Industry Research

A New Year, A New LCT, And A New Direction

In 1983, the first ever trade magazine for our fledgling industry was born. It was named Limousine and Chauffeur because most owners were chauffeurs. Networks and strategic alliances were not yet organized. The centerpiece of our magazine was the classic stretch limousine and its driver, so that’s what L&C wrote about and discussed at show seminars.

Enter the 90s which kicked off with the savings & loan crash that devastated the banking industry, and then the Persian Gulf War. It was a tough time for the industry as stretch usage, especially for the corporate market, plummeted. Austerity was the theme. But this resilient industry found new revenues in moving business travelers and C-suite executives by way of sedans instead of the revered black stretches and “formals” of the ‘80s. This filled a new niche and became an explosive growth opportunity for the industry as more operators succeeded in the luxury “black car” market. The industry rebounded. Chauffeured sedans and non-descript vehicles like vans (plain on the outside, lush on the inside) took the market to new heights. We saw the writing on the wall and decided it was time for a new message, so in 1997 we rolled out the new name of our magazine and shows: Limousine & Chauffeured Transportation.  

The 2000s were a rush. The Internet took off. New growth markets in tech created a new way of doing everything. Notably, it was a time of acronyms, buzzwords, and catch phrases. Here are just a few you may know: ABC — always be closing; ASAP — as soon as possible, B2B — business to business, EOD — end of day/end of discussion; ETA — estimated time of arrival; HTML — hypertext mark-up language; QC — quality control; RFP — request for proposal; ROI — return on investment; SEO — search engine optimization.  

As a brand that takes great pride in leading the way, especially with innovation and leadership trends, we climbed onboard yet again and rebranded our magazine with the now famous acronym LCT. Many other magazines were also going in this direction (think GQ). We too wanted to be contemporary and relatable. Stealing the most overused catch phrase of the 21st century, we wanted to be “on the cutting edge.” This decade had its setbacks (think 9/11), but there was an American spirit and resolve that came back in economic spades with the soaring housing and stock markets.

In Q4 of 2008, the downward spiral began. Our constituents turned to us for answers. There would be no good news, just “downsize — cut your staff, reduce your fleet.” Everything was centered around revenue reduction. Then in 2009 something happened that would be the single biggest challenge for our industry and many others: Mobile technology. The smartphone was the world’s great disrupter. Out of that emerged a new competitor for us built upon the backs of millions of unemployed workers who were victims of the Great Recession and the flood of immigration that followed — mostly from the Middle East where people were trying to escape brutal wars. This new technology could make a car appear “on- demand” like magic.

It was amazing, terrifying, and bit over our heads. Still, LCT had to help lead and find solutions to our problems. But the first step was to evaluate our new reality where we concluded on-demand would not work in all transportation markets — at least in the near future. So we repositioned the magazine, show brands, and content direction to Limousine, Charter & Tour. We didn’t only overhaul our content — just look at the shows these days! Who would have ever thought we would be able to make another comeback after so much change? I, for one, did. So LCT set forth to elevate and educate the industry on expanding its footprint into the bus market.   

And now? It’s time to take our greatest leap for our brand and mission statement. We see the industry through a different lens today. Your mark of distinction is in your service levels (high-touch client relations have never been more critical), differentiation, customization (think creating customer tours in your own market and mining for new regional business), and leaning on technology to scale your processes and streamline your human capital exposure. What will you need to drive profits into your future? You must be able to sell luxury, incorporate coaches (size to fit your markets), and be open to new and “other” transportation modes, including ones not thought up yet. We at LCT are in lockstep with you. So without further ado, please join me in saying good-bye to a word that was once the centerpiece of our industry and magazine. LIMOUSINE, which enjoyed a 34-year run with us, has been officially and forever retired. Let me introduce you to the new LCT: LUXURY COACH & TRANSPORTATION.

We have great plans and many exciting announcements to share with you throughout the New Year. With a new name comes new beginnings. Our digital division is exploding. Our events are growing in exciting ways to offer you more value. We are rolling out the first ever LCT Technology Summit to replace the Leadership Summit April 29-May 1 at the Edition Hotel in Miami Beach. And we will be announcing online training products customized for you at our upcoming International LCT Show in Las Vegas March 12-14. On behalf of the entire LCT team, we wish you a Happy New Year. It will be most excellent!

Related Topics: buses, ground transportation, industry leaders, industry media, industry trends, LCT Magazine, LCT Publisher, luxury buses, media, motorcoaches, Sara Eastwood-Richardson

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