Operations

What Untapped Events Are In Your Market?

Lexi Tucker
Posted on April 25, 2018
Hillary Louarti of Diamond Transportation in Tucson, Ariz.; John Olinger of AOT Global World Class Chauffeured Services in Warwick, R.I.; and John Oulton of Richmond Limousine in Henrico, Va., shared ideas for special events that have revenue potential for luxury fleet operations on March 13, 2018 during the International LCT Show (LCT file photo).
Hillary Louarti of Diamond Transportation in Tucson, Ariz.; John Olinger of AOT Global World Class Chauffeured Services in Warwick, R.I.; and John Oulton of Richmond Limousine in Henrico, Va., shared ideas for special events that have revenue potential for luxury fleet operations on March 13, 2018 during the International LCT Show (LCT file photo).

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Every market has different opportunities for operators to discover and take advantage of. Events with potential were discussed during the International LCT Show session “Rediscovering Your Market To Elevate Your Event Bookings,” where operators Hillary Louarti of Diamond Transportation in Tucson, Ariz.; John Olinger of AOT Global World Class Chauffeured Services in Warwick, R.I.; and John Oulton of Richmond Limousine in Henrico, Va. presented opportunities they have found in their areas of business.

Life Events
Louarti listed the major life events that often call for luxury transportation service, and explained they vary by location:

• Baptisms
• Bar and bat mitzvahs
• Quinceañeras
• Weddings
• Anniversaries
• Memorial services/life celebrations

“I grew up in New England and attended more bar and bat mitzvahs than I can remember,” she said. “In Tucson, there's not really much demand for transportation services for those. However, quinceañeras are a huge. We have a large Mexican American and Hispanic community.”

Quinceañeras, an important coming of age in the Catholic Church for Hispanic girls, are easy to get involved with. Louarti says look into your city and see if there’s a local Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

“Again, everyone has that niche market and it may not be applicable, but you are going to have a population that’s probably underserved and you can reach out to,” she said. You can also try bridal shops, reception venues, and churches.

Remember anniversaries will often follow weddings, so follow up accordingly. You must look at the entire “circle of life” of a client, from baptisms to deaths — it’s inevitable.

Weddings
If you believe Uber and Lyft affect your business, Olinger said you’re safe with weddings. “They’re something that's somewhat recession proof. People don't decide not to get married because the economy sucks, but they do decide to scale down their weddings when the economy takes a hit. But it's not something that's going to completely disappear when we have another crisis like we had in 2008 and 2009. Our wedding business really didn't suffer back then. Our corporate business did.”

The most important thing to do if you plan to pursue the wedding business is build credibility with brides and the people in the industry or in your city who ill refer you. Online review sites specifically for weddings, such as WeddingWire and The Knot, will be vital to your success.

“A corporate call for an airport reservation could last 30 seconds; a wedding call could last 30 minutes. It makes a huge difference to brides when they find a company that's willing to stop and talk to them.”

Non-Profits And Charities
Non-profits like the Boys & Girls Club, Girl Scouts, and American Cancer Society provide great opportunities for outreach in your community. Fundraisers are often important for these groups. It’s usually wealthy people in the community that attend them, and they're the ones who will be seeing your name and, hopefully, your logoed vehicles.

Charities are also a great way to get your company name out to the public. “They may have a VIP speaker they want to bring in and you can set up a contract to provide their services,” Louarti said. They may ask you for something, such as a chartered dinner transfer. We give those a lot. But when we do it, we make sure we receive the recognition for it, such as a notice in the program that says we donated that. And also when they're doing announcements, to announce our name as well,” Louarti says.

Holiday Light Tours
In Oulton’s market of Richmond, holiday light tours are big. “For us, they represent a huge chunk of income during the month of December where everything else is traditionally not there,” he said.

Typically, operators do a three- to four-hour light tour. “It's an experience for the client to try to give them more time in the vehicle, and it works. There is nothing wrong with it, but we try to think outside of the box. We always look at a two-hour as our best economy option. It's 25% off the three-hour price. The great thing is we can do two two-hour tours in a night. So we're going to make a lot more than the one three-hour tour.”

When clients choose to do a three-hour tour, the company will come pick them up at their location. For a two-hour tour, the client comes to a central location. “We're able to do practically the same tour, just without the extra travel time. Not only does it allow us to do two in a night, but it reduces the travel time in between, which also reduces fuel cost in between.”

Winery And Brewery Tours
Winery and brewery tours are opportunities to make money year round. You can create custom tours based on client desires or featured tours. Featured tours are streamlined and more clustered together. “This way, there's less drive time, and more time inside the wineries. The more time they're out of the vehicle, the more time I'm not spending any money,” he says.

Featured tours are preset routes, but Oulton allows them to switch one winery or brewery out for another. “Just be sure to take a look at Google Maps and ensure it doesn't add too much time to the trip.” These featured tours make booking a lot faster.

Oulton offers a seven-hour minimum from the start because it gets clients thinking it’s enough time to drink and enjoy themselves without rushing. He e-mails out featured tours monthly. This helps to build repeat business.

Related Topics: holiday lights tours, How To, ILCT 2018, ILCT 2018 education, industry education, John Olinger, quinceañeras, special events, weddings, Weddings & Formals, wine tours

Lexi Tucker Associate Editor
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