Industry Research

20 Tough Questions? Just Askin'

Martin Romjue
Posted on August 3, 2016

I come from a background of no stupid questions. That’s more of a mindset than a fact, but I’ve found sometimes a dumb question can draw an unexpected answer — because the interviewee reveals more via a disgusted response.

My mission statement: I ask anything, and you may ask me anything, because I’ll talk about anything. I’ve found such an approach helpful to a media career.

In this issue, our editorial team tackles what we call hot topics: Conversations and questions to put before the industry that could help solve problems.

In the spirit of no stupid questions, I pose these, which will guide our B2B coverage:

  1. Why doesn’t the industry use real-time, flex, surge-splurge pricing, or at least changing rates, like hotels, airlines, and TNCs?
  2. What does it mean when chauffeured rides available from an app, done by legal, licensed, duty-of-care operators, cost a lot less than a full-price limo run?
  3. If TNCs end up on a level rules playing field to our liking, but still offer cheaper rides, then what?
  4. What if operators required party bus clients to stay seated while the bus moves, but allow them to use the poles and dance around when parked?
  5. If the idea is to drink, dance, watch videos and enjoy the bus, what does it matter if it’s moving or not?
  6. What are you doing to boost your high-touch service for your bread-n-butter “top 1%-ers” who will never step into an UberX or Lyft?
  7. How are you combing for clients and contacts beyond the limousine industry groups and trade shows?
  8. Should the industry be connected on one universal technology platform showing vehicles in real-time, OR should operators let competing tech providers fight it out and offer multiple platform choices?
  9. Why does the industry even need one unified technology platform, anyway? Or why not?
  10. Is the industry’s future in providing a tier of on-demand service, near-demand service, OR both?
  11. What are you doing to pursue the group transportation business?
  12. How can operators make a profit with more expensive sedan fleet vehicles and downward pricing pressures resulting from tech innovations?
  13. If TNCs get away with using independent contractor drivers, should the limousine industry stick to using mostly W-2 chauffeur employees or try to get legal allowances to use 1099 I/O chauffeurs like TNCs?
  14. Why would chauffeurs want to stay loyal to your company?
  15. What is the ideal business model for chauffeured operations in 2016?
  16. How do you sell your service to potential clients who fall below the top 10% of households in annual income?
  17. In what ways are value and performance standards changing for a limousine company?
  18. Will chauffeured transportation become more of a commodity or a service business?
  19. If self-driving cars become a fact in 10-15 years, where will your business be?

Presidential characters, but not character.
Presidential characters, but not character.
Now for the big NO. 20: Who should an operator vote for in the Presidential race, from a strictly self-interested limousine industry point of view: Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump?

  • Hillary opposes the gig economy and takes a pro-labor, pro-employee stance. That’s not a set of policies beneficial to Uber and TNCs. She also wants to expand government, which could likely lead to more federal ground transportation contracts.
  • Trump, a native New Yorker who visited an LCT Show in the 1990s, and whose Atlantic City hotel-casinos have served as trade show sites, is a limo-lovin’ businessman who, depending on the political moment, talks about cutting taxes, deregulation, and creating jobs.

I won’t publicly endorse either way. But we’ll all have plenty to talk about when we convene at LCT-NLA Show East in Atlantic City, Nov. 13-15 (www.lcteast.com). See you then, ready for plenty of answers to this mouthy dump of questions.

Related Topics: apps, building your clientele, customer service, group transportation, industry politics, industry trends, LCT editor, Martin Romjue, media, mobile technology, profits, rates, service pricing, software, state of industry, surge pricing, TNCs, Uber

Martin Romjue Editor
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