Spending is estimated to advance another 7.1% in 2018 and will expand to $1.7 trillion total by 2022.
With trained, background and drug tested chauffeurs dressed in a dark suit and tie, the company can handle affiliate clients any time. They are a member of the Puget Sound Limousine Association (PSLA) and the National Limousine Association NLA.
Of the company’s affiliate runs, 92% are farm-in, while 8% are farm out; affiliate work makes up about 40% of their total revenue, says operations manager T.J. Anderson, The company uses FASTTRAK Cloud Ultimate software, which is integrated with Deem-Ground/Transponet for farm-in-farm-out ease.
Anderson stresses that as the end representative of the affiliate you are working with, you are who the customer sees. “It’s imperative to be that affiliate’s BEST representative to the customer,” he says. “I have chauffeurs who are specifically requested by clientele of the larger affiliates, but I’ve also seen notes within the trip info that say things like ‘never Bob, when traveling in NY.’ Don't be Bob.”
Also, never underestimate the importance of communication. “The worst call a dispatch center can get is ‘where is my car?’ or ‘I don't see my chauffeur.’ If you aren't running software that automatically sends updates to your affiliates dispatch center (you should really get some), then it’s important the chauffeur is contacting them when enroute, on location, passenger on-board, any additional stops, and drop times.”
As to industry change in how companies affiliate with one another, Anderson believes the process has become much more efficient. “Software is now sophisticated enough that affiliates can pop reservations from one reservation system directly into another, bypassing potential human data-input errors,” he says.
“Larger companies seem to have a quality-rating tiered system in place. Average customers may go to one local affiliate, and higher-end/boutique customers to another. Some affiliates show no loyalty, but go with price, and some are loyal to a fault, even when they aren't being properly represented in a local area. It might only take one ‘save’ run to get you in an affiliate’s good graces, but, at the same time, only one displeased passenger can cost you a nice contract.”
Blackstone signed up with LCT Connect for the main purpose of exposure on a national level to potential affiliate clients. “Even though we are a small company, we still get affiliate request emails two to three times a week from other small companies, so I can only imagine affiliate managers are inundated ten-fold by those emails and maybe have glazed their eyes at them. LCT Connect makes it easy for an affiliate manager to find a company to contact in an area in which they may need an affiliate,” Anderson says.
As the company’s LCT Connect profile reads, “Blackstone won't claim to be the least expensive or the biggest. We will claim to represent your company with high-end vehicles and experienced, professional, and discreet chauffeurs.”
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