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ILCT Show Takes Attendees Into A Productive Lane

Martin Romjue
Posted on February 20, 2020

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Opportunity, focus, and confidence would qualify as the buzzwords for the 2020 International LCT Show that wrapped up Feb. 19 after four days of useful business information and networking.

Those words point to the defining moments of the show that included leading business signs and indicators explained in the annual State Of The Industry address; a motivational keynote presentation on how to concentrate on getting best results; and time-mastered lessons from a 40-year industry legend who went from soaring success to start-over comeback kid.

LCT will detail these main events and other show experiences further in the March/April “Post-Show” issue:

LCT general manager Jim Luff delivers his first State of the Industry address on Monday, Feb. 17, 2020 at the International LCT Show at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas. (LCT photo)

LCT general manager Jim Luff delivers his first State of the Industry address on Monday, Feb. 17, 2020 at the International LCT Show at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas. (LCT photo)

Good Economy, New Opportunities

In his first annual State Of The Industry address, new LCT general manager Jim Luff outlined some of the troubles and breakthroughs operators are experiencing, as well as wider economic and business trends affecting the ground transportation sector. [The industry’s most recognized trend update was sponsored this year by Prevost, a luxury motorcoach manufacturer that has helped set the standard for large luxury buses in the industry].

  • A rising number of operators are entering the shuttle market, which provides a steady, reliable revenue stream. Client companies can benefit from recently created federal tax breaks for offering such services to employees.
  • Continued increases in insurance rates and more operators receiving non-renewal notices as insurers shy away from buses. High-profile crashes have pushed payouts to survivors and injured parties above the collective premiums.
  • Most operators are trying to find qualified commercially licensed drivers to fill vacant jobs in a very tight employee job market.
  • Mobile technology has replaced the personal computer as the preferred way to get work done. Clients increasingly make reservations on their smartphones. “I can tell you this: If someone can’t make a reservation with your company using an app, you will soon be left in the dust," Luff said.
  • GRiDD Technologies' G-Net platform is advancing as the industry's go-to platform allowing diverse software providers to connect. "In my own personal opinion, this is the best technology to be delivered to the industry in the past 30 years," Luff said. "I’m not going to dwell on this and make this a commercial for them but there is no better way to transfer jobs from one platform to another seamlessly. I applaud the software vendors who have shared their API codes with GRiDD and made it easier for all to conduct business."
  • The use of in-vehicle cameras has become widespread as a growing number of operators realize how they can accurately reconstruct accident scenes, thereby reducing insurance fault and liability, and can resolve billing disputes. Chauffeurs and employees also treat vehicles better when they know a camera is on.
  • Motorcoach manufacturers, such as Prevost/Volvo, MCI, and ABC/Van Hool, are adding more tech- and green-oriented improvements and amenities with each model year that make bus operations safer and more efficient. Look for more electric buses hitting the road in future years.

While the economy overall sends mixed signals, the business sectors intersecting with luxury ground transportation are anticipating growth ahead:

  • The U.S. economy may slow down, with 1.9% in 2019 versus 4% the previous year. Unemployment to remain below 4% this year.
  • The Global Business Travel Association forecasts growth in business travel of 4.1% in 2020 and expected to reach 5.9% by 2023. The global economy is expected to grow by 3.6%.
  • The combined taxi and limousine industry is expected to grow by 5.4% in 2020.  
  • The market size of scheduled and charter bus services industry is expected to increase by 2.2% in 2020.
  • Fuel prices are dropping, with $2.60 a gallon expected to be the average cost for this year.
  • U.S. oil production spiked 38.6% from 8.84 million barrels a day in 2016 to 12.25 million in 2019 and is likely to rise to 13.18 million in 2020.

Otis "Hoop" Hooper of Afterburner Inc., a former C-40 VIP Airlift pilot and KC-135 Tanker Instructor Pilot with over 18 years of distinguished military service, delivered the keynote address Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020 at the International LCT Show. (LCT photo)

Otis "Hoop" Hooper of Afterburner Inc., a former C-40 VIP Airlift pilot and KC-135 Tanker Instructor Pilot with over 18 years of distinguished military service, delivered the keynote address Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020 at the International LCT Show. (LCT photo)

Channeling Results

When confronted with multiple opportunities and abundant information, a business owner or manager must make sure the operation focuses on clear plans and knows how to execute them with measurable results, said the keynote speaker, Otis “Hoop” Hooper, a veteran Air Force tanker and VIP airlift pilot with 18 years of service who has flown high government officials and dignitaries around the world. He now works with Afterburner Inc., a national consulting and speaking firm that deploys its experienced military speakers to help corporations achieve precise results and top performance. [The keynote was sponsored by Volvo Commercial Sales].

Under the sequence of “Empower, Equip, and Embed,” Hooper took the audience through the steps of defining and choosing goals and omitting the distractions that can derail the execution of a solid, focused strategy.

He hit upon a common problem to 24/7 fleet operations that must consistently deliver flawless, luxury service. “When you have task saturation, errors go up and productivity goes down,” Hooper said. “Task saturation is overload with too much to do and not enough time, tools, and resources. It can happen to anyone of us.”

Dissolving that saturation means knowing how to follow and act upon the right business “instruments” that allow you to shed certain tasks and keep your business moving forward.

Veteran Los Angeles-Las Vegas operator and VIP chauffeur Charlie Horky recounted his dynamic career and numerous celebrity anecdotes during a live onstage interview with former LCT publisher Sara Eastwood-Richardson on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020 during the ILCT Show. (LCT photo)

Veteran Los Angeles-Las Vegas operator and VIP chauffeur Charlie Horky recounted his dynamic career and numerous celebrity anecdotes during a live onstage interview with former LCT publisher Sara Eastwood-Richardson on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020 during the ILCT Show. (LCT photo)

Endurance In Excellence

Like any industry, luxury ground transportation has a handful of big names who helped define the concept of elite chauffeured service. Charlie Horky, who now runs Las Vegas-based Slade Services with owner and wife Megan Peters Horky, would stand in the top five, having run CLS in Los Angeles until 2005 and later CLS Nevada in Las Vegas. His companies once ranked among the largest fleets and highest industry revenue generators.

Starting in 1980, Horky launched his career with one limousine and over the decades made a name for himself in Los Angeles VIP and celebrity circles, accumulating a Who’s Who of Hollywood client list. In a live on-stage interview with former LCT Publisher Sara Eastwood-Richardson on Feb. 19, his first major one since 2006, Horky recounted numerous anecdotes over his four decades of work. Each one bears an embedded lesson about delivering quality client service that commands high rates.

Following the interview with Horky, LCT general manager Jim Luff (center) presented former LCT Publisher Sara Eastwood-Richardson with a lifetime achievement award from LCT for her 28 years working for LCT Magazine: As Publisher from 1994-2019, and show director from 1991-94. (LCT photo)

Following the interview with Horky, LCT general manager Jim Luff (center) presented former LCT Publisher Sara Eastwood-Richardson with a lifetime achievement award from LCT for her 28 years working for LCT Magazine: As Publisher from 1994-2019, and show director from 1991-94. (LCT photo)

Horky explained why he succeeds among high-net-worth clients and VIPs: Flawless service backed by experience, confidence, and passion. “I always did better with people who liked what I was doing,” he said. “When you get my 40 years of expertise, you will pay to have me oversee it. I have zero tolerance for failure. Because I have lots of experience in oversight, I hold the line on pricing.”

The best chauffeurs are great actors who know how to be professional and always “do a fabulous job,” he said. You have to think clearly, communicate accurately, and act concisely to “excel every time.”

“The sky is not falling,” Horky said of the state of today’s industry. “The young guys coming up are super hard-chargers in a tougher business.”

[See more of Horky’s exclusive interview with Sara in the March/April issue of LCT Magazine].

Related Topics: 2020 ILCT, building your clientele, Charlie Horky, client markets, customer service, difficult clients, keynote speakers, Las Vegas operators, LCT Magazine, Nevada operators, Sara Eastwood-Richardson, VIP service, wealthy clients

Martin Romjue Editor
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