Operations

How To Find And Promote 'Wow' Client Experiences

Lexi Tucker
Posted on December 15, 2016

REKJAVIK, Iceland — Today’s luxury travelers desire to be immersed in the culture or experience of wherever they venture, and long for out-of-the-ordinary encounters tailored to them. Ómar Djermoun, managing director and owner of Ice Limo Luxury Travel in Reykjavík, lives to make these kinds of events happen.

From ensuring client confidentiality and safety to hand selecting team members who have a passion for making clients’ dreams become reality, operators worldwide can learn how to cater to this new breed of traveler from his example.

Crafting Experiences

When providing incredible leisure travel excursions, no one does it quite like Djermoun. A big believer in a hands-on approach, he rents an RV twice a year with his family and drives around the country to find new secret spots to share with clients.

Fast Facts

Location: Reykjavík and Akureyri, Iceland

Owner: Ómar Djermoun

Founded: 1998

Chauffeured fleet: Mercedes-Benz E Class, long wheelbase S500 hybrid, long wheelbase V Class, Sprinter Executive Coach, Sprinter VIP Van, and Chevrolet Suburban LTZ

Leisure travel fleet: Hummer H2 modified with a 37-in. tire conversion, Ford Excursions with 39-in. tire conversions, and a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter VIP SuperJeep

Fleet size: 25

Employees: 45 summer, 28 winter

Websites: www.luxurytransportation.is (premium transport solutions); www.luxurytravel.is (leisure travel solutions)

Phone: +354 554 4000

Email: [email protected]

“I don’t like doing the same things twice. Many of my clients say ‘Hey Omar, what’s new?’ So I do everything I can to create something that will over deliver on their expectations. When you do this every year, you have to switch things up,” he says. “When people come to Iceland, they want to see the Golden Circle and all of the other things listed on Trip Advisor, but my emphasis is on finding locations where no one has been. For that, I have to spend time and effort discovering new sights to share.”

A select few of these experiences include: Sleeping in a transparent, heated, inflatable bubble tent on a glacier to view the aurora borealis; playing tennis on top of a volcano; drinking locally produced whisky while viewing the largest glacier in Europe; and geyser hot spring tours. If you can think of it, Djermoun can make it happen.

Expert Handlers

One of the most important aspects of creating the perfect experience is having the right employees. Djermoun does his best to ensure he matches guides with his client’s personalities. To do this, he carefully observes his customers.

“We know our clients, and we spend a lot of time thinking about them. For example, if they are a 60-year-old executive from New York, we know exactly the chauffeur to send.”

An aspect of the company Djermoun believes attracts high-end clients is its dedication to respecting privacy. While he’s a phenomenal photographer (every picture you see here was shot by him), he has about 900,000 photos he can never share. Many of these clients are regulars, some of whom conceived their children during their vacations, then come back years later with those same kids.

Ómar Djermoun, managing director and owner of Ice Limo Luxury Travel, with his wife and company CFO Sara Allansdóttir. 
Ómar Djermoun, managing director and owner of Ice Limo Luxury Travel, with his wife and company CFO Sara Allansdóttir. 
Djermoun feels a special connection to such clients. “I can’t let my team take care of these types of customers — I have to do it myself. We have many we always treat like members of our family. To see something you’ve created doing something positive, is a wonderful feeling.”

The same goes for employees at Ice Limo Luxury Travel. Djermoun is selective in vetting new ones, but those hired become a part of a family rather than a company.

“They must really care, have a passion for what we do, and share the goal of what we stand for,” he says. Each team member has a field of expertise, which makes it all work seamlessly.

“Beyond a car or chauffeur, the composition of making the product perfect is what defines the experience,” he explains. “I like to say our team is like a wolf pack.”

This photo of Ryan Urbon, the company’s travel designer, reflects the business’ devotion to staying true to its roots.
This photo of Ryan Urbon, the company’s travel designer, reflects the business’ devotion to staying true to its roots.
Two Sides, One Mission

Ice Limo Luxury Travel has two different aspects: Leisure travel and chauffeured transportation. “I had done a lot of brainstorming about why I would be doing this and I learned over time my two primary fields of expertise are leisure travel related to sharing the natural beauty of Iceland with our clients and premium chauffeured service,” he explains.

As such, the vehicles used for each service are uniquely suited to provide the various types of transportation required in harsh climates. On the chauffeured side of the operation, the company runs all 2016 model year vehicles including Mercedes-Benz E Class, long wheel base V Class, and hybrid S500, Sprinter Executive Coaches, Sprinter VIP Vans, and Chevrolet Suburban LTZs. The S Class is unique because its electric power is generated by a geothermal power station run on energy from a volcano. The vehicles also contain defibrillators and tear gas in case of an emergency.

When transporting VIPs, Djermoun provides International Security Agency (ISA) trained chauffeurs. They differ from what one might picture when they think of bodyguards at a nightclub. “Security guards are often depicted as being really rough and tough; we want ours to be diplomatic and professional, as well as certified to handle dire situations. This is our secure transportation team’s life’s work and passion.”

The aurora borealis is just one of many incredible sights Iceland has to offer visitors. 
The aurora borealis is just one of many incredible sights Iceland has to offer visitors. 
On the leisure travel side of vehicles, Ice Limo has what Djermoun calls “The Vikings.” In his mind, each car isn’t just a car; it’s a part of their history and the story of their company. Named after Norse Gods like Thor, Odin, and Tyr, the fleet consists of: A Hummer H2 modified with a 37-in. tire conversion; Ford Excursions with 39-in. tire conversions that enable them to go further than the company’s chauffeured fleet; and a Mercedes Sprinter VIP SuperJeep. “This separate fleet of modified vehicles is chosen to fulfil specific roles in creating the perfect experience for clients,” he says.

It’s Kind Of A Funny Story…

Djermoun’s first experience with customer service came in the form of a small business. An older friend of his wanted to open up a pizzeria, and eventually got 16-year-old Djermoun to go in on one-third of the company. Unfortunately, the other partners didn’t really understand how to run a business (and tended to slack off more than they worked), so Djermoun ended up as the sole owner.

Djermoun’s goal is to share the beauty of his country with people all over the world.
Djermoun’s goal is to share the beauty of his country with people all over the world.
At 19, he sold the shop and bought an RV on a whim. He then came across a company selling an old stretch limousine, and was able to work out a deal where he traded the RV and got some money and the limo in return. The young entrepreneur started serving the domestic market, and in time became the leader out of all of the luxury ground transportation companies operating in Iceland.

Under pressure with the limo business and his university studies, Djermoun soon learned it’s not about the quantity of the vehicles you have — it’s all in the quality of the service you provide. “You don’t need to have many vehicles, but you have to have a really good operation and deliver on your promises,” he says. Along with his wife and company CFO Sara Allansdóttir, who has been supporting and working with him since he founded the company, Djermoun strove to raise the bar and surpass his client’s expectations.

He got his big break in 2000 when Fischer Luxury Travels, an exclusive travel management company in the U.S., called and asked him to take care of its clients. He bought an older Mercedes S Class because he was getting increased requests for transportation, and the clientele they were providing him were global leaders at the time.

Through this experience, he learned the discipline needed to run a luxury transportation company. It sculpted his business into what it is today, and as time went on, he reduced the number of stretch limos in his fleet and bought newer vehicles.

What Else To Conquer?

For a business with a fleet of 25 vehicles, Ice Limo Luxury Travel has come a long way. The company works with about 250 affiliates worldwide, some of which include big names on LCT’s 50 Largest Fleets list — Carey International, Tristar Worldwide Chauffeured Services, and Music Express, to name a few.

He credits his success to taking the time to understand his field of expertise. He suggests other operators do the same, as well as invest in their employees. “Surround yourself with a team that shares your passion and goals,” he says. “And remember, good things take time.” Focus on making your service outstanding and maintaining the clients you have.

“We want to continue doing an awesome job — it’s our mission.”

For more incredible photos, check out the gallery here.

Related Topics: entrepreneurship, family businesses, Ford, Ford Excursion, Global operators, group transportation, group travel, Hummer, leisure travel, luxury market trends, Mercedes-Benz, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Sprinter, unique vehicles

Lexi Tucker Associate Editor
Comments ( 1 )
  • Anthony

     | about 2 years ago

    You can fly from los angeles to iceland for under 300.00 each way with WOW airlines

More Stories
An ROI (return-on-investment) on a moving vehicle is easy to understand, but difficult to keep consistent. (LCT image)
Article

A Walk Through Coach Profits

NOV. LCT: These simple return-on-investment formulas will help you truly see if your buses of all sizes are making enough money.