Operations

Looking For The Fact Book Back Story

Martin Romjue
Posted on June 13, 2017
Pexels.com photo by Stokpic (CC0 License: Free for personal and commercial use; No attribution required)
Pexels.com photo by Stokpic (CC0 License: Free for personal and commercial use; No attribution required)

Our annual Fact Book presents a raft of useful business numbers our readers interpret, analyze, and crunch every which way. The stats can guide any operation in making decisions on every function.

While survey numbers recite bare facts, they have to be viewed against wider trends, and even more numbers, beyond the confines of a business and its industry. In other words: “In context.”

Service Squared
For chauffeured vehicle and bus services, client behavior provides valuable cues to how to plan ahead for a business. At LCT, we survey you, the operators, but not the people riding in your vehicles who can make or break your success. Taken together, clients and how they change their preferences and habits spur the motives for why, when, and if a service-oriented business must change in particular ways.

I recently came across some relevant client trends among luxury minded consumers. While industry clientele spans multiple demo groups, it’s generally the higher net worth business and leisure travelers from the upper-middle and wealthy classes who generate the core revenue sources for chauffeured operations. Paying attention to them helps round out the Fact Book.

According to Skift.com, a travel industry news, information, and research service, “service is the most important part of any hospitality business, but an even more significant differentiator in the luxury sector.”

Comparing the realm of service to five-star hotels, if every business or operation offers similar luxury amenities, then how a staff or provider behaves and the quality of the experiences they create sets them apart from competitors. Like hotels, so go luxury chauffeured services.

Money To Spend
Skift.com reports the big back story of how middle class incomes are gaining faster economically than the wealthy class, which should bring new opportunities for operators. It’s human nature to want to make more money and then aspire to the comforts people with more money enjoy. Just look at any Third World economy exploding and transitioning to a more capitalist orientation. As Skift.com reports:

• Middle class households with a disposable income of $100,000 or more will grow from 9.3% in 2017 to 21.1% in 2030.

• Affluent households with a disposable income of $300,000 or more will grow from 1.5% in 2017 to 3.1% by 2030.

• The population of high-net-worth individuals is expected to grow strongly until 2030 and then become small compared to households with smaller incomes but still sizable disposable incomes. (my emphasis)

• Traditional luxury travel providers who only appeal to high-net-worth individuals, described as adults with $1 million+ in net assets, are missing a much larger target market.

New Values
That’s where education and experiences matter most. Those middle class households growing into higher economic reaches need to know about the quality chauffeured experience beyond just tapping a TNC app or grabbing an airport shuttle. Consumers who gain more disposable income generally are open to trading up beyond products and services considered commonplace.  

As more newly minted upper-middle class and wealthy consumers embrace luxury, it will change the perceptions of the sector, according to Skift.com. It won’t just be about high price tags or showy brands and traits. “The more important aspects of luxury today touch upon time to relax and disconnect, open and well-designed spaces, authentic messaging, [creating] a community setting and the ability to connect, and the resources to improve health.”

Chauffeured vehicle, anyone? Now there’s a product and service, if done right, that can meet all of those demands: Simple, easy, relaxing, authenti, and attractive. All can be available riding in a Lincoln Continental or Mercedes-Benz S550. Certainly, it’s simpler and much healthier than wondering and worrying if a Lyft or UberX compact car will be clean with a non-criminal driver.

Gift Of Quiet Time
What I call the always-on, digitally-driven, informed, and street-smart consumers will pay more for “affordable” luxury if it provides the “time, connection, and mindfulness they miss in their everyday lives,” Skift reports.
I read with interest recently how the new bragging right among elite consumers is being able to get eight hours or more of sleep each night. And having the privilege to escape, disconnect, and linger off-grid. That contrasts with what we’ve oten heard in the boasting centered on hours worked, how little sleep one needs, and living a full life of hard-charging activities.

Luxury service providers could promote the big chill out; the craved unplug; the quality experiences of recharged and fuller attention spans. What better way to start those journeys than in a rolling, comfortable, luxury cocoon called a chauffeured car.

Related Topics: business travel, client markets, customer service, economic outlook, industry trends, LCT editor, LCT Fact Book, leisure travel, Martin Romjue, research and trends, VIP service, wealthy clients

Martin Romjue Editor
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