SAN FRANCISCO — Limos.com, a leading web-based clearinghouse for chauffeured reservations, price comparisons, reviews, and customer information, recently elaborated on some of the features of its revamped format.
Limos.com serves about 1,700 operators worldwide who have signed up to its web-based service. Its executives held a session at the 2009 International LCT Show last month to explain how the site works and its potential for helping chauffeured operators market and promote their services to an increasingly tech-savvy Internet-oriented clientele.
Limos.com in many ways resembles Expedia, Hotels.com, and Orbitz in that it provides a one-stop shop for ranking and comparing services based on variables requested by potential customers. About 70% of its reservations and leads activity is driven by retail, and 30% by corporate and airport clients.
“From an online experience, customers do best with established formats,” said Doug Anderson, senior vice president of product development for Limos.com. “We help operators put their best content on our platform so they put the best face forward with the customer. Those who provide the best content upfront in the process are more likely to drive customer activity and transactions.”
As is the case with popular travel and hotel reservation web sites, members of limos.com upload content about their services that are featured on the site. This provides a more conventional experience for site users who need to compare services and vehicles, Anderson said. That’s why Limos.com and similar sites do not allow click-thrus to other sites, since such a set-up would actually take customers away from communicating with the operators.
“Click-thrus are like a waterfall — the more you have, the more customers fall off,” Anderson said. “The more clicks a customer has to do, the more likely they are to leave the process. Our focus is on tools, starters of the thread. Once it goes from customer via our site to the operator, they are in contact directly.”
While outbound web links aren't available, Limos.com prominently displays an operator’s name, email, and phone contact information on the site; emails it to clients; and features direct customer-to-operator messaging tools. A key partner benefit is that once an operator makes a contact or books a customer, they get the opportunity to retain that customer for life.
Limos.com data shows that operators offering robust photos, videos, and creative text on Limos.com achieve the best results. If an operator's best content is not offered on its profile, customers won't hunt for it by going on to their website. Customers will take the best offer that is easiest to book, which 70% of the time, is not the cheapest, Anderson said.
Limos.com resembles such sites such as Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, and American Express in that it has a standard content format that doesn’t allow click-thrus, but differs from them in that it offers multiple direct contact methods between operator members and customers, Anderson said.
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Source: Martin Romjue, LCT Magazine