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LCT East Ready To Build On Seven-Year Run In Atlantic City

Martin Romjue
Posted on November 7, 2019
LCT East 2019 opened on Noon, Monday, Nov. 4, 2019 at Hard Rock Hotel in Atlantic City. (LCT photo)

LCT East 2019 opened on Noon, Monday, Nov. 4, 2019 at Hard Rock Hotel in Atlantic City. (LCT photo)

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — LCT East closed out its first chapter doing what it does best: Offering a deeper look at the issues ahead that will define and transform the industry.

Business travel, mobility, and the future of ground transportation were highlighted topics, complemented by a roster of educational sessions and networking events arranged by the new Global Ground Transportation Institute and LCT Magazine.  

LCT East drew 520+ attendees and exhibitors from around the nation and overseas for the three-day regional event Nov. 3-5 that returned this year to the Atlantic City oceanfront at the renovated Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

Underneath show theme, LCT Publisher Sara Eastwood-Richardson, Global Ground Transportation Institute executive director Sarah Gazi, and LCT editor and Martin Romjue officially open the trade show floor. (LCT photo)

Underneath show theme, LCT Publisher Sara Eastwood-Richardson, Global Ground Transportation Institute executive director Sarah Gazi, and LCT editor and Martin Romjue officially open the trade show floor. (LCT photo)

LCT East Evolving

Launched in 2013, LCT East was hosted at Caesar’s Atlantic City during its first two years, Harrah’s the next four years, and most recently at the Hard Rock Hotel, formerly the Trump Taj Mahal. The site sits only a few blocks from the former Trump Plaza, where LCT held its third-ever trade show in 1986. The first-ever limousine trade show was held by LCT in 1984 at Caesar’s.

Next year, the show merges with the BusCon Expo, also owned by LCT’s parent company Bobit Business Media, to form America’s Bus & Coach (abc) Expo in downtown Philadelphia, Nov. 15-17, 2020. Details here.

At this year’s East, two keynote discussions advised operators on how to appeal to the changing demands of business travel clients as well as pursue ground transportation opportunities in a disrupted environment.

Jay Campbell, David McDonald, and Mike Boult round up the latest on corporate travel purchasing trends for attendees, Monday, Nov. 4, during keynote presentation. (LCT photo)

Jay Campbell, David McDonald, and Mike Boult round up the latest on corporate travel purchasing trends for attendees, Monday, Nov. 4, during keynote presentation. (LCT photo)

Gaining Grounded Clients

The Ground Travel Buyer Forum on Nov. 4 was led by Jay Campbell, journalist and co-founder of TheCompanyDime.com who questioned Mike Boult, senior vice president of corporate sales for Travel Leaders, one of the world's largest travel companies, and David McDonald, global travel manager at Hogan Lovells International, a law firm operating in 45 countries.

The industry is seeing major shifts in user experience and demand, the panelists said, and Uber and Lyft are not going away. But too many of their disgruntled drivers work too hard and complain about pay and conditions, which poses safety and service risks to the clients who use them.

One way luxury transportation services can win over more clients is by segmenting and leveraging their services like the airlines do into tiers based on price and service levels, the panelists discussed. Operators need to control their own destinies and ask themselves where are the best markets and places to grow.

Hot Seaters Glenn Cook, Matt Daus, Sara Eastwood-Richardson, Chris Jones, and Adam Parken outline the disrupted transformative future of luxury ground transportation during another keynote panel Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019 at LCT East. (LCT photo)

Hot Seaters Glenn Cook, Matt Daus, Sara Eastwood-Richardson, Chris Jones, and Adam Parken outline the disrupted transformative future of luxury ground transportation during another keynote panel Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019 at LCT East. (LCT photo)

Mega-Mobile-Modal Future

A day later, LCT Publisher Sara Eastwood-Richardson led a discussion on the wider trends that will transform ground transportation in the coming decade. “The Hot Seat” experts included Chris Jones, leader of the Canalys firm's global Intelligent Vehicle Service; Adam Parken, head of global communications for Blacklane, an app-based transportation model that targets the luxury market; Glenn Cook of the Greater Orlando Limousine Association and Lake Nona Transportation; and Matthew W. Daus, Transportation Technology Chair at the City University of New York’s (CUNY) Transportation Research Center of The City College of New York and former head of the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission.

Get ready for more autonomous shared rides, electrification, urban growth, and mega-cities that attract young workers, Jones told attendees. Car sales are declining throughout the Western world and Asia as many young people forgo driver’s licenses. On-demand autonomous mobility could eventually save about 1.5 million lives globally taken in vehicle-related crashes, Jones said. Among early adopters of autonomous vehicles (A.V.) will be fixed-route shuttle services in urban areas, but AVs still face many safety and technological hurdles making them years away.

MORE: Look for additional LCT East coverage in future issues of LCT Magazine and on LCTMag.com.

Parken predicted the value of chauffeurs will increase in a semi-autonomous transportation world, even if steering wheels don’t exist. Luxury clients will still prefer someone who can provide security, escort them, handle luggage, and act as a guide and travel assistant, he said.

Parken also confronted the costly “add-on” pricing culture of chauffeured transportation where clients get a base rate and then are hit with any number of taxes, fees, and surcharges that boost the overall price. He advocated Blacklane’s approach of all-in pricing for clients that is transparent to buyers. “It’s misleading to try to look more affordable for the sake of SEO,” he said of traditional pricing methods. “Blacklane’s single price you first see is the final price (gratuity included).”

Daus forecast increased congestion in heavy transportation areas resulting from more growth in the senior population that prefers to live in or close to cities. They will want easy ground transportation just like the younger generations oriented to on-demand service, he said. That requires “multi-modal” approaches to transportation or multiple options that involve every vehicle from a scooter to an autonomous vehicle to a private luxury vehicle to buses.

“Limos will still exist,” Daus said. “People will still want high-end service even with autonomous vehicles.” Travel managers also will not want to deviate from high duty-of-care safety standards, he added.

Get ready to cross over to larger fleet vehicles, like this Cadillac XT5 and XT6 on display at LCT East, Nov. 4-5, 2019. (LCT photo)

Get ready to cross over to larger fleet vehicles, like this Cadillac XT5 and XT6 on display at LCT East, Nov. 4-5, 2019. (LCT photo)

Among other LCT East developments:

  • The show floor for the first time included a selection of luxury crossover utility vehicles that likely point toward future luxury fleets make-ups. The Fred Beans Ford/Lincoln dealership displayed a Lincoln Aviator, and Cadillac Professional Vehicles exhibited the Cadillac XT5 and its larger companion, the XT6. Unlike the smaller sedans rolled out by Detroit automakers throughout the 2010s, the 2020-era crossovers offer more head and legroom, higher elevations, and more cargo space. Meanwhile, foreign brands BMW and Genesis displayed ultra-luxury and tech-enabled long wheelbase sedans that recapture the spacious glory of the former Lincoln Town Car.
  • LCT's first ever "Garage" bus maintenance attraction offered attendees a close look at the inner workings of a Van Hool motorcoach perched atop Rotary Lift(s). (LCT photo)

    LCT's first ever "Garage" bus maintenance attraction offered attendees a close look at the inner workings of a Van Hool motorcoach perched atop Rotary Lift(s). (LCT photo)

    LCT’s first-ever “Garage” displayed a Van Hool motorcoach lifted above the show floor to provide attendees undercarriage views and education on bus maintenance and operations.
  • On Sunday, Nov. 3, multiple networking events allowed attendees to meet with operators of all ages, ethnicities, religions, genders, sexual orientations, and disability statuses, showing how LCT is emerging as the more inclusive and progressive industry media, marketplace, and events brand embracing new members and new ideas.
  • The Women in Transportation Luncheon hosted by LCT senior editor Lexi Tucker involved small groups discussing a handful of interesting icebreaker questions about challenges they were facing going into 2020. Attendees dined on tomato soup and a chicken caesar salad, and then capped the event off with champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, and a delectable variety of colored macaroons.
  • The “New” Majority Mixer, hosted by Tiffany Hinton of MOTEV in Los Angeles, Calif., took a new approach to encouraging people to sit with operators they didn’t know well. As they walked in the door, they were handed a random candy bar and told to sit at the table with a matching photo of that candy bar. Attendees raved about the opportunity to meet new operators and get to know them better through questions that revealed personalities rather than fleet count.
  • The Fast 40 Ice Cream Social at Sugar Factory provided yet another opportunity for young operators to mingle with peers over tasty over-the-top drinks and ice cream. The relaxed atmosphere encouraged bonding over sweet treats.

 Lexi Tucker contributed to this report.

Related Topics: 2019 LCT East, Atlantic city, Cadillac Professional Vehicles, Global Ground Transportation Institute, industry education, industry events, industry leaders, industry trends, industry vendors, networking, new vehicles, tradeshows

Martin Romjue Editor
Comments ( 1 )
  • Steve Edelmann

     | about 4 days ago

    Not to be a spoiler, but the LCT Limo Show in 1986 was held at the Trump Plaza not the Trump Taj Mahal which wasn't built until 1990.

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