This month’s 20th anniversary LCT Show, the chauffeured transportation’s largest annual gathering, is once again being held in Las Vegas, a destination that was built on providing an exceptional and fun time for everyone from high-rollers to wide-eyed couples who want to get married by Elvis. Limousines – they’re a big part of the Vegas experience.
* Airport transfers make up a significant percentage of operators’ business, followed by moving people among hotels on The Strip. * In addition to limousines, many companies operate vans and minibuses to shuttle customers to and from the airport and to transport groups during conventions and meetings. * Although some casinos have their own fleet of vehicles, most contract business out to operators. This provides the contracted operator with exclusive business and allows vehicles to be positioned at the hotel. * Business is beginning to rebound but has not yet reached pre-Sept.11 figures. Operators attribute this to cost-conscious travelers who are choosing to eliminate luxuries, such as chauffeured transportation.
* Strict regulations are administered by the Nevada Transportation Services Authority. The number and type of vehicles operated, as well as the prices charged, must be approved by the TSA. * A fleet-expansion cap was put into effect in June 2003 that allows operators to add a maximum of two vehicles to new and existing fleets. According to the TSA, this was prompted by saturation of the market. Some operators say this unfairly benefits larger, more established companies while shutting out upstart companies. * A legislative study began in November 2003 to determine whether a permit allocation system for limousines is necessary. This stems from conflicts between unlicensed limousine drivers and taxi operators in the city. * Most operators do support the regulations because of the city’s reputation for gypsies. They say the comfort and safety of customers is their No. 1 priority. * Chauffeurs who carry the appropriate certificate of public convenience and necessity issued by the TSA are allowed to pick up passengers without a reservation. Drivers are expected to call the unplanned trip to their dispatch office so proper documentation can be made.
* Thirty-four operators are registered with the TSA, of which 14 are considered large with 10 or more vehicles. * Las Vegas is home to three of LCT’s Top 50 Fleets in 2003: Bell Trans, CLS and On Demand Sedan & Limousine.
* Operators set published rates with the TSA. The rates cannot legally be negotiated with individual customers. * Sedans average $40 to $50 an hour. * Stretches average $65 to $75 an hour. * Exotic vehicles, such as large SUVs and Hummers, range from $70 to $150 an hour.
Image of Vegas
* Operators say the city’s current marketing campaign focusing on “what happens here, stays here” has had a positive impact on their industry. Travelers looking for an escape from their ordinary routine generate a large portion of business. * Although Las Vegas has tried to widen its appeal to families and children, limousine operators see more benefit from embracing the city’s roots as a place for adults to relax and let loose.
* Las Vegas has no local limousine association, but operators work together and with regulatory agencies to reach compromises on issues and procedures. * The relative proximity of the city’s airport, hotels and attractions in a broad swath along The Strip makes the majority of destinations less than 10 miles from any starting location. * Even though visitors account for much of operators’ business, residents, who now number more than one million, also like to step out in style with evenings on The Strip. This market segment constitutes a portion of limousine companies’ business.