Two News Items To Make You Go: Ah-Ha & Oh, No

Martin Romjue
Posted on August 10, 2016

Long, sleek, black and luxurious. Despite TNCs, the chauffeured qualities can endure. (Photo of Irizar i6 motorcoach courtesy of Irizar)
Long, sleek, black and luxurious. Despite TNCs, the chauffeured qualities can endure. (Photo of Irizar i6 motorcoach courtesy of Irizar)
At LCT we try hard to publish articles and features that give limousine businesses a heads up on trends and help them run better for more money.

Sometimes we nail it, other times we miss it, but we’re always looking for it.

But I often find through our near-daily grind of compiling digital news that the trends pop up and smack you head or tail, or both.

Such happened with our e-newsletter today, when an Oh, No story and Ah-Ha one gelled like 2+2.

The Oh, No article about Uber getting into the sedan reservation segment, especially for airport runs, goes for the limo industry’s jugular. Our Fact Book surveys show many chauffeured car services get close to 50% of their revenue from airport runs.

The Ah-Ha article, about the premium Shofur motorcoach service rolling out across Texas, underscores why this magazine rebadged itself Limousine, Charter & Tour in early 2009. Motorcoaches, mid-coaches, and minibuses, coupled with all types of charter trips and commuter line-runs, provide big revenue potential for chauffeured companies trying to find new revenue streams in a TNC-driven ground market.

That’s why you see so many buses on our trade show floors and every motorcoach OEM coming into the limousine sector.

As the first article proves, an unfortunate reality emerging is airport transfers are being lost to transportation network companies (TNCs) and high-end chauffeured apps, such as Blacklane, GroundLink and iCars. As a result, an increasing number of limo operators, legal and licensed, are doing business with these apps, and even with Uber Black (you would be surprised), which in California at least, operates legally with TCP-licensed vehicles (Uber X is another story, with its complete lack of decency).

So this presents two options for operators: 1) Find a way to grab more airport transfers via legal, chauffeured apps; and/or 2) Go ultra-high-end with your chauffeured car service for airport runs among elite clients.

The business model we may see more fully emerging for limousine operations rests on three segements: 1) Group transportation in all types of buses; 2) Luxury, customized chauffeured service for ultra high net worth individuals (UHNWs), VIPs, and celebrities; 3) Tech-driven, economies of scale, app-centered airport runs and point-to-point services to meet growing public demand.

We’ll be exploring this topic deeper in coming months in LCT content, but I’ll make this “told-you-so” prediction again: The middle class is tasting and wanting black car rides more than ever, so there’s a ripe opportunity for operators to reach further into this market. You can rage against it, or find the tools to make it work.

Related Topics: apps, breaking news, building your clientele, business opportunities, Editor's Edge Blog, LCT editor, Martin Romjue, mobile technology, motorcoaches, TNCs, Uber, vehicle apps

Martin Romjue Editor
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