LAS VEGAS, Nev. — The LCT Fast40 session at the ILCT Show brought out a new group of young professionals on stage and in the audience, who spoke to the expected industry changes generated by the Millennial generation.
The topic centered on the growing market for Millennial generation consumers, born 1982-2000, and how to attract them as buyers for chauffeured car service. Panelists included:
• Nick Kokas, vice president of Brentwood Limousine in Michigan
• Elisabeth Jachym-Allan, social media professional in Chicago, with Deluxe Chicago Limo
• Selim Aslan, owner of MIB Transportation in San Diego
• Robert Cardiff, young industry entrepreneur starting Whip Rides in the San Gabriel Valley of California
• Cory Zucker, sales/marketing at Regency Limo in New York City
The ILCT Show
Fast40 session (L to R): Nick Kokas, Elisabeth Jachym-Allan, Selim Aslan, Robert Cardiff, and Cory Zucker.
The panel opened with Kokas
explaining buying trends and behavior statistics on the Millennial demographic — people now ages 15 to 33 years old. “According to AdWeek, Millennials are less inclined to use coupons than their elders, and are more inclined to shop without a budget and make impulse purchases,” Kokas said. “Such behaviors derive from the fact that these shoppers are both time strapped and not as savvy as older shoppers when it comes to looking for deals.”
Kokas relayed his company’s success in working with a transportation network company (TNC). By having chauffeurs take Uber Black runs during downtime, Brentwood Limousine is able to cover the cost of running vehicles in the field. The increased availability of its 40+ vehicle fleet throughout the metro Detroit area allows the company to accept more short-time affiliate work, which leads to increased profits overall.
Brentwood Limousine’s Nick Kokas
shared his company’s experience working with a TNC for on-demand work to increase profits.
Kokas cited an Expedia travel study that found 49% of Millennials planned and booked trips on smartphone mobile apps that deliver reviews, last-minute discounts, and flight statuses. He summed up the prevalence of on-demand for the Millennial generation. “The bottom line is that Millenials have come to expect everything to be available anywhere and anytime, and companies are taking notice.”
Big Data Hits the Limo Industry
Another key point about the digital-native Millennial generation is its preference for recorded business data. The so-called age of “Big Data” requires operators to improve their office management skills, and produce detailed statistics for clients on spend.
Cardiff, an entrepreneur, said this emphasis on data and analytics can be a big advantage for operators who can apply data toward meaningful business decisions related to their operations.
Cardiff’s new business, Whip Rides, targets Millennials surrounding the campus of Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, Calif. The idea is to attract young professionals with clean, high caliber vehicles such as the Lincoln MKZ and Cadillac XTS, and give them the option to book quickly and easily on mobile for pre-arranged and on-demand rides.
of Whip Rides
explained how operators can harness new software technology to improve their marketing to Millennials.
To help Cardiff with his efforts, he uses every piece of analytical power his Dashride software can provide so that he makes decisions from data and not anecdotally. “I look at the statistics on my customer use and breakdown when they are buying, from where they are buying, and where they are going, and try to get as much information as I can so I can target my marketing efforts.”
Millennials and Social Media
The topic then turned toward how best to communicate with the Millennial demographic. Social media expert Jachym-Allan had no shortage of ideas and advice for operators on how to best court this market through various social media avenues.
Jachym-Allan illustrated the importance of using Facebook and Twitter to initiate conversations with potential clients, many of whom are Millennials already well-versed in social media. “The goal is to get out in front of them using the various platforms,” she said. “Once you get a dialogue going and identify a possible need, then that contact becomes a lead and you can inform them on more details about your service and rates. You can convert that lead into a sale to get your ROI.”
She gave examples of her success using traditional social media such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as experiments with newer platforms such as Instagram and Yik Yak. Jachym-Allan also promotes the use of social media metric tools, so operators can chart the success of their social media marketing campaigns.
, of MIB Transportation
, explained challenges in attracting Millennials to his chauffeured car business. “Some of them do not care about regulations, and will just shop on price.”
Aslan, owner of MIB Transportation in San Diego, Calif., referenced a challenge he encounters when marketing to Millennials: Their more libertarian views on regulations.
Aslan reported that he has had trouble with Millennials in his market preferring TNCs over his more regulated limo service. “They are focused on price and not on regulatory and safety concerns,” he said. He prefaced those comments with statistics from Pew Social Trends on the Millennial Generation’s optimism (51% report confidence in future earnings), social progressivism (51% support gay marriage), and social media use (Millennials average 250 Facebook friends each).
Zucker concluded the panel by giving his firsthand account of the shrinkage in lead times for traditional affiliate runs over recent years. He believes it coincides with general overall trends toward more on-demand service.
“The Millenials are used to having things when they want it, and I think that’s carried over into our service, and we’re seeing shorter lead times now for affiliate work than ever,” Zucker said. “It used to be we would take jobs no sooner than two to three hours ahead of time, but now we’re getting calls for rides in about a half-hour to 45 minutes. It’s really shortened up, and I think it’s just going to be that way across the board.”
Many new young industry faces could be seen in the crowd, like Briana Candeub
of Park Avenue Limousine
in Philadelphia (center).
A question-and-answer session following the panel had audience members asking about more details specific to software programs that manage social media metrics, handle on-demand requests, and produce analytical data for operators.
Several industry vendors in the audience also said they appreciated the frank analysis on the state of the current software companies serving the industry. Kokas said he drew positive responses from the panel.
“I talked to some people who were really happy with the brutal honesty of there not being a great solution for our industry software-wise,” he said. “I’ve also been overwhelmed with the response from other operators interested in learning how we run our TNC model.”
Look for more upcoming coverage of the LCT Fast40 from this past LCT Leadership Summit, May 17-19, in Miami Beach, Fla.