DENVER – More than 20,000 out-of-town visitors are expected for the NBA All-Star weekend, which means limousine operators in the Denver area – all 225 of them – are very busy. Several companies said their business will double or triple compared with the average weekend.
“My business soars on Saturdays, and I’m basically getting four Saturdays this week,” said Darren Weidenhamer, owner of Westminster-based Sunset Limos. “Everyone I’ve talked to in the (limousine) business is real busy right now,” “It’s a beautiful thing. We need this – especially since there is no hockey. A percentage of winter business that we normally count on is missing,” he said.
Some operators are raising their rates for the big weekend, expecting that their customers will want every luxurious touch. Others have created multi-day packages especially for the event, which can save money for their customers.
“We can bump it up a little bit,” said Andy Bouayad, owner of Denver-based Fox Limousine. “We’re trying to get our piece of the pie like everyone else.”
“I think they’re actually getting a better deal because they’re renting by the day. It isn’t very often that that happens,” Weidenhamer said. “Some people are having us put a case of Cristal in the car – it’s getting pretty outrageous.”
Wise operators are keeping a few cars available for last-minute bookings.
“This is an impulsive crowd,” Bouayad said. “I’m not going to book a car right now for just one night because there’s still someone out there who wants it for the entire weekend. We’re all waiting for the home-run sale.”
Stretch SUVs are the hot trend in luxury vehicle rentals, not only for riders wanting to make an impression, but also for advertising.
At Sunset Limos, customers could rent a stretch Hummer H2 for $2,500 to $5,000 per day. It seats 20 passengers and features a fiber-optic “Stargazer” ceiling, strobe lights and a fully functional disco floor.
One local company, Beverage Distributors, had a Ford Excursion wrapped in a vinyl Hennessey advertisement on Monday, turning it into a mobile billboard for the week.