A recent news story in the New York Times’ business section titled “Extra Pampering for Users of Car Services” is just the kind of press our industry needs right now. The article, which described chauffeured transportation as “safer and more comfortable than ever,” quoted credible operators such as Dawson Rutter of Commonwealth Limousine Service in Boston, and Michael Zappone of All Transportation Network, David Stone of Hollywood Limousine and Michael Rice of Tran-Star Executive, all based in New York.
The article provided an overview of what several operators are doing to create value-added benefits to their services without lowering their prices. There were also quotes from business travelers who love the dependability and peace of mind that chauffeured transportation provides them. Despite the recession, they know our services are still a must-have.
As we all know, economic downturns mean that consumers cut the frills out of their lives. Unfortunately, chauffeured transportation can be perceived as gluttonous in conservative times and may be chopped from budgets.
But this article is compelling evidence that we have the power to change that perception. The industry needs a strong publicity campaign in which we bombard the press with positive information. We need to extol our merits on a continuous basis and take charge of how luxury transportation is viewed by the public.
The Times article is just a sampling of what we can accomplish with a good public relations campaign. The New York Times is arguably one of the most influential daily newspaper in the country. It is distributed nationally and articles like this are often syndicated to other newspapers. In addition, the article was posted on the New York Times’ Web site.
Kudos to LCT Associate Publisher Neil Weiss for providing lots of background to the reporter and sending her to savvy operators who are strong representatives of the industry. And thanks to Tom Mazza, executive director of the National Limousine Association (and a former LCT editor), for also being on top of this story and getting a plug in for the NLA.
But let’s not stop here. Why not use this article as a springboard for even more media attention. The NLA’s Public Relations Committee should be encouraged to continue the momentum by forging relationships with newspaper editors and perhaps encouraging more of them to attend the LCT Show to truly get a flavor of what we’re all about.
This issue of LCT is our official 20th anniversary edition. It reflects on industry highlights and milestones spanning almost two decades and looks ahead to the future. I thought the New York Times’ article was most appropriate because it sets the perfect tone: We know our services are matchless and we know we offer a safe mode of transportation. Let’s focus more energy on letting everyone know what they are missing if a limousine hasn’t pampered them lately!