New Generation of Limo Operators Influence Industry Course

Posted on August 16, 2013 by

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MIAMI BEACH, Fla.  — LCT Fast 40, the first group dedicated to the next generation of limousine leaders, officially kicked off at the LCT Leadership Summit in early June confronting six key topics about the future of the chauffeured transportation sector.

Three panels set the stage for an ongoing industry conversation about vehicle procurement, management approaches, changing habits of business travelers, the effects of app-based business models such as Uber, adopting new technologies, and the growing use of social media.

Kyara Kahakauwila

L.A. Limousines & Transportation Services
Victoria, B.C., Canada

How did you first get started in the limousine industry?
I married into it. [Owner Ed Kahakauwila].

What has been some of your biggest challenges as an operator?
Basically keeping a good workforce. This includes chauffeurs and managing their personalities as well as hiring and keeping a competent office staff. And then for me, personally keeping a balance between work and family.

What do you enjoy most about the business?
I really like being a positive part of our clients’ lives and experiences. I also enjoy the traveling and the connections and friendships I have cultivated over the past 13 years. We work so hard when we are at home so it is nice to connect with other operators who have become friends and who experience similar situations as us.

What have been some recent changes you have made to your business?
The biggest change has been migrating our software and communications into the cloud. We also have started using GPS tracking, and on top of that, we moved into a new office. Vehicle-wise, adding the Lexus Hybrid, Mercedes Sprinter, and Lincoln MKT to the fleet has been a new and welcome change for us too.

Johan DeLeeuw

Olympus Worldwide Chauffeured Services
Atlanta, Ga.

How did you get started in the limo industry?
I came to Georgia in 1998 as a chef from Amsterdam, Holland. I started working part time as a chauffeur for Olympus Worldwide on my days off. I then moved on to sales and became a general manager. In 2002, the owner passed away and his family inherited the company. Then in 2005 I bought the company and became the owner.

How is business this year?
Very well actually. In 2010 and 2011 we were listed in Inc. Magazine’s top 5000 as one of the fastest growing chauffeured transportation companies in the country. And we’re doing a lot of out-of-state business.

How have you used technology to help with the company?
We got Odyssey in 2007, and we’re actually just about to move over to the new and improved Santa Cruz system. We also use a lot of corporate booking tools like Deem Ride, Click Book and Concur. We also have been using Konosocial for our social media marketing, which has been great.

Mona Marandy

Mona Lisa Limousine
Los Angeles, Calif.

How did you first get started in the limousine industry?
My father started as a shuttle driver and his ambition was to always have his own limousine company. During his early stages of transitioning to that, I was just finishing all my pre-requisites to enter nursing school. I saw my father in need of a trusted COO to run the operations and help him run the company. I thought about it for two months, and chose the family business as opposed to nursing. I have not regretted it for one day because I made this my passion and that is why I have excelled at it.

What has been some of your biggest challenges as an operator?
My biggest challenge at first was to deal with “old school” mentalities. It was obviously very difficult at first because I had to learn the business so I had to pay my dues and be quiet. It took me about three months to be comfortable to make decisions and I didn’t waste any time. I made drastic ones. Although my father was skeptical at first, he trusted my fearless attitude to let me change everything he had ever set up.

What do you enjoy most about the business?
The most enjoyable time of my business is when I receive emails I get in response to our thank you emails. We send thank you emails to every single customer and the responses we get are priceless. We get genuine thanks for the effort my entire staff makes on a daily basis.

What have been some changes you have made to your business in the past two to three years?
We added WiFi to all our corporate sedans and luxury SUVs, and we are installing Rosco cameras in our corporate Town Cars to maintain driver training and be sure they are driving safely on the road. Each of our limousines is now equipped with fire extinguishers in the trunk and front of the vehicles, and glass breakers and seatbelt cutters have been bolted to the inside of the cabin as well as placed in the glove compartments for driver access.

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