As most of you know, the better educated your clients are on the service that you provide, the more successful you can become. And, this is extremely important when it comes to corporate work. You have to let them know that you are there to provide great service and a comfortable and safe ride, or you risk losing the business. The same needs to be done on the retail side as well.
No other place on the retail side does this come into play more than with prom business. Not only do parents need to know that their child is safe in your vehicles, but also the school districts. Cheryl Berkman, president of Music Express, told me about a letter that she got a hold of stating that students in a particular district in southern California were not allowed to use any transportation not provided by the school (school buses) to and from prom. The letter went on to say that if a student did use another form of transportation (limousine, parents' car, etc.), then he or she would not be able to graduate. This cut any prom business that local operators were counting on to help during a rough economy to zero! NONE! Operators who survive on retail business were now faced with a serious problem. Why did the school district do this? Well, it was to cut down on the number of teens killed or injured in drunk driving accidents on prom night. It's hard to argue that this is not a serious issue, and it is even tougher to argue when the school district shows that the number of alcohol-related accidents are drastically lower with their system in place. However, operators need to plead their case and educate the school districts or face losing prom business all together. Because, since this is dealing with children's' safety, and looking solely at the numbers, this concept could catch on quickly.
Programs that guarantee a child's safety to parents like Prom Promise, which Carolyn Nelson of Belair Limousine in Maryland spearheaded when she was a director in the National Limousine Association, are a way to educate both parents and educators that limousines are a safe form of transportation. Prom Promise is a huge success in Virginia, and the Virginia Limousine Association works closely with the state department of transportation, the state board of education and state law enforcement to educate the parents and school districts of how limousines can make prom night both special and safe.
State and regional associations need to look at adopting programs like Prom Promise to ensure the continuation of prom business in their area. Operators need to be proactive and look to educate their clients and schools on how important safety is to them, and that the children will be safe in their vehicles. Otherwise, start preparing for a very slow spring.