Industry Research

Reach For the Stars/Live Above The Bar

Posted on January 29, 2009 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

VEGAS, BABY — Well, how about that; the chauffeured transportation industry proved that a recession will not get it down and out. What a spectacular way to celebrate a quarter century of limousine trade shows.

The 25th annual International LCT Show that wrapped up in Las Vegas yesterday proved a resounding success, with attendance and attitude above expectations. LCT Publisher and Show Chair Sara Eastwood and CEO Ty Bobit are thrilled with and thankful for the positive atmosphere.

LCT won’t have final attendance numbers out for another week or so, but given earlier estimates and a lot of last minute closers, we would say definitely upwards of 2,000 attendees, very likely north of 2,500. In an economic era when flat is the new up, flat means strength, and down does not mean out, the 2009 attendance will prove to be a strong leading indicator for the chauffeured transportation industry.

Industry booster and heckler Scott Solombrino summed it up best in his State of the Industry speech on Monday: “We need to not jump off a bridge.”

The CEO of Dav El Chauffeured Transportation Network explained how the media exaggerates daily the recession into a Depression. So many of the layoffs and cutbacks we hear and read about are done out of a miscalculated, preemptive fear, he said.

Coachbuilders on the show floor reported getting strong interest and leads, and even some sales, for both stretches and buses. Foot traffic on the floor stuck around for a solid flow through the third day.

Keynote speaker Mike Lipkin proved that you can draw a crowd, even at 3:40 p.m. on a Wednesday of the show, generally the wind-down twilight time of any conference. Building on his morning keynote address, Lipkin packed in operators and attendees for some pointed, practical steps toward business “preeminence.”

Speaking to economic challenges faced by operators, Lipkin dissected FEAR. What is FEAR? False Evidence Appearing Real. How to respond? With, FEAR, of course: Face Everything And Rule.

As to the overall vibe of the show, operators and attendees this year were more serious-minded and focused, which enriched the quality of the networking, seminar dialogues, and information sharing. This year, partying took a back seat to bonding and regrouping for the long haul.

Two take away phrases from the show:

“Embrace Change” – Sara Eastwood

“Live Above the Line” – Mike Lipkin

Look for more ILCT Show coverage in this Driving Force e-newsletter, the Limo Centric blog, and in the April issue of LCT Magazine.

And see you again in 2010, same place, same time. Cheers to a positive year.

Source: Martin Romjue, LCT Magazine

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