So why did you get into the limousine and livery business in the first place? Do you remember the passion? Do you still have it?
Whether your business ambitions are waxing or waning, the International LCT Show 2008 has been structured and refined for you to fulfill its theme: “Ignite Your Passion.” The annual convention, trade show, celebration, and gala runs March 17-19 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. The event is designed to reconnect the estimated 4,000 participants with the many reasons they love the industry. So if you don’t leave motivated, passionate, committed, and directed – well, then, no excuses allowed.
“You have to think outside of the box and have a passion for what you are doing,” says Y Fray, owner of ECOLIMO in Santa Monica, Calif., who will appear on a workshop panel, “How to Sell Green.” “I’m in the green business. I have a strong commitment to the reduction of emissions, the movement to curb global warming,” says Fray, whose chauffeured fleet includes hybrid, natural gas, and bio-diesel vehicles. “The only thing I could do in the industry I know and love best is to start a movement to green it and clean it up a little.”
The first ignition of limousine passions will happen the weekend before the show when about 110 limousine and livery vehicles will be started and driven onto the massive trade show floor.
Attendees can mingle on the floor March 17-19 while checking out the latest, most innovative models from leading limo manufacturers and outfitters. It will be a wide open marketplace where sampling and dealing can be done with ease.
To further ignite passions throughout the show, ILCT Show has set up a schedule stuffed with educational seminars and workshops, networking venues, an awards ceremony, exhibits. . . and enough nocturnal social events with flair — and flares — to keep you enthused and entertained.
Learning All About Livery Along with friends and festivities, a core component of the ILCT Show is the menu of 16 educational workshops, offering basic and advanced levels. Seminars will span such topical areas as: finance and operations, affiliate programs, customer service, human resources, marketing, and management. Relevant and useful topics will cover how to build limousine businesses through affiliate relationships; growing a company beyond the 10-vehicle stage; how to make money in the party-car market; and, a chauffeur training course.
Two high-profile motivational speakers will set the tone and promote the theme of the show:
VINCE POSCENTE, a former Olympic skier and bestselling author of “The Age of Speed,” speaks at 3:30 p.m. Monday, March 17 on “Life in the Fast Lane: Transform Your Workplace Performance.”
FRANCINE WARD, a lawyer, author, professional speaker, philanthropist, and marathon runner who overcame extreme adversity, will speak at 9:00 a.m. March 19 on “Going Beyond the Obstacles: The Art of Getting What You Want.”
And nothing ignites entrepreneurial passion more than using a new brand, a new image, and a new approach.
Arthur Messina, owner and president of Create-A-Card Inc. in St. James, N.Y., will lead a session on how transportation companies can rebrand and boost their marketing efforts. The seminar focuses on practical, real world applications, and “how to have a call to action to generate phone calls, leads, and traffic to websites,” says Messina, whose firm specializes in helping chauffeured transportation companies. “We will show examples of other companies nationwide that have used proven marketing materials and have increased their exposure,” says Messina, who has 22 years of experience in this field. “We have feedback and results from our clients who have been successful with various products.”
Hand-in-hand with a strong brand goes stellar customer service — a make or break aspect of running a limousine company. Bob Mackasek, CEO of Valera Global, the 14th largest limousine company in the U.S., will lead a five hour seminar on March 17 covering the best practices in dispatch and customer service.
“We’ll concentrate on how to deal with the public, the dos and don’ts with phone etiquette, the best ways to handle difficult situations and customers, and (how to) size up what type of individual you’re dealing with,” says Mackasek, an experienced transportation industry attorney who previously was the first deputy commissioner of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission.
Mackasek, who oversees 90 employees and 215 independent contractor chauffeurs, says his seminar content will draw upon time-tested techniques that have been used for training by such sophisticated, high-end companies as Nordstrom’s and Ritz-Carlton.
Networking for Connection While the trade show floor serves as the fulcrum of networking and making contacts, several events throughout the convention will encourage new friendships and business connections.
Networking events include: A Sneak Preview and Welcome Reception sponsored by Cadillac will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. as a meet-and-greet to warm up the event.
An Association Summit held at 10:30 a.m. March 17 allows all attendees to talk about issues facing the industry and learn about commonalities and differences.
A First Timers’ Lunch on March 17 will help orient first-time attendees and show them how to get the most out of their first ILCT experience. It also provides a chance for first-timers to meet their peers and network with them. The luncheon serves as a solid foundation for future networking and convention attendance. About 90% of convention registrants this year will be returnees.
A Women Entrepreneurs’ Breakfast at 9:00 a.m. March 17 features women business owners and entrepreneurs in the limousine industry sharing tips on how to finesse the art of networking and how women can learn from and empower each other.
Nocturnal Pulsations No Las Vegas Business Extravaganza is complete without a high-energy night club party that offers some primal fun. This year’s events are primed to ignite industry passions. . .
Following the awards dinner, move and groove the night away starting at 9:00 p.m. Tuesday as the triple-tiered Rumjungle nightclub at Mandalay Bay enchants show-goers with a mega rum-bar, rhythmic fire displays, melodic waterfalls, live percussions, dancers, and aerial performers swinging above the action. Krystal Enterprises will sponsor this blowout of an ILCT Show party. Participants registered for the full show and pre-registered for the Tuesday part of the show may attend the party; on-site registrants will be admitted as space permits.
On opening night March 17, the ILCT Show will feature six hospitality suite parties in the Mandalay Bay complex, each offering a unique personality. Convention goers are free to drop in anytime from 9:00 p.m. to midnight at any or all of the parties where they can sip cocktails and schmooze amid sweeping city light views.
FAST FACTS • What: International LCT Show 2008 • When: Monday, March 17 to Wednesday, March 19 • Location: Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd., South, Las Vegas, NV • Estimated attendees: 4,000 • Exhibitors: about 700 • Vehicles on display: about 110 • Key activities: networking events, parties, trade show, awards gala, workshops, motivational speakers • Show chair: Sara Eastwood, LCT Magazine publisher • Website: www.lctshow. com • Contact: 1-800-576-8788
OFFICIAL SHOW SPONSORS • Cadillac • Ford Fleet Limousine & Livery Vehicles • LCT magazine • National Limousine Association
GIVE AWAY: FIRST EVER Could your business use a free limo? VIP Coachworks of Shelby Township, Mich., owned by Donald Wilson, is giving LCT show participants a chance to win a Chrysler 300 140-stretch limousine. Visit the slot machine at the VIP Coachworks booth to play for the limo. As one of the newer limos on the road, the fully-loaded Chrysler 300 140-stretch can seat 10 passengers.
What to See: The ILCT Show offers attendees a vibrant and diverse marketplace of businesses ready to deal: • Domestic and foreign vehicle manufacturers • Coach builders • Computer software • Insurance • Leasing & funding • Dealerships • Advertising • Aftermarket parts and supplies • Marketing and branding • Affiliate networks • Uniforms • Water • Specialty outfitting • Fuel cards • Hail to the finest
The highpoint of the 2008 ILCT Show will be the Industry Awards Gala at 6:00 p.m. March 18 sponsored by Ford Fleet Limousine & Livery Vehicles. Along with a cocktail reception, dinner and live auction, LCT Magazine will honor the best in the business for 2007.
AWARD CATEGORIES • Association Award of Excellence • Best Direct Mail • Best Sales Brochure • Best Print Advertisement • Best Company Promotional Item • Best Website Homepage • LCT Operators of the Year, involving four fleet-size categories.
The glamorous dinner and ceremony has become the “Oscar Night” of the limousine industry where industry movers and shakers revel in accomplishment and celebrate achievement.