This year’s bus issue confirms more than ever how buses of all types have taken hold in the limousine industry. While stretch limousine demand shows some improvement, you could argue that the minibus and/or Sprinter Vans have become another type of limo in a post-recession climate.
Since LCT renamed and rebranded itself as Limousine, Charter & Tour in February 2009, we’ve seen widening confirmation of the trend we spotted four years ago: That limos and buses now often serve many of the same customers and markets. The size and passenger capacity of fleet buses have gradually increased, as evidenced by this month’s cover of veteran limousine operator Bill Wheeler who moved into the mid-coach service market this year with five Temsa buses.
With such a variety of buses on the market, we’re seeing more trade show real estate devoted to everything from nine-passenger luxury Sprinter vans to 57-passenger motorcoaches. What this means is if you are not interested in buses yet, your customers will be, so the profitable bus demand is coming to you.
From a bus point of view, limousine operators have asked me recently what the difference is between the Bus Con Expo in Chicago, Sept. 9-11, (www.busconexpo.com) and the LCT Show East in Atlantic City, N.J. Oct. 27-29 (www.lctshoweast.com). Each Show has a strong niche but also carries enough clout to have a lot of crossover appeal to both charter bus and chauffeured transportation operators.
So let me break it down for you so you can make the most of product and business opportunities:
The 18th annual Bus Con Expo is put on by Bobit Business Media and Metro Magazine, also owned by BBM, each year in Chicago. It offers scores of bus models for the public transit and private ground transportation sectors of all types, including paratransit, shuttles and education-related. Some of the models at Bus Con can be found at the LCT Shows, since more and more limousine operators are diversifying into ground transportation services beyond luxury, and in some cases, contracting for public bus services. When we piggy backed the 2010 LCT Leadership Summit with Bus Con in September of that year, we noticed the growing synergy between operators and bus models that hadn’t been there before. This year, there will be more bus manufacturers than ever who plan to feature vehicles using a wide array of propulsion systems, including electric, natural gas and propane. Bus Con also is holding more education sessions and tracks than at any previous Expo.
LCT Show East, put on by LCT Magazine, Bobit Business Media, and the National Limousine Association, is the go-to, all-inclusive trade show for the chauffeured transportation and private charter bus industries. Taking place at Caesars Atlantic City and the Atlantic City (N.J.) Convention Center, the event revives the original LCT trade show legacy that started in Atlantic City in 1984. This Show is exclusively for limousine operators AND any limo or bus operator running private-sector bus vehicles, especially ones that cater to the above average and luxury-driven clients. You’ll see buses of all sizes of the highest caliber on our Show floor, assuring an engaging selection of quality, elegant and value-driven vehicles. Furthermore, if you are a novice at running buses, an experienced hand, or just ready to plunge in, this Show has something for each of you. Products and educational seminars will help you learn more about the bus business and help you make the most profitable decisions for your fleets and operations.
LCT Show East and Bus Con Expo are complementary trade shows, the trendsetters and leaders in their respective industries with growing attendee bases and abundant resources for business success. I will leave it to you to determine if Bus Con works in your favor, but I know for sure that LCT Show East will no doubt be the talk of the industry as it prepares your operations for better coach, minibus, van and limo service.