Operations

Oklahoma Operator Sees Success in Industry Shifts

Posted on September 17, 2008 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

OKLAHOMA CITY — When top officials with the National Basketball Association arrived at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel in April to hear the pitch for relocating the SuperSonics from Seattle to Oklahoma City, their rides were black Mercedes.

Not one single limousine could be found.

"People don't want to flaunt what they're doing,” said John Williams, the Skirvin's general manager. "They really want to downplay the experience of going from the airport to the hotel to business appointments.”

Jimmy Paris, owner of Paris Limousine, says 2008 is the best year he's seen in 21 years of business.

But he too admits that unlike the last boom of the early 1980s, corporate customers are staying away from the big stretch limousines that were once seen as a symbol of corporate success.

"Say you have an executive looking at a site for a new plant — they don't want to seen in a limo — it's seen as gaudy, having a lot of cash,” Paris said. "They want to keep it low profile. When a limo drives up, everybody looks. But in a black car or SUV, it doesn't get that sort of notice.”

Fleet adding more under-the-radar cars

For that reason, Paris is increasing his fleet from 10 to 34 vehicles – but all of the new purchases are either black cars or SUVs. Local executives confirm that image is what has relegated limo rides to special occasion use by tourists, wedding parties and prom dates.

As corporate spokesman at Devon Energy, Chip Minty has accompanied executives on numerous trips across the country.

"At Devon we tend to use less conspicuous transportation like SUVs or vans,” Minty said. "We don't see the limos as a necessary or good use of resources.”

When the trip does involve a larger group traveling together, the company usually employs either an SUV or a van, Minty said.

"Generally we don't use limos that involve a lot of luxury,” Minty said. "That's just not within our value structure.”

‘They're just having fun'

Paris isn't dumping his existing fleet of limos. And Williams still sees stretch limos outside his hotel doors on weekends – when excursion travelers want to splurge on a fun ride through downtown and Bricktown.

"For these folks, they're just having fun,” Williams said. "They want to make a show out of it.”

Paris said the prevalence of a chauffeured stretch limousine is no longer an indicator of a booming economy. Instead, he says, just keep an eye on the black cars and SUVs.

"We're seeing the biggest expansion of the hotel market I've ever seen in Oklahoma City,” Paris said. "We're no longer a motel city — we are a hotel city. And for us, the hotels are where you get your leading clients. This has been a spectacular year.”

Source: Steve Lackmeyer, The Oklahoman

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

New Online Limo Service Brokerage Offers Discounted Rides

The two-year-old company racks up results and fans as it helps operators fill unused vehicles and seats.

Celebrity Worldwide Launches New Charter Jet Website

Clients of the Philadelphia-based company can book seamless air travel worldwide through an easy, more informative site.

No Way Uber Worth $70 Billion, Investor Says

Meanwhile, the feds have penalized the TNC for misleading consumers on its privacy practices.

Updated Uber For Business Gives Companies More Control

The TNC's refreshed platform will help streamline corporate ride-hail use, especially for unmanaged travel programs.

Dream Team: How One Company Keeps Clients And Staff

eNews Exclusive: Concierge Limousine along California’s Gold Coast knows that without happy, loyal employees, an operation will fall apart.

See More News

Facebook Comments ()

Comments (0)

Post a Comment

Submit

Blog

See More

LCT Store

LCT Magazine - August 2017 $12.95 MILLENNIALS/FAST 40 ISSUE COVER STORY: * How to Score & Keep The Best Young Talent * *



Connect

Experience the three annual industry events for networking for business, showcasing vehicles and products, and getting the tools for success.

Read About Your Region

What’s Happening Near You?
Click on any state to see the latest industry news and events in that region.

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Metro Magazine

Serving the bus and passenger rail industries for more than a century

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

Please sign in or register to .    Close