Operations

Driving Customers to Operators

Posted on February 10, 2010 by - Also by this author

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A team of entrepreneurs has set up a Web site designed to simplify the way clients book chauffeured rides and how operators offer them.

TransportationWorld.com, launched on Jan. 4, matches clients with the most sophisticated chauffeured transportation companies nationwide that must be closely vetted before joining as an operator-vendor. The site does not function based on leads or referrals, but confirmed paid reservations only.

"The ease of operation enables us to scoop up the consumer that may not have been one to book online before," says Jeff DiMarco, the vice president of sales and marketing for TransportationWorld.com.

The Concept

Users select service based on vehicle type and zip code, and then are presented with the rates of operators serving the area. In most markets, TransportationWorld.com limits the number of operator/vendors to four, so as not to saturate the online market with companies of varying quality trying to outbid each other and drive down prices.

"We're not looking for the fly by night cheap operator, but prices will be competitive," says Guy Piccolo, CEO of TransportationWorld.com. "The customer can book a reservation and get a good price, and book in multiple cities."

Bookings drive business. Each time a customer books a ride, TransportationWorld.com gets a negotiated rate of commission. There are no additional fees or charges involved with the transaction, for either vendor or consumer, and no sign-up or marketing costs for operator-vendors.

Piccolo estimates that the top 50 cities in the U.S. will account for about 85% of TransportationWorld.com's business. The site eventually will cover smaller cities and regions to provide seamless booking for most destinations.

Screening Operators

The company relies on a comprehensive screening process to choose vendors, based on licenses, insurance records, safety, and quality of reputation in the industry, DiMarco says. "We are protecting both consumers and limo operators out there that are doing the authorized regulated business.

"The operator/vendors we have will be ones where we have an understanding and a significant amount of business back and forth, instead of [ones] fighting over cost and driving down cost and service," he adds.

To help select vendors and operators, Jeff's brother and site business partner, Steve DiMarco, a 25-year-plus operator who also owns Premier Limousine inHartford, Conn, can draw upon his extensive network of industry contacts and industry knowledge to help find and vet operator/vendors for the site. "He has a good personal relationship with many operators, and we have a solid understanding of the different markets," Jeff DiMarco says.

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