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Bob Dylan once sang, “The times, they are a-changing, and if you don’t have a smartphone app, you ain’t nothin’.” Or that would be the 2012 version of that lyric.
The spread of tablet computers and smartphones with blazing Internet speeds have caused humans to expect instant-gratification to come even faster, and businesses who can’t deliver will be left in the dust.
Vendors at the 2012 International LCT Show revealed some of the most advanced technology the limousine industry has ever seen. Operators saw a plethora of tools ranging from smartphone apps to lead generators to document digitizers to sci-fi-esque suspension systems.
New technology not only keeps operators ready to meet their clients’ needs, it also helps them keep their business organized and efficient. Investing in technology can be intimidating in today’s economy, but operators should understand that a lot of the tech will pay for itself in the long run by eliminating unnecessary and inefficient processes. It may even end up costing owners more over time if they lose clients because they didn’t have the right tools to compete in this industry.
The following is a sample of the new groundbreaking concepts vendors brought with them to Las Vegas.
Category: Lead generator
Pricing: No sign-up fee, no monthly fees, no cost per lead, no contract. Commission is 10% off base rate, only when a ride is booked (will increase to 17.5% after April). BeTransported is the merchant of record and absorbs all credit card fees.
Vetting process: BeTransported looks at the licensing documentation needed to operate as a chauffeured transportation service, such as business licenses, permits, insurance, sticker licensing, airport licensing, DOT information, etc.
Mobile app: To be released in April.
Special features: Vendor profile is fully customizable and allows operators to set blackout dates and times for full control over when they take rides through the program.
Benefit to operators: Flexible marketing tool that gives operators ability to take depressed inventory when it’s sitting around and put it to use.
“BeTransported guarantees a level of service that is consistent throughout its network, which is why we vet our vendors to make sure they’re a good fit,” says Issen Alibris, director of business development for BeTransported. “We’re currently participating in a number of large email campaigns and traditional marketing avenues, and we’ve got some pretty big partnerships in the works that can potentially put us in front of tens of millions of eyeballs.”
Category: Livery software
Features: Online reservations; GPS tracking; fleet dispatch with mobile data terminals; remote reservations and dispatching; integrated employee scheduling; exchange farm-in/farm-out reservations with other Livery Coach users and with any FleetBook vendor.
What’s new: iPad/iPhone integration with iChauffeur and iGreeter apps.
Installation process: On-site installation and training. Team pays for its own travel expenses and conducts training up to three days. Additional training can be purchased.
Category: Livery software
Features: Online reservations, even if company doesn’t have a website; dispatch and accounting management; BlackBerry and iPhone integration; employee telecommute access, TripTrack2Go “roving feature” allows remote access to office computer.