Operations

Latino Limo Market Teems With Potential Clients

Jim Luff
Posted on April 16, 2015
Quinceaneras lavish girls with limousines.

Quinceaneras lavish girls with limousines.

Quinceaneras lavish girls with limousines.
Quinceaneras lavish girls with limousines.

Depending upon your state, you may have a large Latino population that can be tapped for marketing chauffeured transportation services.

The top three states for percentage of Latino populations are: New Mexico (47%), Texas (38%), and California (38%), with the latter home to more than 14 million Latino residents, according to a U.S. Census Bureau 2012 report.

In another report published by Statista, a marketing statistics company, Latinos will spend more than $1.5 trillion in 2015 purchasing goods and services. That’s consumer spending limousine operators can capture as well, given the right approach to this multicultural market.

How Latino Consumers Spend

The life celebrations Latinos spend money on and the unique ways in which they spend their money are steeped in deep traditions. A Latino family might spend more money on a daughter’s 15th birthday celebration than they spend on their annual household budget. However, it isn’t all coming out of Daddy’s wallet. In Latino culture, events such as weddings and quinceaneras are “sponsored” by “Padrinos” and “Madrinas.” Loosely translated, these family members or close friends are “Godparents.”

A quinceanera is a symbolic celebration of a young girl becoming a young woman during a church Mass. These Godparents take on various responsibilities and expenses. One madrina might accompany a young lady to a quinceanera or bridal expo for support while another madrina sponsors cake arrangements. A padrino might agree to “sponsor” or pay for the limousine.

Other padrinos and madrinas might chip in for flowers, hair and makeup, deejay services and photographers, making the entire event a massive production. This is just one component of how Latinos spend their money.

The second component is the fact that 43% of Latinos don’t use banks and transact their business in old fashioned green cash, according to the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation).

Quinceaneras Market

You can see these lavish birthday ceremonies spare no expense. While they are indeed celebrations, they are also religious ceremonies with deep and serious commitments. During a church Mass, young women pledge to become good wives and mothers. They are accompanied in the church service by 14 male and female companions known as damas and chambelanes, with each representing a year in the previous 14 years of life. The church service is followed by a feast with mariachi bands playing during the party.

In symbolic gestures, the young lady gives a doll to her younger sister signifying she’s leaving childhood behind. She will also change from flat shoes to high-heeled shoes to represent her status as a young woman before dancing a first dance with her father.

Typically, transportation for these events demands multiple limousines or high-occupancy vehicles such as stretched Hummers or Escalades. Party buses have become all the rage for quinceaneras as they have transitioned into the industry in the past decade. If you are quoting two eight-passenger limousines, a black and a white are preferred with the young ladies riding in white and the young men in black until after the church service. Then, the damas and chambelanes come out of the church as couples, and will ride in either black or white stretches.

Immediately following the church ceremony, photos are usually taken in front of the church or at other locations around the community similar to weddings. After the photos session, the group may elect to cruise the streets for a while as their guests transition between the church and the reception venue.

About Latino Weddings

Much the same as quinceaneras, Latino weddings have special rites and customs that also use the padrino and madrina sponsorship culture to produce the wedding or “La Boda” as they are referred to in Spanish. It would be very rare for a Latino bride and groom to pay for their own limousine in a traditional Boda.

In fact, it would be up to padrinos to select and pay for the vehicle based upon the bride’s specifications. Similarly, a madrina would shop for and present the wedding cake on the day of the wedding. The “Padrinos de Velacion” are a couple who will join the young couple at the altar to serve as official witnesses and commit to counseling and mentoring the newlyweds.

Other padrinos will provide kneeling pillows, a first family Bible, and “Arras” or wedding coins — 13 to be exact, which the bridegroom will deposit into the hands of his new wife symbolizing his commitment to her care and her acceptance indicating her trust and confidence in her groom. The coins are presented in a gold box or tray that will become a family heirloom. There is something to fit every padrino’s budget to accommodate the Latino wedding participation.

High Profit Jobs

Because Latino’s tend to stay close to home, the jobs are confined to small geographic areas. The church, reception and photo locations are typically within the neighborhood of the family home. This results in low mileage, fewer engine hours and minimal passenger time. Often, transportation from the home to the church is less than a 10-minute ride reducing the urge to pop open one of your bottles of water or complimentary sodas on the way. Upon your arrival at the church, Mass is about one hour and sometimes slightly longer. Your vehicle will sit quietly in the shade earning an hour of pay.

The biggest expense is liable to be post-quinceanera or wedding when both like to culminate cruising through town honking the horn to say, “Look at us, look at us!”

The biggest downfall to these jobs is the extensive clean-up involving glitter from make-up, hairspray and dresses that is difficult to vacuum.

How To Connect

Connecting with the Latino consumer market is easier than you think. Because they tend to shop at places that cater to Latinos within their neighborhoods, you need to be there. If your town has a Hispanic or Latino Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining for the guidance and networking opportunities. If your community doesn’t have an ethnic-based chamber, conduct an Internet search for quinceanera planners or dress shops in your area as a start. The owners of these shops may allow you to display brochures or business cards for referrals.

Also, churches that conduct weddings and quinceaneras have coordinators who assist families with their planning and may help you connect, says Mary Camacho, facilities coordinator of St. Mary’s Church in Bakersfield, Calif. Bridal stores that specialize in serving the Latino market will also specialize in quinceaneras and may be able to help you connect as well. It would be very wise to have someone within your organization who speaks fluent Spanish to plan arrangements, discuss prices, and haggle without losing anything in translation.

Top Five States With Latinos
1. New Mexico 47%
2. California/Texas each 38.2%
3. Arizona 30.2%
4. Nevada 27.3%
5. Florida 23.2%

Lowest Latino Populated States
1. West Virginia 1.3%
2. Maine 1.4%
3. Vermont 1.6%
4. N. Dakota 2.5%
5. Mississippi 2.9%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Top Limo Vehicles For Latino Retail Clients
The following chauffeured vehicle types are most popular for Latino weddings and quinceaneras, listed in no particular order:

• Super-stretched Hummer limousines
• Super-stretched Cadillac Escalade limousines
• Super-stretched Ford Excursion limousines
• Traditional sedan stretch limousines 8-10 passengers
• Limo/party buses

Related Topics: How To, Jim Luff, latino operators, marketing/promotions, New Operator, prom, retail markets, stretch limousine, SUV limousines, weddings, Weddings & Formals

Jim Luff Contributing Editor
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