Operations

Operator Aims To Create Driven Experiences

Posted on September 6, 2016 by Lexi Tucker - Also by this author

Julie Hatter of La Bella Chauffeurs loves working in the heart of the entertainment capital of the world.
Julie Hatter of La Bella Chauffeurs loves working in the heart of the entertainment capital of the world.
Clientele: Julie Hatter of La Bella Chauffeurs in Inglewood, Calif., provides service for clients who rock, literally. She works with rock stars, DJs, and also provides fan transportation for those who win radio contests; in other words, “experience seekers.” “We are experience creators. Anyone can have a black car. Matching the vehicle to the experience is what I’m better at,” she says. The company also works with corporate groups, mostly in the music business. But Hatter isn’t stopping there. La Bella is growing in other markets, especially wine tours. She’s also excited about the Rams coming to Los Angeles.

Fast Facts

Location: Inglewood, Calif.

Owner: Julie Hatter

Founded: 2015

Vehicle type: SUV

Fleet size: 2

Employees: 3

Annual revenue: $150,000

Website: http://labellachauffeurs.com/

Contact: (323) 292-3552; (844) 922-3552

Marketing strategies: To stay ahead, Hatter created an annual marketing calendar based on the most successful markets her company caters to. This includes local music festivals, big concert tours in town, award shows, and other red carpet events. Now, she’ll be including NFL games and wine tours as well. “Having this projection of what our year looks like helps us focus on what we should be posting on social media and what kind of vehicles we need to plan for,” she says. “As we go forward, I’ll be able to look at those months and analyze how successful we were in actually translating that to booking.” She says when she transports artists or DJs for one show, they might have the same manager as another artist. “We are trying to see how we can actually market towards those already in our car.”

Biggest success: So far, Hatter cites being a preferred provider for Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals this year. The company also recently got the green light for its first large corporate group of 500, where affiliate help will come in handy. Overall, the small things make everything worthwhile, she says. “Just getting that person in the car and really connecting with them — basic things like someone’s first limo ride or making someone smile, and when they get out of the car and hug you. Those kinds of connections are success to me. It validates our industry; that we are professional, we care, and we have a code of honor.”

Advice: Know the cost to operate. “I’d actually say double it. This is not an industry for the faint of heart financially. You have to make strong commitments. The costs of vehicles, permits, and insurance are big numbers to consider.” Another important thing is networking with many other small operators. “I feel like our reciprocity is what has sustained all of us,” she says. Finally, don’t pigeonhole yourself. “Maybe you have an idea starting out that you will specialize in one type of service, but as the business builds, it will guide you to your specialty. Develop and build on those things. Don’t try to have a preconceived idea; focus on being the best at whatever your market tells you you’re good at.”

Customer service: Like any good host, Hatter finds out what each client really likes. She asks about their preferences, and their vision of the perfect experience. She believes being accessible, flexible, and thinking long-term, not just about a single run, please clients and turn them into repeat customers.

Technological strategies: Hatter uses Limo Anywhere as her reservation system, which also helps connect her company to affiliates. “We are working on launching a more interactive website because we are experience focused. We really want it to be a place that will highlight different events. Instead of showing cars, we are trying to give people suggestions or ideas of where they can take the cars.”

Future plans: Hatter would like to acquire larger fleet vehicles, such as minicoaches and motorcoaches, and is working on her meeting planner certification. By combining her backgrounds in event management and hospitality, she is ready to focus on large groups, and most importantly, have fun.

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