Industry Research

8 Reasons To Keep Looking Up And Ahead

Martin Romjue
Posted on July 3, 2019
(LCT image)

(LCT image)

After editing 12 LCT Fact Book & Industry Guides, I’ve seen and crunched enough numbers to see cycles of ups and downs. This year’s book clearly belongs on the up list. Since this edition of LCT Magazine is a year-round keeper, I’ll throw out some more positive markers for the year ahead:

1. Still Rolling: Revenues, profits, and pricing are either growing or holding steady in spite of all the competition, technological disruption, and TNC challenges. That should encourage anyone who plans longevity in this industry, which is never easy but looks more possible than just five short years ago. We went through a period where doomsday dimwits were preparing us for job and business losses as America embraced driverless cars and succumbed to artificial intelligence by. . . 2019 or 2020! Uber, by the way, still struggles to make a profit 10 years after the first passenger tapped its app.

2. Strong Foundation: U.S. unemployment stands at 3.6%, the lowest I’ve seen in my memorable lifetime, which extends way back to my first news impressions of President Nixon speaking on a black-and-white TV. He never looked happy. We should all be thankful we reap from an economy where operators are looking to fill vacancies with chauffeurs instead of clients. I still remember entering this industry at the onset of the Great Recession as businesses retrenched. Everything is possible and profitable with good underlying economics.

3. Luxury Wave: The concepts of luxury, comfort, and convenience creep into more areas of life, with too many examples to cite here. Luxury grows when an economy does and more people can afford better products and services. When I compare the standard old Holiday Inn and Days Inn hotel rooms on family trips as a kid to the standard rooms at Hampton Inns and Spring Hill Suites today, let’s just say “premium” has become the new “basic.” We should reach consumers looking to spend more money on experiences. That means more of them would consider the conveniences of chauffeured service instead of risky Uber-X/Lyft pick-ups. Look no further than the wider range of luxury-level motorcoaches that have hit the market this decade as the OEMs provide a quality and comfort level exceeding those of the typical airline “coach class.”

4. Educational Resources: Earlier this week, I sat in on the first meeting among our new LCT Faculty, an experienced mix of operators who will be planning our educational sessions at LCT East in Atlantic City Nov. 3-5 and the 2020 International LCT Show Feb. 17-20. Taking advantage of LCT’s more independent status, they will reset and revamp our show topics and formats. I heard a lot of original, creative, and provocative ideas bubbling in the brainstorming stew, and it should excite us about LCT shows all over again. There’s much more to come, as originality is our forte.

5. New Show Season: Speaking of our trade show events, LCT East heads back to the oceanfront at the newly remodeled Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, formerly the tacky Trump Taj Mahal. The venue once hosted some competing limo shows more known for partying and indulgence than business advancement. It was the first time in my life I got to be a last caller in a casino bar at 5 a.m. Now that the site has been redesigned, renovated, and cleaned, with the purple casino carpets ripped out, it’s all classed up and ready for the LCT crowd. Meanwhile, ILCT returns to the upgraded Venetian, an attendee favorite.

6. Thinking Global: Look for a new group to emerge this summer called the Global Ground Transportation Institute (GGTI). It will reflect the defining attributes of LCT that center on a broader, more inclusive national and international outlook connecting diverse transportation and travel business sectors for new revenue opportunities. Think of it as a business development agency and educational resource center as opposed to a trade association. We’re all in business to grow, serve, and excel, and the GGTI, partnering with other professional groups, will fill a needed gap in the overall ground transportation industry structure.

7. Going Global: LCT Show Europe in September 2020 will be the first ever U.S.-sponsored luxury ground transportation trade event in Europe. LCT drew operators from 39 countries at its International LCT Show in March, so why not bring the show to a growing global business clientele? U.S. and international operators will be able to network and affiliate like never before, proving this industry can tap a wide world of potential outside of traditional protocols.
8. Media Coverage: As a lifelong media buff whose first editorship was at my junior high newspaper, this marker means the most to me. LCT is entering the next level of multi-media with our experimental videos, podcasts, and a redesigned and reflowed website later this year. Our digital media numbers are rising steadily and stand unrivaled in the industry. We are dedicated to keeping you clicking. I recently indulged my nerdy side and read a book on the history of the network evening news, which was on every evening in my house growing up. A media venue first started in 1948 is still with us, although with fewer viewers, but still profitable and engaging with ratings often exceeding those of cable news channels. It shows how the old can adapt and complement the new, whether in media or in business.

As the original limousine and trade show industry brand, LCT stands 36 years young and strong. We will strive to keep it that way.

Related Editor's Edge: An Industry Reset For The 2020s

Related Topics: 2019 LCT East, 2020 ILCT, economic outlook, industry surveys, industry trends, LCT editor, LCT Events, LCT Fact Book, LCT Magazine, LCT Show Europe, limo tradeshows, luxury market trends, Martin Romjue, media

Martin Romjue Editor
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