Lessons LCT Can Take Home In 2019

Martin Romjue
Posted on December 18, 2019
LCT learned how much more is possible in the industry in 2019. (LCT image)

LCT learned how much more is possible in the industry in 2019. (LCT image)

This has been one of the more tumultuous years for LCT Magazine in ways that clarify what we’re about and where we are headed. We’ve made it through our first year of new owners, adapting to many changes inside and outside the company.

One of the distracting (defining would be too generous) events of the year was the National Limousine Association’s flip to a new magazine and trade show scene, and then scheduling its show immediately after LCT’s in February. I’m pleased to report that despite this episode — one that can now be flicked and shrugged away — we are very much alive, well, and looking forward to the New Year.  

New opportunities for us have opened, and the events of 2019 focused and underscored who we really are. Lessons always involve a mix of humility and enlightenment. Here’s what we’ve learned through countless interactions, messages, and observations:

Quality builds longevity: The magazine and its accompanying trade show started in the mid-1980s to create a marketplace and media venue for the limousine industry. Since then, LCT has steered the industry course and provided the resources and directions to transform transportation services amid the constant evolution of technology and trends. Our educational and networking roster caters to that legacy in 2020 even more than it did in decades past. Being consistent in how you deliver builds a brand that lasts.

High road smooths the journey: Aside from avoiding the stress of conflict, the confidence to proceed based on accomplishments and reputation coupled with a positive message build long-term success. At LCT, we are thankful for a track record focused on professionalism and integrity. It may not always net you the most short-term popularity, but a productive spirit will yield gradual solid results. Badmouthing and gossiping about your competitors are signs of weakness. We stand strong and guilt-free.   

Politics will hinder you: We live in an era drowning in politics at all levels and in too many organizations. The more you engage in political strife, the less return you get on time, money, and energy. LCT is now free of past industry drama and clubby insider politics. Whatever short-term negativity caused by the NLA rift, the ensuing freedom and independence has been well worth the cost. Our agenda is entirely our own, and not beholden to or compromised by a special interested trade association or its individuals. We appreciate anew our unencumbered flexibility, and any operator who thrives on an independent spirit can feel at home with LCT.

Loyalty tests: We’ve absorbed some inspirational, as well as disappointing, lessons in loyalty this year. We all hear a lot about how if you give top customer service and go the extra mile, clients will reward you. That works very well a lot of the time...until it doesn’t. Ultimately, there’s only so much you can do to keep certain customers or partners. The old saying is so true: When times get tough, true friends and allies become clear. Watch out for those “smiling faces” and don't be afraid to cut your losses and walk away.

Appeasement fades: What a branded business needs most of all is respect, and the way you command it is to follow and abide by solid core principles, not the soft ones of others. People may at times disagree with or dislike you, but if you stay true to your principles and beliefs (and your pricing), you at least stand worthy of respect and put yourself in a position to win over skeptics. A business that always bends over backward ends up with a sore back and flat on its butt. Know what you are about and then set healthy boundaries.

A human touch trumps all: I’ll end this blog post with an anecdote from McDonald’s and what it confirms. The local franchise I frequent installed self-serve terminals this year and shortened its manned service counter as part of a renovation. At first, an attendant cheerfully encouraged customers to order from the digital panels. After using it several times, I noticed I’m doing all the mental work of the cashier by tapping, scrolling, and swiping one command after another. At times when I finished my order and point of sale payment, the customers in the counter line when I arrived had ordered. No time saved. Now on weekend mornings, I don’t see an attendant at the self-serve panels anymore, and rarely see customers using them. I’ve observed most customers (not just seniors) prefer to order from the cashiers. I’ll admit, I like Hector, Paula, and Katrina — those courteous friendly live humans who often work the morning shift.

Therein lies the most valuable lesson of all: Despite all the technology, A.I., and digital app-driven convenience, most of us simply want a genuine connection, a human touch beyond text and swipe. An app that displays “It’s coffee time, Martin!” only knows my data trail. The human touch is an attribute the luxury ground transportation industry can offer in spades as it differentiates itself in a competitive app-tech-driven market. It’s a practice becoming somewhat of a luxury now, and who better to provide it than the operators in this industry.

Related Topics: business opportunities, industry trends, LCT editor, LCT Magazine, Martin Romjue, tradeshows

Martin Romjue Editor
Comments ( 0 )
More Stories