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Look up in the convention center. It's an LCT drone looking back at you!
Letting a week lapse between a trade show and blog post has its pros and cons: Immediacy fades, but memory settles. As often happens, an LCT trade show brings out some unique and first-time happenings. One week later, here are some of my most notable observations about the 2014 LCT-NLA Show East:
There was as much excited talk about next year’s show at the new Harrah’s Resort conference center as about this show in the moment. That’s a good sign, now that LCT-NLA has emerged as the sole B2B franchise serving the core Northeast corridor of the limousine industry. See you on Nov. 8-10, 2015, and we pledge to do it all even better.
- If you entered the show floor just after the ribbon cutting with Ty Bobit, you likely heard some buzzing overhead and saw a saucer like contraption with red and green lights. LCT flew the first every “photo-drone” to get aerial shots and video of attendees pouring onto the floor at the Atlantic City Convention Center. I’ll admit to reading a lot of symbolism into everyday things, but the drone more than anything should signify the new technology wave and transformative business trends already upon us.
- The coolest technology tidbit I gleaned on the floor was Cadillac/GM's OnStar 4G LTE wireless access to be installed on the next production crop of livery 2015 Escalades, to rollout next month. The OEM-installed feature will enable clients to have wireless access in the vehicle for all tablets and gadgets. That puts chauffeured services on the same level as airports, airlines, hotels, Starbucks, and any place that now offers free Wi-Fi. The 4G LTE feature will be installed on the XTS-L starting in the first quarter of 2015.
LCT scores on vehicle brand diversity. Hyundai Equus and Maserati Quattroporte back to back.
- LCT scored another first with the Maserati exhibit of its Quattroporte S Q4 premium sedan, which has a V-6 twin-turbo engine with 404 hp. It can go 0-60 in 4.8 seconds. Base price: $106,000. Maserati, with its cachet as an Italian luxury brand, fits perfectly into the luxury image and fleet menu of the chauffeured transportation industry. David Bastian, sales manager of Towne Livery, is the first livery dealer to offer Maserati vehicles to the limo operators. The Maserati was parked almost trunk to trunk with a Hyundai Equus — the point being that I believe the limousine industry can reap many benefits from running a wide variety of luxury fleet vehicles for every client taste. I hope that the emerging younger generation of operators embraces brand diversity on behalf of their generational counterparts, who retain more flexible brand loyalties.
The more casual and coarse society gets, the more chauffeured service can gleam with a counter-couture-culture.
As the dates for autonomous milestones move up, motorists retain a healthy skepticism of self-driving vehicles.
Opposite sides rage against the ride app machine: When do you consider an app legit?
What happens when the big buses are chauffeured, while more sedans to the airport are driven?
I did a test recently of two almost identical limo rides to and from the airport. It's time to talk about rates.