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The Luxury Market Gives You A Wide Path To Growth

The courtesy shuttle market awaits your call in selling your service to retirement homes, parking lot owners, churches, hotel airport properties, or qualifying to tap into non-emergency medical transportation and paratransit. (LCT file photo)

The courtesy shuttle market awaits your call in selling your service to retirement homes, parking lot owners, churches, hotel airport properties, or qualifying to tap into non-emergency medical transportation and paratransit. (LCT file photo)

You will hear me talk a lot about this topic in the coming months, and I will address it at the State of the Industry presentation during the opening general session at this year’s International LCT Show coming to Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, March 24-27.

I contend the toughest part of the entire ground transportation marketplace, which spans public transit, hail/taxi, courtesy, charter and tour, rental car, and even light rail to an extent, is right here in the luxury space. We exist in a world where there is an average of 3% “forgiveness” for mistakes — true story. No other mode of transportation (and let’s throw air into that mix) demands more for the dollar than our business. 

A Luxury Niche For Success

The good news for you is if this is the most difficult of niches and you succeed at it, you are poised for expansion and takeover in all other transportation segments. We bemoaned the disruption of Uber, but truth be told, the executive car service model hit its peak years before ridehail apps exploded onto the scene. The recession, not Uber or Lyft, toppled many fraying business relationships. Even so, if you stop to consider our industry has caught one lucky break after another in the bloody years following Uber’s launch, in many respects our high-end services have something your clients can benchmark against resulting in renewed value propositions.  

Many operators call me and ask, “Will there continue to be a shakeout of limo companies?” Yes. Those with the least amount of mojo and money will throw in the towel or merge. That does not mean the end of existence nor lessen the need for people to be safely driven places. It means opportunity for others with the will and might to cash in.  

To those shrewd operators, an expanding world awaits you. Luxury is at best a $2 billion slice of the ground transportation world, which totals more than $100 billion.

The new frontier for charter and contract work is at your doorstep. You should look for opportunities for growth in your local market first. What do you see? Employee shuttle needs? Are you a hot destination for corporate events, conventions, and groups? Athletic teams? Sororities, fraternities, universities, educational, and/or private schools? How about government or military prospects?

Where Focus Your Efforts?

As part of your 2019 business plan, you should decide where you’ll focus your efforts: Tour service accounts for 40% of the bus industry, according to the American Bus Association, but airport shuttles, sightseeing, and scheduled service in areas with no public transit are also strong markets.

The courtesy shuttle market awaits your call (and face-to-face presentation). Granted, you’ll need a different mindset selling your service to retirement homes, parking lot owners, churches, hotel airport properties, or qualifying to tap into non-emergency medical transportation and paratransit. It’s still doable and worthwhile residual income.  

While “luxury” is the brass ring of ground transportation, you are ready to conquer more. Our industry has matured over more than three decades. We have scaled our service-on-wheels approach to be ready to hitch that business model onto the wagon of many other transportation verticals. Go get your fair share. Happy (blazing) trails!

Related LCT column: Are You Selling A Luxury Or A Commodity?

Related LCT article: How To Thrive In This Market

Related Topics: building your clientele, client markets, LCT Publisher, luxury market trends, luxury vans, Sara Eastwood-Richardson, staying competitive

Comments ( 1 )
  • Theresa & Rich Callahan,

     | about 10 months ago

    Sarah, You offer a positive and enthusiastic perspective to those of us with fresh new blood to pump into the industry. We appreciate those who have come before us and know of those who have sacrificed. It is our duty now to take what is left and build it out bigger, better and stronger than ever. Thank you,

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