Industry Research

Sparks Keep Flying After 30 Years

Posted on April 1, 2014 by Sara Eastwood-McLean - Also by this author

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — I’ve been on an extra creative kick the last few years, as you can see from our two most recent International LCT Shows. Last year, keynote speaker Erik Wahl, a graffiti artist, author and entrepreneur, wowed us with his instant paintings on stage while speaking on the “art of leadership.” He told us we are all born artists, with the ability to learn, adapt and develop new ideas and solutions.

That led me to this year’s theme of “Spark Your Creativity” and keynote speaker Daymond John, the “Shark Tank” judge and Hip-Hop fashion icon. As you can read in this issue, John’s success story took a lot of guts, determination and quick-thinking. For the second year in a row, attendees packed the house to hear a one-of-a-kind business creator.

Creative Vibes
I have always been passionate about the theme of creativity in our industry and in business life. It’s what keeps me motivated and coming back to do things all over again in a better way. Our 30th anniversary Show reminded of why we should strive to think outside the box and take up new ideas year after year.

After years of presenting awards in banquet rooms with formal dinners, we held the program in a night club with perimeter seats and tables, bars, food stations and places to mingle. The results were we sold out tickets, and I’m still hearing attendees rave about the format and atmosphere. I had been challenged for years to liven up the LCT Magazine Awards Celebration. What I learned is that you, dear operators, don’t like to be confined or boxed in. You like to move about and do your thing!

The Show floor fit well with our theme when you look at all the vehicles on display. This was very much a bus show instead of the type of limo show we started 30 years ago. The mini-bus and van models get more creative each year with so many floor plans and interiors. The same goes for custom limousines, which prove stretches are still kicking it! Our clients all want an experience that is special, that belongs to them. Offering creatively designed vehicles is a key part of “delivering the moment.”

We also had a flavored water bar, gourmet coffee bar and lounge with bar and couch seating, all on the floor for the first time, thanks to generous sponsors. Our 30th anniversary birthday party added the flair of mini cupcakes and birthday martinis. Making the Show floor a networking hotspot as much as a buying center has been a constant creative challenge for me, and I’m already planning how to ratchet that up.

Creative Nerve
You’ll find that once you tap into your creative genes, you won’t be able to rest with just a few new ideas. Like the International LCT Show, our retreat-style Leadership Summit always provides the opportunity for new experiences. As soon as I got back from Las Vegas, I was off to Miami Beach scouting out the best locations and activities for our expected 150 attendees on May 18-20. We’ve varied our Summit locations since starting the event in 2000, with the Ritz-Carlton South Beach serving as our base three times in the last six years. This year, I chose the Eden Roc Hotel, a famous landmark hotel once popular with legendary celebrities and now remade into a hipster hotspot. We’re also setting up a dine-around networking evening with groups of attendees eating at different upscale restaurants in the Miami area with distinct cuisines. Go to as we create our exciting new schedule.

I’ve learned in my 23 years with LCT that creativity applies to any business in an industry, such as vehicles, insurance, technology or trade shows. LCT is branded as the original industry magazine and trade events, first to set new standards, create new experiences and take risks. No one else comes close.

Your brand as an operator or vendor is no different; it can be as original as you. You should always be asking: What can I do that hasn’t been done before? What will delight my customers and make them go, “Wow?” How can I make my business and my service more fun? What’s unique about my message?

To help you find solutions to those questions, my creative challenge going forward is to work with the NLA to keep coming up with sessions and forums that speak to your desires to better your business and bottom lines. We’ve been seeing your positive results for three decades — in the magazine and at our events. After 30 years, I know I can look forward to NEVER having to say, “I’ve been there, done that, heard it all.”

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