Industry Research

Annual State Of Industry Points To Major Changes, Opps

Martin Romjue
Posted on March 27, 2019

LCT Publisher and Show Chair Sara Eastwood-Richardson opens the 2019 International LCT Show at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on Monday, March 25, 2019 (LCT photo)

LCT Publisher and Show Chair Sara Eastwood-Richardson opens the 2019 International LCT Show at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on Monday, March 25, 2019 (LCT photo)

LAS VEGAS, Nev. --- Five years ago, the state of the industry looked a bit bleak, with slow economic growth and the full-force rise of Uber and TNCs.

As the International LCT Show marks its 35th anniversary, we're not only all still here, but can expect plenty of reasons to endure and grow, according to the annual State of the Industry presentation that opened the show on March 25. The economy is scraping 4% growth, the courtesy shuttle market presents new markets for operators, business travel looks healthy, and the conveniences of mobile technology beckon, LCT Publisher Sara Eastwood-Richardson told a ballroom of attendees.

The outlook supports this year's conference theme of "Dream Big," a basic requirement for ambitious entrepreneurs and business owners who pursue a vision.

"No matter what it is we’re talking about in life, if you focus on it, you’ll get more of it," Sara said. "The truth of the matter is that when you fail you tend to ponder, and when you succeed you tend to party. Failure breeds the skills that are necessary for success in the long term, and not just the short-lived kind that we can experience with momentary (but quickly fleeting) feelings of bliss. Don’t be afraid to dream just because you might fail. Failure will help build character and give you the tools to succeed in the long term."

Among the highlights of the state of the industry, which will be detailed in a future complete report available through exclusive web access:

Need For Speed

Mobile technology is fast replacing the PC as the No. 1 business tool. Websites must be mobile responsive, not just mobile friendly. Operator sites should automatically adjust to fit any screen in anticipation of a client accessing you by phone. Page load speed is a hot button topic. According to Digital Marketer, if your page loads speed exceed 3 seconds your bounce rate will significantly increase.

Healthy Economy

The economic outlook for 2019 appears to still be on a path for growth despite the current uncertainty of the stock market. Unemployment is below 4%. The long-awaited upward pressure on wages is finally occurring more broadly which is boosting consumer spending.

For the sixth straight year, the Global Business Travel Association predicts budget and spending increases for 2019 across the board. 

Shuttle Bus And Van Opportunities

Here are the best places to mine in your local markets for courtesy shuttle work:

One: Employee movement. The growing trend for large corporate is to build their own “campuses” and that has led to adding employee transportation to the “perk” list. This business is residual work that is contracted directly and paid to the transportation provider monthly.  And there is even a tax incentive for this business.

Two: Retirement community living. Look for “independent living campuses” as a possible shuttle opportunity.  This market is booming – especially in the high-end space with brands like Global Hyatt taking full advantage. Marriot is moving their DC corporate headquarters across town and when they do, the building they are vacating will be turned into a five-building retirement campus that will be home to 15,000 residents.

Three: Collegiate work. The transportation needs of colleges is layered with inner campus fixed route shuttles and off campus shuttles that take kids from school to town. That’s tricky to get. But again, there is the charter work you need to go after. That includes everything from college promotions and events to athletic contract work. 

Trade Group Shake-Up

Before detailing the industry and economic outlooks, Sara announced another coming industry opportunity to support a more diverse, global, and inter-connected industry: The launch of the Global Ground Transportation Alliance by LCT's parent company, Bobit Business Media. Rolling out this summer, the umbrella not-for-profit organization will support state, national, and international transportation associations, while unifying the increasingly layered ground transportation industry on more focused and common goals. 

The association is evolving from a parting of ways with the National Limousine Association that LCT has partnered with for trade shows and/or association management since the 1980s. Sara thanked the group for its years of dedicated service to operators. 

"We continue to pledge our financial support of the NLA, an association LCT has supported since its inception in 1985 with show revenues totaling more than $7 million. It goes without saying that the NLA work has been a labor of love to me and my company for over three decades. Even though we will not be partnering on our events, we hope to be an official NLA sponsor and have our eyes on their Day-On-The-Hill program. We like its mission and feel we can get behind it."

Related Topics: building your clientele, economic outlook, ILCT 2019, industry trends, Sara Eastwood-Richardson, shuttle buses, state of industry

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