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Sneak Peek: Industry Group Ready for a New Ground Game

Martin Romjue
Posted on July 10, 2019
The GGTI introduces its logo, which is all about connecting an increasingly diverse, global, intersected, and growing ground transportation sector to find new revenue-generating and business opportunities.

The GGTI introduces its logo, which is all about connecting an increasingly diverse, global, intersected, and growing ground transportation sector to find new revenue-generating and business opportunities.

When the Global Ground Transportation Institute formally launches, it will be the first industry organization of its kind. Not exactly a club, clique, trade association, or even a limousine group, the GGTI will be positioned to lead all types of ground transportation industries toward more business opportunities and build more connections among a wider array of related sectors.

Executive director Sarah Gazi, a Certified Association Executive (CAE) who started forming GGTI from scratch when she joined June 1, brings a wealth of experience from her four years directing the National Limousine Association. In the below interview, Gazi explains how the GGTI opens doors for operators well beyond the traditional concepts of "national" and "limousine."

Think of it as the ultimate complement to the luxury, coach, and transportation industry.

New GGTI executive director, Sarah Gazi. (LCT file photo)

New GGTI executive director, Sarah Gazi. (LCT file photo)

Q: Give us an overview of the GGTI and how it differs from a typical trade association:

A: In a nutshell, the GGTI is a community for all segments of ground transportation, from motorcoach to limo, to shuttles, to autonomous, to paratransit, and everything in between. Our main focus will be education, networking, and benchmarking. We will not be diving into lobbying which is what makes us different from a typical trade association.

Q: We don’t see the words luxury, limousine, or bus. Tell us why this moniker was chosen:

A: Ground transportation is evolving and the different segments of it are intersecting more. We see ground transportation companies are not boxed into one particular segment. Limo companies are running motorcoaches. Motorcoach companies are running limos and operating paratransit vehicles. We didn’t want to confine this ever-growing community into a specific segment, so we named it after what we are seeing: Companies doing ground transportation. We also wanted to make sure we captured the global component as there is such a need to get companies from all over the world involved and connected. There is so much everyone can learn from each other on a global scale.

Q: What are the benefits of the GGTI to limousine and bus operators who join as members?

A: The list of benefits will be constantly expanding as we grow, but we will be delivering educational content in various formats, providing resources such as whitepapers, and offering reduced registration rates at GGTI partnered events and tradeshows. Additionally, we are able to offer members access to a database of over 200,000 corporate fleet and travel managers. Members will receive up to 100 records or database contacts for fleet and travel managers in their market as part of their paid membership. 

Q: Outline the educational programs and offerings of the GGTI and where and in what formats members will be able to access them:

A: We are working to build a robust educational program. This will be an ongoing work in progress. We are looking to build and offer various online courses, webinars, and in-person seminars and training programs. Some will be announced shortly after GGTI launches. More educational content will roll out over time. There are so many educational topics that apply to all ground transportation segments, while other topics may be more tailored to a specific segment.  

Q: In what ways will the GGTI work with and complement the state associations in the luxury ground transportation industry?

A: Even though GGTI isn’t diving into the world of lobbying, we really want to support those that tackle this important work. The state associations in the luxury ground transportation industry are on the front lines in their states, so the GGTI will offer any state association member of GGTI a rebate: 25% of show registration fees will be rebated back to member associations for every member of theirs that attends a GGTI partnered trade show and is also a GGTI member (i.e. LCT East, International LCT Show).

Q: What other business sectors, or verticals, will GGTI be forming relationships with?

A: This list will grow as ground transportation grows, but we want as many verticals involved as possible. There is a lot to learn from each other. From an operator standpoint, we think there will be value for those in the luxury market, motorcoach, car rental, autonomous, paratransit, shuttle, and everything in between. We want operators involved, but also suppliers, manufacturers, research companies, technology companies, and consultants as well. The more diversity we have, the more opportunity there is to learn from each other. The Board of Directors, which is currently being established, is also going to be diverse and across many verticals from all over the world.

Q: Now for the impatient questions: What all have you been doing since you joined June 1? What’s been taking so long? When does the website launch? When are the first meetings?

A: We are building this thing from scratch, essentially. It takes time to turn a vision into reality. We have had to form the foundation which takes time: Name it, establish a mission, develop a membership structure, build a board of directors, create a membership database and website (which will launch by the end of the month when we launch GGTI officially), develop marketing plans, develop membership benefits, and start laying out educational programs. A ton has been going on behind the scenes, and a ton will continue to happen well after launch. This is by no means a project that once it launches, the work is done. Once we launch, the work is just beginning.

The Board of Directors will be having their first meeting in the coming weeks. The first educational event will soon be announced following the launch. The first partnered trade show will be LCT East 2019 (Nov. 3-5, Hard Rock Hotel, Atlantic City, N.J.), where all GGTI members will receive discounted registration rates.

Q: How much will memberships cost? What are the categories and terms?

A: All memberships will run for a full year from which the membership application and payment are received. There are three categories of membership:

  • Operators - $250
  • Vendors - $500
  • Associations - Free

Q: For operators and vendors who would like to be among the first join, what steps should they take?

A: Follow our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/GGTInstitute/. We will be announcing the official launch very soon. We will be notifying everyone through various channels (social media, email, etc). We might even have some special incentives for the first companies to join.

Related Topics: building your clientele, business development, business growth, business opportunities, charter and tour operators, fleet management, Global Ground Transportation Institute, industry education, industry leaders, industry trends, motorcoach operators, networking, Sarah Gazi, tradeshows

Martin Romjue Editor
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