay.
1. It is convenient
2. It is cheap.
3. It appeals to the younger generation who want instant gratification.
4. It is techno savvy like its customers.
Years ago, Lenox China did an advertising campaign in Seventeen Magazine. We all know that 17-year-old girls are not buying china, but Lenox knew who the future buyers of china are. They did an incredible job of building brand loyalty into their luxury brand. Our industry also needs to find a way to capture that market. Luxury car service should not be perceived for only weddings by the younger generation. UBER has marketed well to our future users and hopefully has not cut us out of the equation making car service as obsolete as the dinosaurs I saw in the science museum.
Knowing that the whole concept of my kid taking UBER was a thorn in my side, my daughter decided to have fun with me by getting my nephew who is 8-years-old on the UBER bandwagon. The walk from the Adams Morgan Metro stop is a little more than a half mile. After walking around the zoo for the day, my nephew complained that his feet were on fire and asked if we could UBER!?
— Linda Jagiela, LCT contributing writer
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