George Jacobs of American Limousine in Burr Ridge, 1L, Alan Melton of East Coast Transportation in Jacksonville, FL, and Charlie Horky of CLS Transportation in Culver City, CA, have been named finalists in the large category (over 20 vehicles) for the 1996 Operator of the Year Award.
Don and Michelle Wilson of VIP Limousine Service in Macomb, Ml, Darryl and Karen Norman of Riches & Roses Limousine Service in Charlotte, NC, and Jim Moseley of James Limousine Service in Marlton, NJ, have been named finalists in the medium category (11-20 vehicles) for the 1996 Operator of the Year Award.
Robert Ayers of Dreamkeepers Limousine Service in Ithaca, Ml, Edward Feliciano of Feliciano’s Limousine Service in Rochester, NH, and Hatem Elnahas of Limo Express in Alexandria, VA, have been named finalists in the small category (one to 10 vehicles) for the 1996 Operator of the Year Award.
The following nine finalists epitomize the very highest standards of achievement in terms of industry involvement, innovative services, customer relations, chauffeur and office stall training, and driver safety.
Large Operator (over 20 vehicles)
American Limousine (Burr Ridge, IL)
Fleet Size: 206
Industry Involvement: Jacobs served as National Limousine Association (NLA) president for five years. He was the founding member of the Illinois Limousine Association and strongly advocates competitors working together as one.
Innovative Services: American Limousine offers charter excursion packages for day trips as well as overnight excursions. The overnight excursions come complete with hotel accommodations. Excursion packages also come complete with a choice of vehicle type. These packages include, among others, riverboat gambling and greyhound racing.
Customer Relations: To provide better service to its customers, American Limousine conducts numerous client focus groups. The focus groups are conducted by Jodi Rudick of advisors Marketing Group in Oceanside, CA.
The objective is to create a comfortable setting for clients so they do not hesitate to speak freely. The sessions are videotaped so suggestions can be implemented into the way American Limousine serves its clients. Participants receive either breakfast or dinner as well as a certificate for free limousine service.
East Coast Transportation (Jacksonville, FL)
Fleet Size: 37
Industry Involvement: Melton is an NLA member and a member of the Florida Limousine Association. He has been able to negotiate concessions with the transportation industry in Florida on a clear distinction between prearranged transportation and taxi service.
Innovative Services: 95 percent of Last Coast Transportation’s business comes from the Jacksonville International Airport and related services such as meet and greet, arrival and departure representatives, departure notices, and arrival notification staff. East Coast does offer services that include transportation for sightseeing tours, deep sea fishing and sail charters, and horseback riding.
Customer Relations: On-time service is the single most important customer requirement. East Coast guarantees to customers that if they are as much as a minute late, the ride is free. The company has an internal standard of arriving 15 minutes prior to pickup time. Company surveys always include on-time customer requirement measurements. Additionally, both external and internal pickup times are tracked and measured by the company.
CLS Transportation (Culver City, CA)
IndustryInvolvement: Charlie Horky is a member of the NLA and the Limousine Owners Association of California (LOAC). He strongly practices and supports rate integrity. This maintains the perception and reputation of the limousine industry as an upscale service, which is what the industry was founded on.
Innovative Services: CLS owns a Lear Jet and provides private jet chartering services as an added convenience to its clients.
The company also employs full-time airport representatives to assist with client’s arrivals and departures. The representatives are mobile concierges who handle everything from baggage, flight changes, and check-in to seat assignments and access to airport clubs.
Customer Relations: Horky is continually travelling between his Los Angeles, New York, and Las Vegas offices to be on-site for all large events and shows. If he is not coordinating one of these events, you will often find him chauffeuring one of the guests who is attending the event.
Many of CLS’ clients support non-profit organizations and charities. Horky frequently participates in their events and extends donations on the client’s behalf.
Don and Michelle Wilson
VIP Limousine Service (Macomb, MI)
Fleet Size: 11
Industry Involvement: The Wilsons are members of the NLA. They have also helped to establish the Michigan Livery Association (MLA). Michelle Wilson is currently on the MLA board. She is constantly striving to bring all reputable livery services together to fight the war against uninsured companies that continue to put the public’s lives in danger.
Innovative Services: VIP Limousines has created a “Day at the Spa.” This was developed as a gift-giving idea for male clients to give to their wives or girlfriends. A limousine arrives to pick up the woman. She will relax and enjoy champagne on her way to the spa. Once at the spa she will receive a manicure, pedicure, facial, massage, spa lime, makeup make over, hair make over, and lunch. At the end of her day, the limousine will pick her up and return her to the gentleman who awaits her. The evening will conclude with a romantic limousine ride to dinner.
Customer Relations:The office staff is trained to educate each client as to what questions they should ask a limousine service as well as what they should expect from an operator. Clients are informed of policies up front so their rental will run as smoothly as possible.
Darryl and Karen Norman
Riches & Roses Limousine Service (Charlotte, NC)
Industry Involvement: Darryl and Karen Norman are NLA members. The Normans are currently the central voice in trying to reorganize the North Carolina Limousine Association which is currently inactive.
Innovative Services: Riches & Roses has developed the “One Client — One Chauffeur” program. When creating a customer profile, the company cross references the customer profile with predetermined chauffeur profiles. This ensures the best possible match between chauffeur and client. When possible, a single driver is assigned to a specific client allowing the client to feel as if they have their own personal driver.
Customer Relations: Each chauffeur is equipped with a special information packet to assist the client with different restaurant and entertainment options avail able in Charlotte, NC. The list includes names, locations, and phone numbers to the city’s popular attractions. The list is maintained and updated by office staff on a monthly basis.
James Limousine Service (Marlton, NJ)
Industry Involvement: Jim
Moseley is a member of the NLA. He has served three terms as president of the South Jersey Limousine Association (SJLA). Moseley has been an SJLA officer and board member for eight years and a Limousine & Chauffeur advisory board member this past year.
Innovative Services: Jim Moseley is owner of JLS Transportation Associates — Trip Tracker, a company that has developed a soft ware package designed specifically for the limousine industry. This reservation and dispatch system assures chauffeurs have all pertinent information necessary to successfully service their clients.
Customer Relations: As a corporate carrier, James Limousine Service relies heavily on continuing customer goodwill in order to maintain repeat business. The company maintains open lines of communication with all of its customers. Major clients are called or visited weekly to measure satisfaction. Any concerns are ad dressed immediately and feed back is provided.
Dreamkeepers Limousine Service (Ithaca, Ml)
Fleet Size: 5
Industry Involvement: Robert Ayers is a member of the NLA. Fie has also assisted others in starting their own limousine services. He is a strong believer in the free-enterprise system and welcomes other professionals into the business. Ayers believes that other ser vices that are professionally run can only help his business.
Innovative Services: Some of the innovative services Dreamkeepers offers are newborn baby homecomings, special senior dinner packages, concert packages, and share-a-ride airport service.
Customer Relations: Ayers believes that no client should ever talk to a machine. At the end of the company’s regular hours, phones will ring directly into Ayers home which provides all clients with a 24 hour service. Dreamkeepers’ philosophy is the customer is always right.If a problem arises, the response is al ways: “What will it take to make you happy?”
Feliciano’s Limousine Service (Rochester,NH)
Industry Involvement: Edward Feliciano is on the New Hampshire Limousine Association’s Board of Directors. He is also a member of the New England Livery Association.
Innovative Services: Feliciano’s Limousine Service offers the “One Hour Package.” This package can lake many shapes and forms. It could feature picking up a newborn baby and mother and transporting them home, providing transportation on the first or last day of school for children, and special birthdays and anniversaries. On Valentines Day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day the company offers a special breakfast and flowers delivered via limousine with a chauffeur dressed in a tuxedo.
Customer Relations: Feliciano’s was the first to implement Lincoln Town Car sedans in its area for customers who expressed a desire for chauffeur-driven transportation but did not need a stretch limousine. He focuses on providing for the younger people in his community by donating money to local sports leagues.
Limo Express (Alexandria, VA)
Industry Involvement: Hatem Elnahas is an NLA member and strongly supports policies instituted by that organization. The company constantly provides ad vice to other limousine companies on chauffeur training, buying and selling vehicles, and other related matters.
Innovative Services: As a small but growing business, Limo Express is constantly looking to promote services to new clients. The company also wants to make bookings easier for its current client, base as well as net work with other professionals. Limo Express is currently exploring options on the Internet that will include an interactive home page on the World Wide Web. The home page will provide information on services and rates as well as general information on how to pick a limousine company.
Customer Relations: Limo Express enjoys an excellent reputation that is illustrated by continued repeat business from over 500 accounts. Before a major job all Limo Express personnel are required to attend a special training refresher meeting. In this meeting, all standard Limo Express procedures are reviewed and any matters requiring special attention are addressed.