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LCT writer Linda Jagiela (L) hosted a panel of Super Bowl transportation experts and limo operators: Jeff Greene, George Jacobs, Dave Shaw and Mark Hayden.
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Handling Super Bowl transportation is always a challenge for operators since the annual mega-game plays out in a different city every year. The upcoming Super Bowl XLVIII could be the most logistically difficult of all previous 47 games because it is being held Feb. 2 at the MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands, located in the heavily congested New Jersey-New York City corridor.
Plus, the NFL is hyping the game as the “first outdoor, cold-weather Super Bowl”— gambling that a blizzard doesn’t turn it into “Snow Bowl.”
Regardless of the weather, the game will go on and fans will demand private transportation services all week in New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut. It is estimated that 800 limousine companies will be needed to service the event. If you plan to work the event, you must remember that the Super Bowl is a week-long party consisting of numerous activities and nightlife, especially in Manhattan.
To help you navigate the game and ensure that you make money for your time and energy, a panel of veteran operators who have worked numerous Super Bowls and other big events shared their collective insights Oct. 29 at the LCT Show East Super Bowl session in the Atlantic City Convention Center.
The panel, moderate by LCT Magazine contributing writer Linda Jagiela, consisted of Jeff Greene (Green Classic Limousines in Atlanta), Dave Shaw (Olympus Limousines in Tampa), George Jacobs (Windy City Limousines & Bus in Chicago), and Mark Hayden (Metro Cars in Detroit).
To ensure a profitable Super Bowl, panelists agreed operators should establish minimum hours per booking to manage vehicles as efficiently as possible. They also agreed that pay-in-advance and strict cancellation policies are needed to get a maximum return on investment.
Jacobs, who worked one Super Bowl and a World Series, advised operators to increase minimum hours rather than raise rates to maintain good customer relations. “Don’t raise rates, but raising minimum hours is acceptable, and let your customers know in advance,” he said. “You can set an 8- to 12-hour minimum for game day; just let your regular customers know in advance so they are not caught off guard.”
Greene, who has worked two Super Bowls, said he kept his rates the same for regular customers, but increased rates 15% for Super Bowl-related business to cover additional expenses. “We didn’t have any pushback when we set minimum hours,” he said, adding that he also implemented a 30-day cancellation policy. And two weeks before the game, he charged 25% for cancellations to ensure his fleet was booked.
Because the two teams that will face off won’t be known until two weeks before the big game, the rush from the competing cities’ fan base for private transportation services occurs in that 14-day timespan.