Industry Research


LCT Staff
Posted on October 1, 2004

Yes, it’s only October, but the thought of prom has probably already crossed the minds of many high schoolers at least once. After all, for teens it can be the highlight of their high school career.

Garfield Bowen, founder and publisher of Prom Guide Magazine, knows a thing or two about what teenagers want when it comes to limo service for proms. The publication is distributed to high schools all over the country, from New York to California.

When it comes to the big event, teens want everything from a two-seater sedan to a 28-passenger exotic limousine or limo bus.

If the vehicle seats eight or more passengers, they expect to pay about $8 to $10 an hour per person.

Limousines are typically booked for four to 10 hours, depending on location and company requirements.

To find limo service for prom night, customers usually start with the Yellow Pages. However, Bowen notes, they get frustrated because most limousine companies don’t do proms. Clients then turn to other sources, such as Prom Guide, other magazines or the Internet.

The biggest turn-off for teens is a dirty car. But the worst thing for prom-goers is a no-show or a late limo. Teenagers also don’t appreciate companies that pick them up in a different car than was ordered or getting a driver who can’t find the prom’s location.

What’s the biggest turn on? High schoolers love it when they get extra assistance in planning pre-prom activities, such as dinner reservations.

As for preference in limo colors, years ago teens were able to have their choice because it was only Lincolns, stretches and superstretches, Bowen says. But now with exotics, they don’t have as many options. Typically, white is still the favorite color for the big event.

And don’t forget those amenities. Prom-goers go gaga for TVs, sunroofs, sound systems and other extras that make them go “wow.”

But be warned: If extras such as stocking the limo with drinks and snacks means they’re going to have to pay more, they’ll forego some of the perks. Often parents are the ones paying for the limos, but everyone is price conscious these days.

Top 5 Hot Limos for Prom 2004

To recap the super hot limousine of choice for Prom 2004, the stretch Cadillac Escalade was No. 1. Teens were all over this car, with big name celebs like P’Diddy bolstering its hip factor.

The stretch Navigator followed as No. 2, with its cool and super-sleek look. Prom-goers loved that they could pack a bunch of their friends into it for the big event.

No. 3 was the stretch Lincoln sedan. Because it’s traditional and elegant, no teenager could go wrong by showing up in this one.

The stretched PT Cruiser ranked No. 4 with its ultra funky and different vibe. Plus, teens didn’t seem to mind that it only seated six to eight passengers.

The No. 5 limo was the stretch Volkswagen Beetle. With its unique design, it was the epitome of high schoolers’ tastes, playing off their spunk and versatility.

Make Your Wedding a Day to Remember

For many wedding couples, having a limousine or car service is a must for the big day.

Responses from wedding consultants who are members of the Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants show that couples can spend anywhere from $255 to $1,200 for limousine service, depending on location. Ann Nola, director of the association, says that based on members’ answers, the average amount spent is about $500.

Couples are still asking for horse-drawn carriages, vintage cars and Rolls Royces.

But one of the hottest trends right now is the H2 Hummer, according to some of the consultants in the association.

Kristin Tarpley, a consultant for A Wedding to Remember in Cory, N.C., says, “In the Raleigh area, the bigger the vehicle, the better. The Hummer, Escalade and Excursion are next to impossible to get.”

And while white is still the dominant color, certain parts of the country, such as Atlanta, have always seen black limos as the vehicle of choice. “We’re still seeing more black now than we did before,” Nola says.

“Black is the color because it photographs so well with the bride’s white dress,” says Claudia Horak of Creative Weddings and Events in Cape Corral, Fla. Most wedding couples will book limo service for anywhere from three to five hours. They’ll book limos for about eight to 10 people on average, often for the couple and for the wedding party.

Cheryl Cox of Weddings & Events by Cheryl L. Cox of Myrtle Beach, S.C., notes that for the weddings she plans, the transportation is usually booked for the bride and groom only. “However, to utilize the limo for the minimum hours required, I’ll have the limo pick up and bring the groom, the bridesmaids and parents, and then have transportation arranged for them for after the ceremony.”

To find the perfect limo company for the big day, Nola says that many couples will go with referrals from wedding consultants. Also, bridal shows are a perfect place for couples to find limo service. “They can go to bridal shows, see the actual cars and meet the people who are running the businesses. Plus it is very competitive at bridal shows. The companies try to outdo one another and often times offer better deals.”

The next sources they turn to are referrals from friends, the Yellow Pages and bridal magazines. In addition, wedding couples may use the Internet, check with a bridal association or their local chamber of commerce.

Red carpet treatment is always a must for these clients, but Nola notes that decorating the cars is not as big as it used to be.

The biggest gripe wedding couples make about limo service is that they’re required to book the service for a minimum number of hours, which is often more than what they need.

Cathy Johnson of Cathy Johnson Weddings, serving Central Oklahoma, says limo company representatives are not always customer friendly. In addition, the chauffeur doesn’t always behave professionally.

“Brides and grooms feel like royalty on that one day and want to be treated as such,” she says. “Plus a lot of limo companies are willing to operate off a verbal commitment over the phone and brides want everything in writing.”

Operators should keep in mind that a bride and groom may run late the day of their wedding and need to extend their limousine service. But chauffeurs often have another job afterward and cannot accommodate this request.

Amanda Peloquin of Timeless Events in Tampa, Fla., confirms that her brides and grooms are often not concerned that they may run late and have not made contingency plans with their limo service.

Other gripes include limos that are not as clean as they should be; chauffeurs leave a bride and groom to do another run; a limo doesn’t show up or is late; and not sending the car the couple booked.

But a big complaint, Nola says, is that many companies are not reliable. “Limo companies seem it be in and out of business,” she says, making it hard to find a reliable and stable company.

“And word gets around with wedding consultants,” Nola says. “A wedding consultant will never again use a limo company that ruins a wedding.”

LCT Staff LCT Staff
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