Operations

Limos.com Shows Path To Survival

Posted on January 29, 2009 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

LAS VEGAS — Chauffeured transportation operators must mine the rich media opportunities online to gain new clients and remain distinct from competitors, the CEO of limos.com told the opening session of the International LCT Show Monday.

“The Internet is the number one source of information for affluent customers buying things online,” said T.J. Clark, CEO of San Francisco-based Limos.com, a global online chauffeured vehicle reservation and information service.

Affluent customers making $250,000 or more per year spend an average of 27 hours per week online, outpacing their use of traditional media. Chauffeured transportation companies must aim for that market online in order to stand out, Clark said. “You need to demonstrate your value. Why should they choose you?”

Clark’s opener was kind of a preview to Tuesday’s Limos.com road show, which was one of the most highly attended events at the Show. In all likelihood, a combination of an open bar, a down economy, and excitement over the revamped program offered to Limos.com members brought a standing room-only crowd. The new limos.com website is extremely consumer oriented, mirroring many of the features found on Expedia.com, which is the second largest travel agency in the world. The fresh new look of the screens allows consumers to view a "virtual showroom" of each member’s vehicles. The website itself was referred to as a "virtual store" where consumers can shop by zip code for service providers in their immediate areas and immediately compare local companies based on fleet information and pricing. The screens also contain end user functions such as "call me" and "ask a question" that allow the end user to click a single icon to send an e-mail, asking the limo service provider to call or giving the operator a chance to respond to specific questions. The question and answer session clearly indicated that some revisions must be made to meet the needs of operators, such as a mechanism for end users to click thru to a specific operator's website for further information about the company. One operator compared this to Expedia and mentioned that Expedia allowed the click thru to individual hotel property websites for more information while Limos.com does not. This was a point of contention with many operators in the room, including one who cited how proud he was of his own website. The system offers great flexibility for operators to change their pricing structure from day to day with such updates being immediate. The new Limos.com improved system is bound to be a hit with both consumers and operators alike.

Look for more coverage of Limos.com in the April issue of LCT Magazine.

Source: Jim Luff, LCT Magazine

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