My Trade Show Swag Bag Swings With Treats

Martin Romjue
Posted on October 29, 2014
Look up in the convention center. It's an LCT drone looking back at you!

Look up in the convention center. It's an LCT drone looking back at you!

Look up in the convention center. It's an LCT drone looking back at you!
Look up in the convention center. It's an LCT drone looking back at you!

Letting a week lapse between a trade show and blog post has its pros and cons: Immediacy fades, but memory settles. As often happens, an LCT trade show brings out some unique and first-time happenings. One week later, here are some of my most notable observations about the 2014 LCT-NLA Show East:

There was as much excited talk about next year’s show at the new Harrah’s Resort conference center as about this show in the moment. That’s a good sign, now that LCT-NLA has emerged as the sole B2B franchise serving the core Northeast corridor of the limousine industry. See you on Nov. 8-10, 2015, and we pledge to do it all even better.

  • If you entered the show floor just after the ribbon cutting with Ty Bobit, you likely heard some buzzing overhead and saw a saucer like contraption with red and green lights. LCT flew the first every “photo-drone” to get aerial shots and video of attendees pouring onto the floor at the Atlantic City Convention Center. I’ll admit to reading a lot of symbolism into everyday things, but the drone more than anything should signify the new technology wave and transformative business trends already upon us.
  • The coolest technology tidbit I gleaned on the floor was Cadillac/GM's OnStar 4G LTE wireless access to be installed on the next production crop of livery 2015 Escalades, to rollout next month. The OEM-installed feature will enable clients to have wireless access in the vehicle for all tablets and gadgets. That puts chauffeured services on the same level as airports, airlines, hotels, Starbucks, and any place that now offers free Wi-Fi. The 4G LTE feature will be installed on the XTS-L starting in the first quarter of 2015.
LCT scores on vehicle brand diversity. Hyundai Equus and Maserati Quattroporte back to back.
LCT scores on vehicle brand diversity. Hyundai Equus and Maserati Quattroporte back to back.
  • LCT scored another first with the Maserati exhibit of its Quattroporte S Q4 premium sedan, which has a V-6 twin-turbo engine with 404 hp. It can go 0-60 in 4.8 seconds. Base price: $106,000. Maserati, with its cachet as an Italian luxury brand, fits perfectly into the luxury image and fleet menu of the chauffeured transportation industry. David Bastian, sales manager of Towne Livery, is the first livery dealer to offer Maserati vehicles to the limo operators. The Maserati was parked almost trunk to trunk with a Hyundai Equus — the point being that I believe the limousine industry can reap many benefits from running a wide variety of luxury fleet vehicles for every client taste. I hope that the emerging younger generation of operators embraces brand diversity on behalf of their generational counterparts, who retain more flexible brand loyalties.
  • I really liked the sales pitch of First Class Customs Inc. owner and founder Jay Glick, who I observed talking with two Texas operators sampling his Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van models on the show floor. Jay told them about his 8-10-passenger Sprinter van with a J-seat replaces the 120-inch Lincoln MKT stretch limousine, with its larger leg and head area. The model sold by First Class Customs exceeds the average price of a MKT stretch by only a few thousand dollars, Glick pointed out. This reaffirms the industry trend of the Sprinter van becoming the new stretch limo.
    The stretch lives! You can't wrong with old school, classic limo style.
    The stretch lives! You can't wrong with old school, classic limo style.
  • Lest you think the traditional stretch is over, my eyes were repeatedly drawn to Executive Coach Builders’ 72-inch Cadillac XTS-L stretch limousine. I tend to lean toward traditional things, so I’ll argue that there is still a need and a demand for classic limo luxury transportation. The understated, XTS-stretch with its clean, sleek lines and comfortable simplicity radiates sophistication and style, and speaks to the client who wants to communicate refined taste — in a way that doesn’t show off. I’ll consider the Cadillac XTS stretch the “Brooks Brothers” of the limousine world. Yes, Brooks Brothers is still very much alive, with an outlet store in Atlantic City and a retail store at the Philadelphia International Airport.
  • You must admire enthusiasm and panache when you see it, so kudos to RentalLimo.com for an innovative exhibit booth that takes a page from an Apple store with its digital screens and tablets. CEO Ryan Hilberth reported doubling his new clients compared to last year’s LCT Show East, as his exhibit attracted a constant flow of lookers. The guys at RentalLimo.com prove if you have a good idea and positive pitch, you’ll get results.
Every exhibit booth can be like this one.
Every exhibit booth can be like this one.
  • The most encouraging sign that should give all of us hope was the diverse mix of newcomer operators and attendees at the First Timers Orientation. We should all be optimistic with the flow of younger operators coming into the industry from so many different states and walks of life. Regardless of what happens with TNCs, this industry packs potential, and should look forward to many good years ahead as long as it absorbs new people, ideas, trends and technologies.

But before we all head back to Atlantic City, I’ll see you at the 2015 International LCT Show in Las Vegas, March 16-18, 2015.

Related Topics: Cadillac, Cadillac XTS, Editor's Edge Blog, Executive Coachbuilders, First Class Customs, Fleet Vehicles, Harrah's, ILCT 2015, Jay Glick, LCT editor, LCT-NLA Show East, limo tradeshows, Martin Romjue, Maserati, Sprinter, stretch limousine

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