Carey International held its annual Domestic System Meeting March 9-12 in San Francisco. Carey operators from across the country had an opportunity to participate in a series of meetings and presentations on a range of business and operational topics.
Founded in New York by J.P. Carey in 1924, Carey expanded to other major U.S. cities in the late 'Six ties. Now known as Carey International, the company currently provides limousine service in over 300 cities,..in 60 countries...on six continents. At present, approximately half of Carey's affiliates and franchisees are located in the United States. ;
Among Carey system members are many of the limousine industry's most experienced and successful operators. Some 60 members at tended the Domestic System Meeting.
On the first evening of the meeting, the Cadillac Division hosted a cock tail reception and dinner during which system members renewed acquaintances and talked with Carey officers, administrative personnel, and sales representatives. The gathering included Carey International chairman Vince Wolfington, President Don Dailey, and Paul Carey whose grandfather founded the company. Paul Carey has been active in the limousine industry since the 1940's.
Following a continental breakfast the next morning, Don Dailey formally opened the program by presenting plaques to operators with the longest terms of membership with Carey. Mike Dangerfield of Atlanta was honored as the system's oldest member. When Dangerfield traveled to New York 20 years ago to consult with Paul Carey on the limousine business, he became the Carey net work's first domestic affiliate.
Other operators recognized for their long terms of service were San Francisco's Joe Pargeter with 19 years, Larry Willwerth of Boston and Clarence Braasch of Chicago with 18 years, Felicia Rassiger of South Florida and Ray White of San Diego with 15 years, and Joe Bonomolo of New Orleans with 11 years.
Following the presentations, chair man Vince Wolfington took the podium to describe the growth of the limousine industry over the past four years. Wolfington estimated that the worldwide sales volume of the limousine industry was approximately $1 billion during the past year. This com pares with an estimated $700 million in sales four years ago.
Don Dailey then made a detailed presentation of Carey's greatly expanded marketing and promotional efforts during the past year. Carey's marketing committee is largely comprised of system members, and holds quarterly meetings to set promotional objectives.
Dailey noted that Carey mailed more than one million pieces of promotional material during the year with a heavy emphasis on corporate travel managers and the travel industry. Travel arrangers received an average of six mailing pieces from Carey in the past year.
Dailey also reported that Carey advertising was placed in more than two dozen periodicals, as well as on radio and TV. More than 227 news items on Carey appeared in newspapers and magazines.
During the past year, Carey also expanded its cooperative promotion al programs to include American Ex press, seven airlines, six steamship lines, the Orient Express, and a number of travel wholesalers. Carey is included on the reservation computer networks of all major domestic airlines. Carey currently provides door-to-door service for international passengers on British Airways, Air France, Japan Airlines, Continental Airlines, and KLM.
Dailey announced that Carey Inter national has been chosen by Diner's Club to provide exclusive service for the nationwide Club Chauffeur pro gram effective May 15. Club Chauffeur is expected to provide as much as $2 million in business for Carey system members in the coming year.
One of the marketing highlights of 1987 was Carey's creation and sponsorship of The First Annual Wall Street Rat Race. The 4.1 kilometer race was held in New York City's financial district on April 15, 1987 and attracted more than 1,000 participants. A videotape of last year's race depicted runners wearing business suits and carrying "Carey briefcases."
Media coverage of the Rat Race was carried on the ABC, NBC, CNN, and ESPN television networks. The story also appeared on many region al network affiliates, as well as in 125 newspapers across the country. It was announced that Cadillac would join Carey in sponsoring the Second Annual Rat Race on May 12, 1988.
Carey expanded marketing efforts considerably during the past year by adding three sales representatives to open new doors within the corporate and travel communities. Joining the staff during the past year as region al sales directors were Peggy Miller, Helga Wendelberger, and Mark Howington. Sales support from Carey headquarters in Washington, D.C. is provided by Diana Sommerkamp. Sandi Piniero, Carey vice president of sales, coordinated a sales blitz during which Carey representatives called on some 350 clients during the last half of 1987. Sales to these ac counts were increased to $2.8 million compared with $1.6 million for the previous six months.
A renewed emphasis on the importance of quality service was placed by David Richey, president of the in dependent quality assurance company used to evaluate Carey system members. Richey's firm, D. Richey Management Corp., specializes in evaluating the service industry.
"What is it that causes a customer's mind to click that your service is really special?" asked Richey as he introduced Carey's recently implemented quality control program. The answer, apparently, is a con glomeration of factors as Richey reviewed a checklist covering 40 different things.
Each item on the checklist has an assigned point value depending on its assumed importance to customers. Items relating to chauffeurs accounted for more than 50 percent of the overall evaluation rating. On- time arrival and knowledge of destinations were by far the most important factors.
In a number of unannounced evaluations, Carey members aver aged about 74 percent overall. Now that the program has been formally announced, it is expected to raise quality and consistency of service on a system-wide basis. A manual describing evaluation criteria is being provided for each system member.
In other sessions, Cadillac fleet sales manager Dave John described changes planned for the '89 model year. The '89 Brougham is scheduled to have a revised front grille, a 100 amp alternator for improved voltage at idle, woodgrain trim around interior door pull handles, and a more formal vinyl roof treatment.
A new 5.7 liter fuel-injected engine is expected to be an option on the Brougham at some point during the '89 model year. In 1990, the Brougham is expected to receive new tail- lights, composite headlights, and restyled moldings.
John also assured Carey operators that Cadillac plans to continue building its large rear wheel drive Brougham into the 1990's,'Two years ago, Cadillac had announced plans to discontinue the sturdy model favored by limousine operators and coach- builders over Cadillac's smaller front wheel drive models.
The following morning, Carey chief financial officer Jerry Smith described the computerization of Carey's central reservation office over the past four years. The reservation department is now linked with more than 150,000 reservation CRTs around the world. The Carey computer has more than 27,000 individual screens of information detailing every aspect of the Carey Limousine System.
Carey has developed accounting and dispatching software for use by system members. The software is designed for the IBM System 36 which was described by Smith as a mid-size computer "with capabilities approaching those of a convention-al mainframe system," A mid-size computer, explained Smith, allows an operator to perform accounting, dispatching, and reservation functions simultaneously.
Richard Cooley, president of Executive Professional Chauffeuring School, then premiered a chauffeur training videotape program designed specifically for Carey operators. The three-part program is accompanied by a training manual, and includes a written test covering each section.
By viewing one part of the pro gram each month, chauffeurs are continually reminded of the nuances of their job according to Cooley. A documented training program, said Cooley, can lead to reduced insurance rates from some companies. Cooley also offered the estimate that 78 percent of limousine accidents occur while the vehicle is being backed up.
Operators were then polled on the question...Can a police officer legally inspect the passenger compartment of a limousine? "Yes they can," pronounced Cooley who explained that a limousine is considered a public conveyance, rather than a private vehicle, and is thus subject to inspection.
Next on the program were work shop sessions led by system members. Joe Bonomolo conducted a discussion on marketing. Mike Dangerfield moderated a session on owner/operators. Larry Willwerth presented a statistical look at the limousine industry, and Carey executive vice president Guy Thomas led a discussion on pricing policy.
After the sometimes-intense work shops, Carey members spent Friday evening in costume for a festive Mardi Gras dinner and party. Three groups of lively performers entertained a gathering of 150 people which included a number of Carey's San Francisco clientele.
Saturday morning, the meeting continued with a presentation by the marketing committee and an open discussion among system members. The 1988 goals for the system were finalized including making available franchises in 30 cities that are now affiliates. Lunch marked the end of the formal program, as well as the beginning of a period of sightseeing and relaxation.
"I felt the meeting was extremely productive," reflected Don Dailey. "Attendance was very good, the sessions were informative, and we generated some new ideas in our marketing and operations sessions that should prove interesting. I think we are all looking forward to a very good year."