Operations

Why Party Size Matters

Anne Daniells
Posted on March 21, 2017

One of the coolest things about social media in this industry is the ability to quickly find affiliates in unusual markets simply by asking for the help. Or getting solid advice to improve your business. Generally, we care about other operators and offer constructive suggestions when problems arise because we want the industry to succeed.

The LIMO Facebook page recently shared some excellent suggestions on how to control clients who like to change their group size without telling you.

Chris Vecchio of ChiTown Party Bus in Chicago and Brian Whitaker of Chicago Transport Solutions both found themselves in unfortunate situations. They sent confirmations for rides showing the vehicles assigned and the passenger capacity. This may seem unimportant, but they caused service and profit problems.

For Vecchio, this meant a client who booked for 10 passengers. As a kind gesture and for client comfort, he generously chose to put them in a 14-passenger vehicle priced on the lower capacity vehicle. Unfortunately, the confirmation referred to the vehicle capacity of 14, and when the larger vehicle had a maintenance issue, this operator naturally sent another vehicle — one with a capacity of 12. Should have been fine, right? But the client showed up with 14 instead of 10 because the confirmation gave her too much information. So much for being nice. Truly no good deed goes unpunished.

Likewise, Whitaker often sends his larger 55-pax motorcoaches when the 47-rider capacity vehicles are booked. His affiliates know this and sometimes ask for 47 passenger quotes knowing he would get a larger vehicle for a lower price. Geez, with affiliate friends like that, who needs enemies?

Confirmations are a written contract that hold clients and operators to an agreed upon service and price. While several operators gave the appropriate advice of only confirming the agreed-upon number of passengers, HF Grady also offered a well-worded warning for those clients who would take advantage. Here is a simplified version of it that should help eliminate lost profits.

Based on availability at the time of booking, we may send a vehicle larger than requested. Regardless of the vehicle we choose to send to you, if you have more passengers than you agree to on this confirmation, we reserve the right to charge additional fees to cover any additional costs that we incur by your unconfirmed change in passenger count.

Treat every confirmation like the written contract it is. Only put the agreed upon passenger numbers and vehicle types on confirmations, and add a caveat like this to protect yourself.

California operator Anne Daniells has more than 25 years of experience in corporate America and the limousine industry, and once owned an LCT Operator Of The Year Award-winning limousine company. She can be reached at [email protected]

Related Topics: Anne Daniells, Ask LCT, motorcoaches, party buses, social media, vehicle safety

Anne Daniells contributing writer
Comments ( 0 )
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.