Fleet managers and business owners are benefiting from new functionality.
ORLANDO, Fla. — The National Limousine Association (NLA) and Deem, Inc. formalized on July 28 a strategic technology and marketing alliance to develop and deploy a cloud network and mobile application that will provide advanced reservations and real-time ride-hailing capabilities for the chauffeured ground transportation industry. The partnership was announced during the Global Business Travel Association's Annual Convention in Orlando by NLA president Gary Buffo and Deem founder and CEO Patrick Grady.
The specific terms and conditions of the strategic alliance were not disclosed. Phase one of the new Deem Car Service will be available in the fourth quarter. On-Demand or “real-time” capabilities will be rolled out during 2016.
Full PRNewswire press release here
Deem is a Commerce-as-a-Service (CaaS) that connects a more than 34,000 customers, 100,000 merchants, 11 million unique products and services and 40 channel partners across a business commerce network, enabling them to lower costs, increase revenue and keep loyal customers.
According to a media information explainer distributed by the NLA:
Deem Car Service will not be serving the low-end of the ground transportation market and instead cater to the typical clients of limousine companies, suich as business travelers, premium consumers, and their families. Each operator will be able to control their own prices. Companies and users will be able to incorporate their preferred vendors and negotiated rates at the point of purchase.
Deem is partnering with operators in the $3 billion U.S. chauffeured transportation market who are already regulated and supported by local, state and federal authorities. The operations use well-vetted and insured chauffeurs and drivers along with high quality fleets and complete customer service. As a result, Deem Car Service overcomes the liabilities and weaknesses of the transportation network company (TNC) model so it doesn’t face any legal, lobbying or public relations battles and costs.
Industry estimates indicate the U.S. market opportunity for on-demand capabilities in the $7 billion range. This places the total U.S. market opportunity for Deem Car Service at $10 billion, and Deem’s net revenue opportunity at more than $1 billion annually.
“The alliance with Deem is a win-win for the NLA because only NLA member operators will be able to participate in the app, and that should help more operators to join the association,” Buffo told LCT at the GBTA Convention. He added that all present and future NLA members will have to sign-on to the NLA’s “pledge to Ride Responsibly that ensures safety and duty of care to corporations and the public."
In a brief interview at GBTA, Grady told LCT the industry should have had an app like this years ago. “But now with our relationship with the NLA, we will launch Deem Car Service beginning with “Phase 1” in October, and then continue to add a timeline of milestones that will build more and more functionality into the ride-hailing app.”
Grady and two Deem staff members previewed the technology platform and discussed proposed logistics on May 18 during a session at the LCT Leadership Summit in Miami Beach, Fla., to an audience that included the CEOs of some of the largest chauffeured transportation networks.
"We are not a travel network company, not a TNC, not a business model," Grady told the session. "We don’t want to be that. We're not an Uber. We are not a transportation company of any kind. We are not using this as Trojan House to become a TNC. We are not a competitor to anyone in this room in any way. We are not a marketplace designed to commoditize you to drop to Uber levels. Our goal is to preserve your brands and the integrity of your pricing, but be more dynamic to be where you need to be. We are a collaborator. We are the Amazon of the B2B space."
During the session, Grady said Deem was "fleshing out" the pricing for participants and would seek industry views through a series of advisory sessions with operators this summer. Some of the CEOs expressed concerns about concentrating so much access and sensitive data into one provider. The U.S. limousine industry is structured based on independent companies of varying sizes that form voluntary affiliate networks across hundreds of cities, using a variety of competing software vendors and proprietary sharing arrangements.
Grady explained that the cloud-based platform would have a balance of transparency and brand integrity for chauffeured company members while providing an agile set-up with customized levels of data storage and sharing, on-demand customer features, and real-time, coordinated access to chaffeured fleet vehicles. The system would have the ability to embrace and proliferate open APIs to faciliate affiliate exchanges across mutliple sofware platforms as well as offer complete PCI-compliant data-protected user profiles and credit card information.
"I implore the industry to see yourselves as co-petitors and TNCs as the competitors," Grady said. "Either everyone joins in and jumps into the deep end and has a pool party, or you do it yourself fighting over pieces of a shrinking pie. More supply equals more inventory, and more users equal more business and revenue. You have to embrace a network. The architecture will accommodate that."
LCT related article: Deem Toughens Up On TNCs With Tech Smarts
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