The Greater Orlando Limousine Association held a festive meeting to close out the year.
The International Limousine, Charter and Tour Show (ILCT) is the biggest gathering on the planet of people in our industry. From small to large operators, network affiliate managers to software and vehicle suppliers, there is no place else where so many limo people come together. With about 3,000 attendees this year, there were plenty of people to meet and many opportunities.
Parties at Hakkasan
The Hakkasan Restaurant and Nightclub hosted a networking event, an awards ceremony, and a post-awards party. The trendy multi-million dollar club originating in London combines an ultra-modern aesthetic with a traditional Chinese motif. The sleek VIP lounge couches were very conducive to sitting face to face with new friends and developing new relationships. LCT Show director, Michelle Mendez said great efforts were made to create two distinct environments at the networking party.
The Ling Ling Lounge on Sunday evening featured burning incense and a subdued, mellow atmosphere while Ling Ling Club had thumping music and dancing for those who wanted to party instead of engaging in business talk. The post-awards show at the Hakkasan Club had a packed dance floor as the industry collectively let its hair down, celebrating peers and rocking the night away. The hosted bar on both nights probably helped loosen people up to have some much needed fun after a day of educational classes.
LCT Show 30th Birthday Bash
When LCT throws a party, we do it right. Starting with the requisite ribbon cutting ceremony, Kaye Marseilles from Grech Motors cut the ribbon to officially start the Grech-sponsored party. Guests were served cake-flavored martinis surrounded by stilt-walkers and a festive spirit. This party offered a sneak-peak at all of the exhibitor booths. There was no shortage of swag either. People were filling up bags with free ink pens, stuffed animals, squeeze balls, letter-openers, chip clips, mouse pads, tote bags and rulers.
Overall Networking Opportunities
While the above events were official networking events, the entire Show is all about making connections wherever, whenever. Although the Show opened on Sunday, two networking events took place on Saturday night as the NLA hosted the annual Wine Tasting fundraiser and LCT held a Happy Hour cocktail party in the registration area as guests from around the world began arriving. As the Show picked up, there were many opportunities in seminars, in the exhibit hall, and even in hallways to meet new people in the industry.
More than 100 attendees hit the First Timers session for an overview of the Show from LCT Publisher Sara Eastwood-McLean. Arriving at a show knowing no one can be intimidating. The First Timers Orientation session is designed to ease fears and help newbies make friends with each other. Like the first day of school, attendees are able to meet other first time attendees and share the feeling of “We’re in this together.”
Heard In The Aisle
If you want to find out what’s really going on at an International LCT Show, just ask around.
Jessica Buchholz, GEM Transportation, St. Louis, MO
“LCT Magazine put on another great show! I found it to be educational, inspiring and wonderful to meet with our affiliates as well as meet with new potential affiliates through all of the networking events. The Show is a great way to get pumped for a new year.”
Tony Talia, SB Chauffeuring, Santa Barbara, CA
“Everybody was having fun.” Talia and his wife Maria own SB Chauffeuring. The Talias never miss an industry event. “The LCT networking events allowed me to meet new affiliates there in the club. The networking events are a 10 of 10 in my opinion. I was so impressed with the Show floor because there wasn’t really enough space to walk between the vehicles because of all the people. Every Show has something good.”
Andrew Armitage, Vintage Chauffeuring, Minooka, IL
Andrew Armitage attended the networking party at the swanky Ling Ling Nightclub. “I met a lot of great people coming and going in the class hallways and we decided to meet up at the party in a relaxed atmosphere. The Show provided a good balance of networking and educational opportunities.” Armitage went on to say that he met people from around the world and even in his own backyard and developed relationships with them.
“As a small operator, there are times I am idle and some of the people I met with said they could use me to help with their shortages and vice versa.” As a first time attendee, Armitage attended the First Timers orientation session hosted by LCT Publisher Sara Eastwood-McLean. Armitage observed that large groups of people congregated like a reunion and everyone seemed to be friends. “I felt like an outsider. But walking into that room (First Timers session), it was nice to see so many people that were also there for the first time.”
J.R. Garza, Diamond Limousine & Sedan, Meridian, ID
J.R. Garza had the ultimate networking experience in a chance meeting. Garza and his wife Maria met Greg and Debbie Reed, owners of Emerald City Limousine in San Diego, CA. As it turns out, the Reeds’ son Gavin is attending Boise State University and was in need of a part-time job. The Garzas have been searching for a part-time chauffeur that actually would understand the needs of the business and sporadic work environment, including those pesky last-minute call-in jobs. Since Gavin grew up in the business, this was a match made in heaven. The Garzas said they had a fantastic time at the show. “We especially loved the layout of the show floor with the lounge in the center. The shaking hands and face-to-face time always makes the show of tremendous value to us,” Garza said.
Kurt Wiese, Summit Limousine, Johnstown, CO
Kurt Wiese attended his second International LCT Show with his wife, Sara. The couple runs Summit Limousine, about an hour north of Denver. Sara maintains her full-time job as an RN while Kurt handles daily business. The couple set out to meet LCT Publisher Sara Eastwood-McLean and are now poised to be featured in an upcoming issue about a catastrophic flood loss of their fleet. “The classes are really important to us. I want someone to tell me to ‘Do this,’ ‘Do that,’ and ‘Think about this’ to be successful. It seemed like there were a lot more people there this year. It was very crowded.”
Jeff Brodsly, CEO, Chosen Payments, Moorpark, CA
Chosen Payments provided sponsorship of many portions of the Show as well as hosting a private party for 220 invited guests in a 6,000 square-foot private suite. Clients were treated to an open bar, souvenir photos and great food. The invited clients showed their appreciation back by delivering more than 100 prospective new clients to the Chosen Payments booth. Brodsly and his team also attended the NLA Wine Tasting fundraiser. “I love the show for two reasons. I have a chance to hang out with some of the biggest players in the business and I get to hang out with my clients on an up-close and personal basis. In the past two years, we have had the most love and positive overwhelming feedback from our clients through referrals.”
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