Industry Research

New Cars, New Tech Open Creative Opps For Limo Operators

Posted on April 3, 2013 by Sara Eastwood-McLean - Also by this author

I took my 10-year-old son, Spencer, to see the movie, The Incredible Bert Wonderstone in mid-March. If you have not seen this movie, you must! The message is inspiring. . . and timely.

The story is about a man who has been doing the same job for more than a decade (in this case, entertaining people with magic) and who’s become mechanical and spiritless, and ultimately out of date. He can only think about how to spend his money. He does not care that his entire act, including props and equipment, are old. He has hit the wall and is “checked out,” as they say.

Success goes to Bert’s (portrayed by Steve Carrel) head. Instead of reinventing himself, he devolves into a male diva, who has one pity party after another and becomes consumed with overindulgence. He morphs into a shell of the person he once was and finds himself helpless to resurrect his show before he is unseated by a new kind of “street” magician on the cutting edge of magic, played by Jim Carrey. The ending is amazing. As you can guess, after Bert hits the all-time low, he realizes that somewhere, somehow he lost his passion — the spark that first propelled him to magic stardom. 

This story ties into a conversation I had recently with an operator/friend who had just come back from a state association meeting. He said it was depressing that all people did throughout the meeting was complain about the Town Car retiring and what to do with their fleets, and how Uber Car was going to bring down the industry.
Folks, are we stuck? The Town Car is yesterday. The last body style was crafted in 1994 with a minor update in 1998. It’s 2013!

We have a chance to reinvent our industry and our unique businesses. If you recall, just five years ago, EVERYONE had identical fleets and EVERYONE was complaining that the limousine business was commoditized. And we were all blaming it on the uniform look of the cars everyone was driving. I think we need to take a step back and look at situations as opportunities. I understand that fleet changes are stressful and can be costly, yet I see a window that’s been opened for us all to breathe some fresh air as well.

Uber is a breakthrough technology. No argument about it. The company is a bit of a menace because they are pilfering chauffeurs who are on your clocks. I get that. The company is beset with problems as evidenced by the weekly negative press. Do you not see the opportunities this presents? The technology will be refined many times to work into our world, which will open many more doors for you. We are just beginning to see what their pioneering spirit will lead us to. But for now, their screw-ups are your gains! You should be able to easily sell against them to your top-line clients. Everyone cares about safety and Uber Cars are not safe. What’s worse, they have no skin in the game — no exposure should something go wrong. Read their client contract online and it will make your hair stand on end.

We need to find our passion again. I said it at the International LCT Show. I will say it again to you now: Creativity is key to business growth. LCT is happy to bombard you with ideas. Please come to the 2013 LCT Leadership Summit in Miami Beach June 9-11 where we will tackle the issue of moving from PC-based companies into the tablet and mobile playground. We will have the Disney Leadership Institute conducting a four-hour Customer Service program, because in one way or another, we are all paying lip service to it.

I have recently created a new industry group (free of charge to join) called the LCT FAST 40 for owners and principals of companies who are under 40 years old. So if you are feeling stale, drop in on that group’s first meeting at the Summit, and then again when they will meet at the LCT Show East in Atlantic City this fall, as well as next year’s International LCT Show in Las Vegas.

Sara Eastwood-McLean
LCT Publisher
[email protected]

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