Finding Freedom In More Facts

Martin Romjue
Posted on June 26, 2019

Commentary: LCT Magazine can present a fuller picture and breathe easier as it grows opportunities for the luxury ground transportation industry.

LCT enters freer territory this month, as its affiliation with the National Limousine Association officially expired in late May. Since the annual Fact Book & Industry Guide published this month is all about facts and stats, it serves as an appropriate marker for LCT to pursue broader and more inclusive content.

An Arranged Marriage

LCT’s decades-long support of the NLA helped produce many breakthroughs and advances for the industry, and vaulted the group into a viable advocate.

Just before our International LCT Show in March, the NLA board announced a new partnership with its new mouthpiece magazine partner, Chauffeur Driven, and an NLA branded trade show in Las Vegas next February.

Although we don’t need to rehash that spectacle, I still wonder what the average operator would do if a former partner set up a competing transportation company on a parcel next door and mimicked their operation. Close down and give up? I don't think so, based on the many street-smart operators I've met and visited with over the years.

One bonus for the NLA after more than two decades of deals with LCT has been a stream of positive coverage. It wasn’t an ideal situation from a fair and balanced standpoint, but it got needed information out to the industry. That was the reality of the contracts since the NLA was a client of LCT and Bobit Business Media. Like any business, you try to please and keep your clients as much as possible.

But over time, that bond thinned the skin of a few vocal and self-interested NLA board directors when inconvenient facts or conflicts of interest arose.

Good Fences, Better Neighbors

I was reminded again of the thin-skin syndrome following my April 10 blog post commenting on the NLA board’s announcement. I pointed out how the sophomoric stunt betrayed a leadership clique more desperate than competitive, who are trying to divide the industry with a me-too Las Vegas show. Originality and unity are not on their scoresheet.

Well, you could have scripted the reaction that came within a few hours, best  summed up as, “I’d like to speak with your manager.” And how well did that work?

Sure enough, an officious NLA attorney contacted our higher-ups, and after some back-and-forth between their attorney and ours, the legal muscling went flaccid. The blog post was a typical opinion piece that told the truth. I’m proud to say LCT survived this crass censorship ploy, and such dramas are not our problem anymore.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first time LCT experienced back-channel bullying from a small handful of self-interested schemers. The problem points to what I’ve always thought about how B2B media outlets and outside business interest groups should run as separate entities on their own budgets and in their own offices. They can still cooperate on specific goals on limited terms, but such professional distance produces a healthy, respectful, and accountable environment for everyone. It creates clear boundaries and deters a monopoly mindset, which the NLA has steadily revealed since its announcement.

LCT embraces the light of more freedom to maneuver, report, and serve in the industry. (Flickr.com photo by Kalyan Chakravarthy)

LCT embraces the light of more freedom to maneuver, report, and serve in the industry. (Flickr.com photo by Kalyan Chakravarthy)

Speaking Up & Going Bold

Whether you view the LCT-NLA split as a setback or a benefit, it underscores the principle of how changes spur new opportunities.

As a B2B/trade media outlet, LCT can now report a wider range of issues and topics that would have been considered too political or problematic before. There were many facts about the NLA and industry issues we couldn’t publicize that would be of interest to members and many former ones.

Even more valuable, LCT now moves unimpeded in further serving our industry core, the mostly small- and medium-fleet operators and international operators. Many of them tend to be turned off by fraternal insiders clubs. We can enhance the tools and resources to help them stay nimble and gain diverse revenue and client options beyond the old-school ways and arrangements.

Toward that end, we are planning a new phase for LCT East in Atlantic City (Nov. 3-5), and the 2020 International LCT Show at The Venetian in Las Vegas (Feb. 17-20) as we reset and revamp our educational arm and show formats.

LCT is also working with groups from related business sectors to help grow connections for all ground transportation operators and suppliers. We’re all about developing more business while enriching the overall industry revenue pie.

With renewed independence and enterprise, LCT is now beholden to no special interests — only to you, our readers, attendees, exhibitors, sponsors, colleagues, and friends. We anticipate serving you with more of the facts as they are now, regardless of where they lead.

Related Topics: 2019 LCT East, business growth, industry leaders, industry politics, industry trends, LCT blog, LCT editor, LCT Magazine, leadership, Martin Romjue, media, National Limousine Association, tradeshows

Martin Romjue Editor
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