Opinion: Don't stop posting on social media...just do it in a helpful way.
LONDON, U.K. — Reza Choudhury has figured out how to take a luxury transportation operation and turn it into a fulcrum of related opportunities. It’s an approach becoming more viable in an industry where market pressures and technology changes motivate companies to enhance their offerings and products.
The owners of Reliance Worldwide, and now Reliance Group, Reza and Michelle Choudhury, are taking the path to diversification while embracing technology. The Reliance Group consists of five key subsidiaries: Traditional chauffeured service; HYRYDE (powered by Reliance Worldwide); a tech- and app-based high-end chauffeured luxury provider; Reliance Postal & Mail Services; Reliance Courier Distribution; and Reliance Meetings & Events.
Choudhury’s complementary businesses stand as an example of how ground transportation services can leverage their operations into profitable enterprises that build on the original company. When you distill a chauffeured transportation operation to its core, it works as a form of logistics.
“We are working on taking the product lines out of the group and restructuring them as separate entities, to give more focus within each enterprise and creating seprate teams to manage the process,” Choudhury says. All product lines can run on fleet- and logistic-centric operational models.
Because of changes in the industry, Choudhury is moving toward more tech-based enterprises that cater to the growing number of “adulting” millennial employees and clients. He focuses on creating value for bookers, clients, and affiliates as the ground transportation market sector transforms.
“We’re coming from an old legacy type business and evolving into a millennial type business,” Choudhury says. “It’s a bit of the old with the new added in. Customers are more independent, more impatient, and less trusting of businesses. They share their dissatisfaction widely and loudly, and they can easily choose one of our many competitors. But they’re also our greatest source of growth. And yet many businesses, while they say they are customer-first, are actually customer … eventually.”
In the chauffeured transportation industry, more of a traditional legacy sector, many businesses are somewhat stuck and don’t have a clear vision or road map on how to move forward, Choudhury says. Some are consolidating or exiting out of the marketplace.
Choudhury’s highest-profile spinoff is HYRYDE, a stand-alone ground business taken out of Reliance. With market trends shifted toward more technology, HYRYDE creates new custom experiences and conveniences that move away from old legacy business ways.
“HYRYDE is coming into the marketplace as a new entity for ground,” Choudhury says. “We want to give consumers another choice by being the NetJets of ground, adding value for the customer by delivering excellence. ”
For HYRYDE, this means using “Uber-type technology and efficiencies, but with the legacy experience familiar to travelers,” Choudhury says. “We want to better the customer experience by adding the new tech-trend piece to the business.”
HYRYDE will be re-launching its new product at the International LCT Show, Feb. 16-19, 2020 at The Venetian in Las Vegas, and at the U.K. Business
Travel Show, Feb. 26-27.
Since Choudhury first tested and publicized HYRYDE in March 2017, he has changed technology providers, and brought in a team in-house. To manage and lead the companies, Choudhury has appointed a new sales and marketing director, Matthew Ruff, and a new director of operations, Michael Griffin, to bolster the marketing and operations with creative ideas and prepare for growth in the marketplace.
“Instead of relying on other people to help succeed in our vision, we would rather bring them along with us,” Choudhury says. “We decided to invest our own money, and not worry about third parties and instead do it all in-house with the team. We found technology experts because it’s all about the team we work with.”
Choudhury hired eight developers to devise ideas and make changes. “With a third party, you lose a lot in translation with webinars and phone calls.” Creating what he calls huddle groups also gives new structure to his businesses, instead of links to outside providers and contractors.
The marketing teams tackled some key questions: What could they put into the platform to give the right experiences to customers? Do you connect everyone into the booking platform?
HYRYDE’s goal is to improve communication across the board. In refining its platform, developers gathered data on all types of problems and glitches encountered by affiliates, and devised technology solutions, Choudhury says.
“We asked our affiliates worldwide what they would like to see from us,” he says. “They wanted more bookings, a partner portal that would connect directly into their dispatch systems, and connection to driver visibility between platforms.”
The team also opened up an API interface that allows integrations with U.S.-based software systems and other business travel related portals such as Concur, airlines, and hotels.
“We’re creating an ecosystem to share business, and not isolate it to one or a few providers,” Choudhury says.
The network allows for real-time, GPS-driven details on every reservation and vehicle movement, from booking to drop-off via instant messaging and texting.
“We don’t want to be an Uber, Lyft, or Blacklane,” Choudhury says. “We want the top VIPs who want good service, and a market share of consumers who’ve asked us to offer visibility, transparency, and communication in all countries.”
An administrative or executive assistant can log onto the portal from anywhere in the world and see their executives being transported and picked up and dropped off safely. “It’s about duty of care,” Choudhury says. “When you book online, there needs to be process duty of care with customer-first experiences.”
To that end, HYRYDE works with International SOS (www.internationalsos.com) that provides global access to security and medical-related services, travel planning, and risk reduction for corporate travelers.
“We believe by focusing on our customers, our business will grow better. This is growth with a conscience. This is how we succeed with soul. And this is what it takes to create an environment that’s truly amazing.”
In summing up his new interconnected business approach, Choudhury likes to cite a saying commonly attributed to an African proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Reza Choudhury has developed subsidiaries that can either make use of existing company structures and/or tap related business sectors that intersect with luxury ground transportation.
Drawing on expertise and experience in event logistics management, Reliance Worldwide partners with venues and suppliers to run meetings and events. Services can be customized to a client’s exact requirements, whether for pre-event planning or for a live event. Logistics include venue sourcing, site inspections, delegate management, meeting management, transport management, and technical and production management.
Reliance Group has built relationships with worldwide partners to create first-class level parcel and distribution service at discount prices. The company’s large volume of courier parcels and mail allows it to negotiate large reductions from partnering postal consolidators and premier courier companies.
Reliance Courier has a new unique booking platform to book U.K. and international mail and parcel courier collections and deliveries using a secure online booking system. Users can get instant quotes when entering mail items or any parcel size and weight. The fully automated service does not require the sender to manually complete any paperwork. Once the parcel courier or mail service has been booked, a courier driver will be notified to collect parcel and mail items and then deliver it to the required destination. Customers immediately receive receipt and tracking details and can track and see the status of parcel and mail delivery items.
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