Industry Research

Important Facts About International Operations

Michael Campos
Posted on July 1, 2011

 

Foreign nations represented at the 2011 ILCT Show included Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Guatemala, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Spain,Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom.
Foreign nations represented at the 2011 ILCT Show included Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Guatemala, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Spain,Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom.

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — The international segment of the 2011 ILCT Show came out in full force as 25 different countries were represented by about 250 attendees, underscoring the growth of global networking and operations.

To encourage the growth of the industry and secure LCT as the industry’s only global brand, the magazine is creating this new department dedicated to the operators outside the U.S. The department will be called Global Operator.

The Show hosted a panel of operators from various foreign markets who discussed the key issues and dynamics in each of their markets.

Topics of importance included insurance coverage, chauffeur licensing/training, airport challenges, pricing structures and international payment, and cultural idiosyncrasies.

The panel, led by Scott Solombrino (Dav El Chauffeured Transportation Network, Boston), consisted of Dean De Beer (Tristar Worldwide Chauffeur Services, U.K.), Alexandre Alexe (Geneva VIP Activities, Switzerland), Frederick Busquets (Grup Limousine, Spain), Kris Korkian (Penguin Limousine Services, Australia), Andre Gama (ViaLandauto, Brazil), and Henry Yao (Beijing Limo, China).

 


Insurance

Before sending clients to an international affiliate, companies should first understand each market’s insurance policies to ensure their clients’ safety and protection.

  • U.K.: Insurance in London meets all U.S. requirements, including unlimited liability for injury.
  • Spain: Coverage is €50 million ($69.79 million).
  • Switzerland: Coverage is 3 million Swiss francs ($3.2 million)
  • Brazil: Coverage is smaller; personal injury protection is only $15,000, so companies must have a policy covering their clients when traveling to Brazil.Australia: Coverage is minimum $10 million.
  • China: Insurance covers about $50,000, so companies must make sure their insurance policy covers their clients.

 


Language The only reliable English-speaking drivers in each of the  countries represented at the seminar are limousine chauffeurs. Henry Yao  of China suggests requesting English-speaking drivers ahead of time. In  Brazil and Spain, limousine chauffeurs are the only ground  transportation providers that have bilingual, English-speaking drivers.  Kris Korkian explained that in Australia, where English is the dominant  language, issues arise when travelers choose taxi cabs because many  drivers don’t speak English.
Language The only reliable English-speaking drivers in each of the countries represented at the seminar are limousine chauffeurs. Henry Yao of China suggests requesting English-speaking drivers ahead of time. In Brazil and Spain, limousine chauffeurs are the only ground transportation providers that have bilingual, English-speaking drivers. Kris Korkian explained that in Australia, where English is the dominant language, issues arise when travelers choose taxi cabs because many drivers don’t speak English.
  • U.K.: Clients can expect traffic. It may take some time to acclimate to the smaller car size. Cell phones may not work or get coverage in the airport area.
  • Spain: Barcelona is easy and there are no hassles, but Madrid is a little more difficult. Overall, they are pretty much under control.
  • Switzerland: The airports are small and the arrival times are not very reliable.
  • Brazil: It can take 1 to 1.5 hours to get to the airport from the main cities. Traffic is terrible and Andre Gama suggests that clients leave five hours before a departing flight.
  • Australia: It is a challenge to get the exact cars desired in some of the smaller cities. It is difficult to get a black car — most are white or silver because of the heat — and clients need to make reservations at least 24 hours in advance.
  • China: Airports are always packed because it is customary for large groups of people to meet and greet their relatives or arriving friends. Chauffeurs must meet passengers outside the airport exit because they are not allowed at the baggage claim.

Regulations of Labor Pools

  • U.K.: 85% of the labor force is self-employed (I/O), and all chauffeurs have to be licensed and follow strict certification procedures.
  • Spain: Chauffeurs have to be licensed; the government conducts drug and alcohol tests, but companies cannot.
  • Switzerland: The government regulates the industry. Police conduct alcohol tests on the streets. Chauffeurs must take complex exams before being licensed and cannot work more than nine hours per day.
  • Brazil: Chauffeurs must be licensed. It’s up to companies to conduct criminal background checks and drug tests, and provide defensive-driving training. Make sure to cross-check and vet companies before using them.
  • Australia: Chauffeurs are required to receive a special license from the state governments. Medical and criminal background checks are mandatory.
  • China: There is zero tolerance for any alcohol in the system. Background checks are received from local police stations, so make sure to cross-check and vet companies before using them.

 


Vehicles

One would be hard-pressed to find a big American-made luxury sedan such as the Lincoln Town Car Executive L outside the U.S. Foreign luxury vehicles such as the Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7-series, and Audi A-8 sedans are run-of-the mill. Toyota, VW, Volvo, Holden, and Hyundai sedans are also common, with SUVs few and far between. The vehicles in the U.K. are generally smaller. Black vehicles are difficult to acquire in Australia, where white and silver are the colors of choice.

 


International Payment and Pricing Structure

  • U.K.: Point-to-point rates, hourly rates, all-inclusive. 30 minutes to one hour free waiting time. Quotes are given in British pounds and it’s best to pay via credit card.
  • Spain: Flat rates, no extra charge for waiting up to 1.5 hours. Accepts U.S. dollars.
  • Switzerland: All-inclusive flat-rate, no gratuity added. Accepts Swiss francs and U.S. dollars.
  • Brazil: All-inclusive rates per trip. It’s best to pay via credit card because U.S. dollars are not accepted.
  • Australia: Flat rates, all-inclusive (tax is always included). Meet and greet costs extra. Payments made through credit cards. Quotes are based on conversion on day of service.
  • China: All-inclusive hourly and daily rates. Accepts U.S. dollars.

 


Chauffeur Training Programs

Training programs across the board resemble those in the U.S. and share a focus on customer service, defensive driving courses, health and safety programs, and cultural understanding to deal with the mélange of international clients. However, since the industry is still developing in China and Brazil, Henry Yao and Andre Gama emphasized the importance of cross-checking a company’s certifications before using them.

 

Related Topics: affiliate networks, business travel, corporate travel, Global operators

Comments ( 0 )
More Stories
News

2018's Luxury Travel Trends

Among the highlights for next year is a focus on far-flung destinations along with international trips of two weeks or more.

(Creative Commons Pixabay.com image by geralt)
Article

Too Much Smart Talk On A.I.

AUG. LCT Editor's Edge: Civilization advances non-stop. Intelligent machines free us from menial physical and mental labor.