During the past six months, I had the good fortune to hitch various limousine company rides in a variety of sedans, taking note of the specific vehicle, condition, amenities, and most importantly, chauffeur service and professionalism. I was transported in a Lincoln MKT Town Car and Navigator, Cadillac XTS, Chevrolet Tahoe, Tesla Model S, and a classic long-in-the tooth Town Car Executive L that still held its own.
My experiences led me to write an article in the August issue, “Still Searching For the Perfect Limo Sedan” that queried operators to find out what vehicles they are adding — or considering adding — since the demise of the Town Car. As you will read, not a lot of happy campers. But back to my experiences.
I’m tall, so 90% of vehicles are a tight fit, so I’m conditioned for cramped quarters and various head and knee dings. Of course, I am in good shape in a large SUV or stretch, so that is always a plus for six-foot-plus folks. But what I realized during my travels, regardless of the rear-seat comfort, was that the professional chauffeur service I received more than made up for any issues with head or legroom.
Here are some observations:
- Every chauffeur arrived at least 15 minutes prior to scheduled pickup and texted me upon arrival.
- At the airport, most of the chauffeurs used a tablet as signage, which is bright and easy to see in crowded baggage areas — and just so much more modern and professional. I also noticed that passengers would glance at the iPad obviously impressed that the chauffeur was using today’s technology as part of their service … good marketing especially if your company logo is displayed somewhere.
- Every vehicle was clean, odor free and water bottles provided. The small things do matter nowadays because the majority of domestic airlines are dirty — they just give a plane a quick once-over between flights to remove trash — so a clean vehicle makes you feel refreshed right away.
- One chauffeur was really on his game, asking me if the air conditioning was OK, did I want to stop en route for coffee, and told me the ETA right away. His tip increased exponentially with each bit of added service.
- Every chauffeur greeted me with a smile and firm handshake….that is so welcoming after hectic or late-arriving flights.
I think about my professional chauffeured experiences every time I write about Uber or Lyft and realize the TNCs can’t match their service and professionalism and that is our industry’s competitive advantage.
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