Girl Power!

Women's Peer Group Takes on the Status Quo

A Class Act

When it Comes to Family, Charity, and the Livery Industry, Classic Cadillac Has a Soft Spot

Raise Your Association Participation

Don’t Miss Out on the Many Benefits of Being United

Untangle the Web

4 Strategies for A Holistic Online Marketing Plan

No Man is an Island

5 Reasons Peer Groups Are Good For Business



Monday, November 25, 2013

Casey Corporate Transportation Announces New Director of Business Development

Casey Corporate Transportation has recently announced their newest team member, Pamela Railey, who will serve as the company's new Director of Business Development.

Pamela Railey
Director of Business Development
Casey Corporate Transportation
With over 17 years of experience in corporate sales and marketing within the automotive and bus industries, Railey will oversee Casey's sales, marketing and all of the company's affiliate relationships. Valuing her customers and striving to build lasting relationships with them, Railey has developed a motto that corresponds to her professional mission:

“As a sales representative, all you have is your reputation, regardless of the company because your reputation will follow you." 

It is this convergence of values that informed the company's decision to hire Railey; because Casey Corporate Transportation is also committed to valuing customers, and believes in providing the best customer service possible, the company describes Railey as "the perfect fit."

The company believes their newest team member will continue to build long lasting relationships for Casey Corporate Transportation by instilling trust and loyalty with their affiliates.

For more information about Casey Corporate Transportation, or to contact Pamela Railey, visit www.cctatlanta.com.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

8 Mistakes Made in Email Marketing

One engaging image entices the reader to click through... but too many can
overload and overwhelm the reader, and ultimately distort your message.

One of the benefits of having over 19,000 subscribers is that many of our advertisers have the opportunity to promote their companies via our email marketing campaign. When done effectively, an email can reach an audience instantly—reaching people on their smartphones, tablets and computers. More often than not, however, email marketing is a vehicle that many businesses start driving before having bothered to read the owner's manual.

Having designed and distributed hundreds of email advertisements and newsletters, I have become very well-versed on what works in email marketing, and what doesn't. Here are 8 of the most common mistakes made in email marketing.

1. A Spammy, Indirect, or Long Subject Line

Your potential customers receive hundreds of emails a week, so don't assume that just because your recipient gets your email they are necessarily going to read it. The first way to prevent getting your email lost en route to your list is by creating a subject line that is both direct, and junk-folder-proof. As imaginative as we want to be in marketing, creating a catchy headline that may work in an ad may be counter-productive when it comes to email marketing. In other words, make your subject line as simple and direct as possible. Avoid vague subject lines like "Don't Miss This Amazing Opportunity." Also, avoid the temptation of being overzealous in your subject line, such as, "Save! Save! Save!!!" This type of subject line guarantees a one-way ticket to your recipient's junk folder.

Instead, use subject lines that "tease" a specific special offer that is direct and to the point. Without getting into the SPAMmy words, make the subject line connect to the body of the email. A sample of this type of subject line would be "Now Offering Discount Rides to Boston."

Even better: "Your VIP Invite: Nab the Best Rates First." This type of subject line clearly articulates the reason for the email and gives the reader an idea of what they will be reading about in the body, as well as a sense of urgency. Don't be misleading in your subject line, either, giving the recipient a reason to "unsubscribe" to any future emails from your company (we will discuss the ethics of "opting in and out" later in this article). People respond to people they trust—so don't be too "sales-y."

Because many of the end users will be viewing your email on their smartphones, keep your subject line short (roughly 5 words or less, if possible). Make use of the "subheader" in the email preview—the subheader is the text that appears in the email preview when you receive an email. Use wording associated with the subject line that is a direct "call-to-action."

Also, don't assume your audience knows who you are. Remind them what your company does in your subject line by making it direct. A reader always wants to know: "What's in it for me?"

2. Unequal Image to Text Ratio

Images work in email marketing because people like images more than they like reading. However, the most effective email messages utilize the age-old adage that "less is more"—in this case, the less images, the better. Filling up your content with multiple images or one big image is bad for a couple of reasons. Firstly, time is precious, and making the recipient wait for images to "preview" in their email browser is  a recipe for tuning out your potential audience. If it takes too long to see what your email is about, the reader will bounce before it loads completely. Also, many email providers don't load images automatically. Giving the reader another button to click for them to read your email ensures that less people will go that extra step to read your email.

The best email marketing has more than 50% text to image ratio, ensuring that the reader will get to read a preview of your email message before it needs to download the images. Too many times, companies send me a full-page print ad and want it sent out as an email "blast." Huge images not are web friendly. Having the entire email body be one big, sliced up image is a sure-fire way for viewers to hit delete before even attempting to engage in your presentation.


Make sure your email is written so that it clearly articulates the reason for the viewer to investigate the new email in their inbox. Remember, you need to have actual content. Don't fill it up with "salesy" pitches. Have some substance. Less is more as long as it is not less than 50% of your body email.

Opt for text headers over graphic headers—this way, you're sure that the recipient gets the message right out of the gate.

3. No "Call-To-Action"

Sending out an email with no "call-to-action" is another common mistake made in email marketing. A "call-to-action" in marketing terms means that by promoting your business, you are attracting customers that need to take one simple action to visit your site and view your products and services (in this case, one simple click). If your email body is full of multiple links, it can not only confuse the reader but also make your message less trustworthy. A simple "Click here to save on ....." needs to guide the reader to a good landing page that references the email in some way. Sending the reader to your home page does no good, unless you mention the offer in the body of the website on that particular page.

Sending out a print ad doesn't make a great email. Think about a normal print ad—sometimes there is a call-to-action, but often it is just a friendly reminder of your business and what you do. A person will keep a magazine and refer back to it much more often than they will a saved email.

In fact, repeat the same "call-to-action" multiple times throughout the email if you have to. Whatever you do, make the "call-to-action" stand out from the other verbiage. Using "Limited Time Offer" is another way to attract traffic right away. This compels readers to act before it’s too late.

Make sure to make your "call-to-action" buttons larger and easy to find. Since many of the readers will be using their thumbs, make it easy for them to navigate.

4. Make Sure There is a Browser Version

Another mistake businesses make is not "hosting" the email somewhere remotely. When a client sends me an email promotion to send, I make sure to create one myself. Email marketing services usually provide a remote version that the reader can view in their browser. It's important to know that you need to have a browser version when you are sending out an email.

5. Set Up a Professional Email Reply-To Address

I can't count the number of times I have received reply emails that have nothing to do with the company they represent. If you work for XYZ Limousine, for example, and your email address is "limo@yahoo.com," what does that indicate to the recipient? Number one: you are a small company. Number two: you are in the dark ages when it comes to being cutting edge. As low as $10 per year, setting up a professional email address with your web hosting is beneficial in email marketing campaigns. Even if you know nothing about technology, you should know enough to get a professional email address.

6. Learning From Your Analytics

Doing an email marketing campaign and not checking your analytics is the equivalent to mailing out postcards to thousands of addresses in different states and not tracking their success. Analytics, for those of you who don't know the definition, is provided by your email marketing service (such as Constant Contact, MailChimp and Critical Impact) where you can view the data of the recipients and the patterns of behavior of both an individual recipient and the group as a whole that you emailed. By tracking the meaningful patterns of behavior, you can better target who is receiving the email, who is opening the email and how they are interacting with the content you are sending them. For example, if the majority of your recipients are clicking through to the landing page that you have set up but leaving the page without going further, you may want to tweak the landing page. Clearly, you have driven them to the page but you didn't close the deal. Or maybe no one is clicking at all. In that case, you may have to recreate your email blast or reconsider your "call-to-action." Test with different subject lines. Believe it or not, some work much better than others.

7. No Social Media links

So your company has taken the time to set up a Facebook and Twitter account and yet you don't use your email marketing campaign to promote either one? Not a great idea. Use your email marketing campaign as an invitation to get your audience to engage in future social conversations. By providing a way to "share" your special, you are widening your audience if the reader feels others that they are friends with might be interested in seeing.

8. Ethics of Opting In/Opting Out

Remember, it is a privilege that you have an abundance of email addresses to promote your company. You should treat it that way. Don't turn off your audience by sending out too many emails in too short of a time. Also, your subscribers should have had, at one point, "opted in" to your E-newsletter. In layman's terms, that means that the reader has voluntarily given your company their email address because they want to receive future emails from your business. Don't abuse that list. Give that list interesting emails that they will want to receive from you in a timely fashion.


By following the above list, you can maximize your efforts and get a really good return on your investment. Email marketing, when executed properly, is a fantastic tool to use to reach your audience. But it should not be done without some careful thought and preparation. Don't make the common mistakes others do, and you will be one step ahead of your competition!

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Written by John Crawford
Creative Director
john@limodigest.com

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Fleet Vehicle of the Future: the Tesla Model S

If you haven’t heard of Tesla Motors by now, it’s time to get up to speed. The fully electric vehicle revolution is finally here, and for those in the luxury ground transportation business, it means you no longer have to sacrifice luxury in order to go green.

After a decade of catering to a robust niche market of electric vehicle enthusiasts, Tesla has hit the main stage of the automotive industry with the award-winning Model S, an all-electric luxury sedan as acclaimed for its efficiency and safety as it is for its performance and style. Cumulative deliveries in North America reached 13,000 by the summer, and the vehicle surpassed the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf as the continent’s top-selling plug-in electric car in the first quarter of the year.



Aside from its highly-praised performance and remarkable specifications (see our full vehicle review with detailed specs), the Model S reduces the overall environmental impact of your fleet, incurs fewer fuel and maintenance costs, and comes with a tax credit to offset your investment. Additionally, the Model S boasts a five-star safety rating, state-of-the-art interior technology, and a stylish, spacious and comfortable ride that will dazzle your clients. With a laundry list of tangible benefits to be had by implementing the Model S as a livery vehicle, it is no surprise that an increasing number are being purchased by operators across the country.

Angel Worldwide Transportation, serving Northern California and the Bay Area, is a pioneer of Model S
deployment, making news earlier this year as being arguably the first limousine company in the nation to purchase the electric luxury sedan for its fleet.  Since implementing the Model S earlier this year, the company has hailed it as one of the best vehicles for executive transportation, citing its “high-tech, spacious and quiet interior” as creating an “inimitable experience” for passengers. They continue to blog avidly about their initial  experiences working with the Model S, which you can learn more about at www.angellimo.com.

California operators seem to be taking the lead with incorporating the Model S into their fleets. Quicksilver Towncar Service, also based in the Bay Area, and Strack Premier Transportation, based in the Los Angeles area, have also made news this year with their additions of the vehicles. This geographic concentration of early Tesla adopters within the U.S. ground transportation industry likely stems from the region’s leadership in updating infrastructure with charging stations to accommodate electric vehicles, which in turn promotes general public awareness of this new technological trend. By March of this year, the number of public charging points reached more than 16,000 in the U.S., and almost 4,000 of those were located in California, many of which are situated at the major airports.

As other cities are following suit in terms of infrastructure and public education, compounded by Tesla’s versatile charging technology that allows operators to affordably charge vehicles at their headquarters, the Model S trend is definitely gaining momentum nationwide. In July, New York City’s Farrell Limousine announced their status as the first east coast service to add the Model S, and back in January, New
Orleans’ Limousine Livery announced their plans to implement the vehicle this fall. Most recently, Music Express Worldwide Limousine, a company with 40 years in business and corporate locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and New York, has announced their purchase of six
Model S sedans—the largest fleet implementation of the vehicle to date.

CEO and President Cheryl Berkman of Music Express is very excited about the delivery of the new electric additions to her company’s fleet, and affirms the Model S as an innovative newcomer to the executive sedan market that can fill the big shoes of the discontinued Lincoln Town Car. “A vehicle that is both luxury and green is hard to come by,” she says, but the Model S is “green as green can be,” while appealing to the high-end taste of corporate clients at the same time. On that note, it seems Tesla’s timing could not have been better, because while luxury and eco-friendliness may have been mutually exclusive vehicle aspects in the past, the latter, according to Berkman, has become a growing demand among corporate clientele when selecting an executive sedan. The best-of-both-worlds Model S is able to fill that new market demand beautifully.

At the end of the day, you can’t go wrong with the best safety rating of any car ever tested as a selling point. Tesla’s Model S was awarded five stars in every single category across the board by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While the NHTSA caps published ratings at five, the combined rating exceeded five stars and set a new NHTSA vehicle safety score record. The recent news of the Model S collision that resulted in a fire should not cast doubt on this impeccable safety rating.

In a press release announcing the record-breaking safety score in August, it was reported that “the Model S lithium-ion battery did not catch fire at any time before, during or after the NHTSA testing,” and at that point in time, “no production Tesla lithium-ion battery [had] ever caught fire in the Model S… despite several high speed impacts.” Furthermore, a more recent release addressing the accident specifically reported that, according to the road crew on the scene, a large, curved metal object that fell off a semi trailer and impaled the vehicle from underneath appears to have been the culprit. In other words, it was basically a freak accident in which the owner was “able to exit the highway as instructed by the onboard alert system, bring the car to a stop and depart the vehicle without injury,” as the fire never entered the passenger compartment thanks to internal firewalls built into the battery pack structure. “For consumers concerned about fire risk,” said Elon Musk, chairman, product architect and CEO of Tesla Motors, “there should be absolutely zero doubt that it is safer to power a car with a battery than a large tank of highly flammable liquid.” The fact remains that the likelihood of a fire is five times higher in a conventional gasoline car than in an electric one.

If you, like arguably all livery operators, are looking for a solution to replace the Lincoln Town Car, the Model S is a clear contender for filling the void left by the retired industry workhorse. If not for the impeccable roster of features discussed above, which is sure to exceed the needs of both you and your clients, then for the insightful reason Motor Trend named the Model S its 2013 Car of the Year: “The mere fact the Tesla Model S exists at all is a testament to innovation and entrepreneurship, the very qualities that once made the American automobile industry the largest, richest, and most powerful in the world.” //LD

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Tesla Motors’ goal is to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable transport with a full range of increasingly affordable electric cars. California-based Tesla designs and manufactures EVs, as well as EV powertrain components for partners such as Toyota and Mercedes. Tesla has delivered over 15,000 electric vehicles to customers in 31 countries. Learn more at www.teslamotors.com.


Written by Adam Leitenberger
Associate Editor & Digital Media Manager
adam@limodigest.com





Q&A With Margarita Pleasant of American Limo & Transportation

Not long ago, Margarita Pleasant was working as a salesperson for Yellow Book when one of her clients, Steve Garcia of Lucky Boyz Limos in Albuquerque, NM, noticed her skills and thought she would be a good asset to his company. He recruited her, and she became a driver and salesperson for the transportation provider. In just five years, she has risen to the position of VP of affiliate relations for Lucky Boyz’ sister company, American Limo & Transportation. We had a chance to talk with her about that rise to success, and the challenges and triumphs she has experienced along the way.


LD: Tell us a little bit about American Limo & Transportation, and your position there.

Margarita: I’m the VP of affiliate relations for American Limo & Transportation, so I’m in charge of all the relationships with the affiliates and all the corporate business that comes into Albuquerque and Santa Fe, as well as special requests. American Limo & Transportation has been in business for 15 years, and we have 22 vehicles, including both retail and corporate vehicles. We have the Executive Ls—the last of the Town Cars that Lincoln made— and we’re looking into what we’re going to do next. We’re possibly going to make a switch to Mercedes vehicles, as we want to change our strategy a bit. Then we have SUVs—the GMC Denali XL series. We just purchased a Sprinter, and we have 31- passenger minicoaches, 15-passenger vans, party limos, and Hummer stretches. Our fleet is the most diverse in the Albuquerque and Santa Fe areas.

LD: As the VP of affiliate relations, how do you sustain and expand your affiliate business?

Margarita: Well, sustaining is really the key. It is very difficult to trust somebody else with your clients. So for me, taking care of somebody else’s clients is something I take very personally. We have affiliates like Empire CLS, Limo Link, Gem Limo and Flyte Tyme. These are people who trust us, so we have to really make sure we serve their clients. Acquiring new clients is a day-to-day thing. I do things such as making calls in person, sending emails and e-blasts, and going through the cards of people I made contact with at the different shows, like the Limo Digest Show and LCT in Vegas. Our company changes—we purchase new vehicles and so on—so we keep people up to date on what we’ve got. As we get more and more affiliate partners, our referrals go up as well, of course. And we’re so happy to hear that. Often times we don’t ask how somebody found us, but in the conversation they’ll say “Diamond Limo sent me from Florida,” for example, and it feels great to hear that they talk about us.

LD: What makes American Limo & Transportation an outstanding company, compared to your competition?

Margarita: Good, friendly service. Our clients are always able to reach someone live, rather than leaving a voicemail. We always look for ways to make our rides special experiences—such as offering refreshing towels for those arriving from the airport. Cold waters are standard, but sometimes we’ll add chocolate, or something that has our name on the packaging, so that people really remember us. Sometimes, with the affiliates, we’ll ask questions, such as, “What does Mr. Ronald like?” so we can add it in a vehicle at no charge. That’s how we’ve become known. The other thing is that we’re the only company in New Mexico that is able to offer gate meet-and-greet at the airport. So we are able to go all the way to the gate for our affiliates and clients, as well as providing bodyguarding and services like that for people who need protection.

LD: Tell us a bit about the challenges and the successes in your own rise to where you are in this industry today.

Margarita: I guess I could go back five years to when I started, and was passing out cards and driving. At that time, I never thought I would be responsible for corporate clients, or our corporate client list. I can tell you an instance when I was intimidated—and I will not deny it. It was when I went to my first Limo Digest Show in Atlantic City. It was overwhelming for me to see all these men! It’s a man’s world! I thought, “holy smokes, how am I going to overcome this? What am I going to say?” It’s intimidating to see all these suits around you, and very few women. But little by little, the less I thought about that and the more I realized that these are regular people, I was able to just focus on what my job is, and make my name known.

LD: Since you’ve started in this industry, what has surprised you most about the business?

Margarita: There have been many surprises, but one that comes to mind is that I didn’t know the corporate world was so alive—that it was possible for so many people to fly in and out of town. We’ve been so busy at times, I’ve thought, “where do these people come from?” That was a surprise for me, but now, of course, I only see it as a great opportunity, and that question has become, “how can we get them to call us and not somebody else?” Also, as I mentioned, it’s a man’s world. I’ve moved past that fear and intimidation, but I still feel sometimes that men don’t listen to women. But, in the last four years at the shows, I’ve noticed a lot more women involved in this industry—a lot of intelligent women making it, and that’s encouraging. So it does help to talk to women and see what they have to say about what they’ve gone through.

LD: Do you have anything in the works for the future, or any ideas you’d like to put into effect in the next few years?

Margarita: As I mentioned, we’re thinking about redirecting our strategy. Sometimes it’s not as important to have so many vehicles as it is to have very nice vehicles. I’m not sure exactly when the shift is going to happen, but we are already focusing on quality over quantity, with vehicles such as the Mercedes-Benz products I mentioned before. Our vehicles are very nice—they’re 2012 Executive Ls—but like I said, we dream of having MBs, and maybe BMWs, and offering those exclusively to certain people. We also want to keep focusing on having quality chauffeurs. That’s one of the challenges. We have really good guys, and there are also those who come and go. We focus our efforts on making sure our guys represent what we want them to represent, which is the best quality and the best service.

LD: What training and other practices have you implemented to ensure that those chauffeurs are the best they can be?

Margarita: We meet with them once a month, or sometimes more depending on what occurs. They’re like family— these guys are here every day, and they wait around the office for runs, so we want them to feel valuable to the company. We don’t want them to feel like they’re just “drivers.” We encourage them to take our training, which is Tom Mazza’s training, and to give us their input on what we can do to improve things. We’re open to ideas from them because they’re the ones who are sitting in those vehicles, facing our clients. So they’re very important to us, and we want to hear their voices.

LD: What would you tell other women who want to thrive in this industry?

Margarita: Don’t get discouraged. Sometimes we feel like we’re unheard, or unseen, but everybody can contribute something. And to woman owners, I’d say that you have to depend on many people to support your ideas. You can’t do it alone—and don’t try, because it’s a team effort. So always think about your team. Always remember that you don’t have all the answers, you don’t know it all, and you’re going to need to rely on other people. Don’t try to do it alone.

For more information about American Limo & Transportation visit www.americanlimosabq.com or call (505) 877-7576.

Global Limousine's Legacy of Experience

Philadelphia is a city with a rich history. Founded in 1682 by William Penn, this former capital of the U.S. was the country’s largest and most important city for decades, the meeting place of the Founding Fathers and, of course, the location where they signed the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. The City of Brotherly was Benjamin Franklin’s home, the birthplace of the American zoo, and the site of America’s first World’s Fair—1876’s Centennial Exposition.

Anthony Viscusi, president of Global Limousine, stands with
two of his vehicles at the top of the legendary steps to the
Philadelphia Museum of Art, famous from the film Rocky.
Viscusi once drove Sylvester Stallone exclusively
for three weeks straight.

 Philadelphia native Anthony Viscusi, president of the city’s Global Limousine, is a man with a rich history as well. Anchored in the luxury ground transportation industry for over 40 years, Viscusi is a member of a very small circle of individuals who have decades of experience in this business.

That experience started for Viscusi in the early 1970s, when he was the accountant for “The Mike Douglas Show,” a nationally syndicated talk show produced in Philadelphia. In 1972, shortly after coming on board with the show, he established Esquire Limousine Service to serve the celebrities and guests on the program. He drove these stars for years, gaining an abundance of valuable knowledge in handling VIPs, and learning what they expect in service. 

The show wrapped up its operations in Philadelphia and moved to L.A. a few years later, as entertainment enterprises tend to do. Viscusi went with them, and in 1978—now with seven limousines but without the business needed to keep them running—entered into a contract with New York’s famed Fugazy Continental (now Fugazy International) to open Fugazy of California. But this seemingly prosperous venture fizzled out within a few years, and Viscusi started searching for something new to sink his teeth into.

He found it in 1980, through a newspaper clipping carrying the announcement that industry veteran David Klein of the legendary Dav El organization was looking to open a branch of his transportation operation in Philadelphia. Already longing to return to his hometown, Viscusi met with Bill Fugazy in New York and informed Fugazy that he was leaving the California operation. Two hours later, Viscusi was in Klein’s office entering into an agreement to own and operate the new franchise of Dav El in Philadelphia.

Viscusi operated his company under the Dav El name for the next 24 years, and achieved some important milestones along the way. His franchise landed a contract as the exclusive limousine service for the Four Seasons Hotel of Philadelphia; he opened a branch office of Dav El in Atlantic City, NJ, and provided in-house limousine service for Resorts International Hotel and Casino; and he purchased Frederick’s Limousine Service and expanded his operations into the Bally’s and Golden Nugget casinos.

Viscusi also founded the Delaware Valley Limousine Operators Association (DVLOA) in 1984—which became the PRLA in 1998—and served as president of the DVLOA for nine years and president of the PRLA for four. He remains active with the PRLA today as a board member, and was elected for another term in September (see story, page 59).

In 2004, after 24 years running his operation under the Dav El name, Viscusi decided it was finally time to establish his own identity. He ended his business relations with Dav El and founded Global Limousine, moving into a location he had bought a few years earlier in preparation for this decision—the 40,000-square-foot historic brick building (originally the home of Coca-Cola Bottling of Philadelphia) where Global and its 48-vehicle fleet are headquartered today.

All of Viscusi’s decades of experience, and the wealth of wisdom he gained from them, are infused into everything Global Limousine does today—and it shows. Working with all those celebrities on “The Mike Douglas Show” in his early years, Viscusi got a great education on how a VIP wants to be handled, and he instills that in every Global driver for their treatment of every client today. “Not much of that changes,” he says. “A lot of other stuff does, but how you treat the customer and how they want to be treated stays the same.”

Viscusi and the Global team accomplish this with intensive driver training and constant interaction with the drivers, as well as monthly meetings. “We just try to focus on service, service, service,” says Viscusi. This mindset is apparent in the appearance of the drivers as well, who wear custom Global Limousine ties—silver with a black logo. “As our passengers are coming down that escalator at the airport, they’re looking for the silver tie,” Viscusi comments. And, as part of Global’s enhanced service, the company has bilingual chauffeurs, among whom all European languages are represented, along with Japanese, Vietnamese, Mandarin and Cantonese.

But Global takes driver education far beyond basic service training. The company is one of the few providers anywhere with an in-house defensive driving program. The program is run by Josh Hansford, Global’s operations manager, who teaches these National Safety Council courses every six weeks. Aside from a six-hour class and subsequent test, the courses include road testing and evaluated drives to airports, hotels and other pick-up points frequented by Global’s clients. When they pass the course, the drivers receive a certificate, not to mention enhanced skills and morale. “I love working with the chauffeurs and training them, especially the ones who maybe haven’t done this before,” says Hansford. “Teaching them how to be chauffeurs and seeing their confidence level build is just great.” 

“It’s wonderful to start them there, because then when we have the chauffeur meetings we’re basically repeating safety and service issues they’ve been trained on,” says Viscusi. “They can relate back to what they were taught in the classroom.”

Investments into areas like their driver training program have paid off for Global. The company is revered for its service and safety records, and most of its 48 vehicles are out on jobs at all times. Global has grown more over the past ten years than all of Viscusi’s companies, combined, had grown over his 30 previous years in the industry. This is even more astounding when one considers that the majority of Global’s business is obtained through word-of-mouth. “We do very little advertising for a service business,” Viscusi says. And, of course, when a company can succeed the way Global has, while relying primarily on referrals, it is testament to the quality of that company’s service. 

Another way Global assures its success is through long-standing contracts. Viscusi says Global is currently “going heavy in the minibus business,” using the vehicles for contracts with apartment buildings, airlines, and parking lots for shuttle services. “That’s certainly a nice piece of the business,” he says, “because once we’ve made the deal, all we have to do is make sure the guy is in the vehicle every day, and it just runs and runs.” He adds that written contracts are rare in this industry, and he’s quite happy to have several of them—some of which have been running for decades. “For me, client retention is what really counts. We still have corporate clients that I’ve had since 1980, and that means we’re doing something right.”

Viscusi also likes the added bonus of these shuttling contracts, which is that they put Global’s attractive black vehicles, emblazoned with the company’s logo and information, in front of the public every day. They become rolling billboards, he says, and lead to people calling Global to do business. So these contracts, in turn, continually perpetuate more business.

But Global is careful to avoid relying on single, large contracts for revenue. Viscusi has learned to be wary of these large contracts—single sources that account for 25 percent or more of his company’s total revenue, the loss of which any company may not be able to withstand. “I’ve been down that road, where you’ve got one major client and they either close shop or move,” he says. Two of the companies he’s purchased and merged into Global were in similar situations and saw no way out but to sell. “When I look at a dispatch screen for the day and I see 100 jobs and 50 different clients, I’m happy,” he adds.

Most people take technology such as that dispatch screen for granted these days, but for someone like Viscusi who’s been in this game since the early ’70s, the advantages of technology are something he appreciates on a daily basis. Technology has made transportation businesses a lot easier to run successfully than they were 30 or 40 years ago when, Viscusi says, “We used to give a chauffeur a set of keys, made sure he had a couple of quarters to hit the payphone, said a Hail Mary, and that was it.” Today, Viscusi can keep an eye on Global’s operations from anywhere, by watching feeds from the company’s security cameras, logging into the reservations system, and tracking the cars’ GPS systems in the rare instances when he needs to.

Global uses Voyager reservations software (which Viscusi says is “just amazing”), Nextel communications with their drivers, and a host of other technology products, and is also in the process of creating a reservations app. The company is active on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, and receives a fair amount of new business through those channels. “Within the last ten years, social media is something that’s certainly become a larger part of this business,” says Hansford. Viscusi, with his broader view of our industry over the past four decades, sees the benefits of technology on a much larger scale. “Everywhere there was a weakness has now been compensated by technology, on the communications and reservations side, and certainly on the accounting end of it,” he says.

Technology will obviously continue to play an increasing role in Global’s (and every business’s) operations into the future. “It’s so easy to run the business now, with technology, that I could see myself running it for at least another ten years,” says Viscusi. And although he is not currently acting on expanding the company, he does have some visions and loose plans. He’s interested in expanding the company’s strong corporate base, as well as possibly moving into other cities. Growth through acquisitions is also something he considers—something that was beneficial to the expansion of Global early on, but that the company hasn’t done in around eight years. And the purchase of Global’s 40,000-square-foot building 11 years ago was a move that strategically allowed for the accommodation of a much larger fleet—up to 80 vehicles. But although these are obvious considerations for a company enjoying success and stability the way Global is, Viscusi says one of the reasons his business is a standout is that he never wanted it to be a huge company. “I just want it to be a quality operation,” he says. “I’ve always really focused on the quality.” The company will only grow, he says, if he can assure that the quality of its service remains at least as high as it is today.

That, and the longevity of Viscusi’s experience in operating the business, is what makes Global Limousine exceptional. Again, he points to his roots in the Dav El organization, and the opportunity he had to serve the celebrities of the ’70s, as the backbone of his legacy and his abilities. “That’s where I learned the skills that we still use today for servicing the public,” he says. “That was the foundation, because I was behind the wheel and dealing directly with these clients—from Sinatra and Sammy to Stallone and Schwarzenegger—on a day-to-day basis.” What he learned then, he has sharpened and refined over 40 years in this industry. And that acumen is clearly evident in everything—every reservation call, every business move and every trip—Global Limousine does today. “We have a history of service in a city of history,” he says. With this tradition of excellence, Global Limousine is a standout in the world of luxury ground transportation, and continues to glimmer as a shining example of what a limousine company can be. //LD

For more information about Global Limousine visit www.gogloballimo.com.



Written by Evan McCauley
Senior Editor
evan@limodigest.com

Uber Can Save the Limo Industry...Really.



Rogue apps are a serious threat to our industry, but they have also exposed luxury transportation to consumers who otherwise may have never considered it. The apps have done this at high prices, proving that customers are willing to pay a premium for convenience. If done intelligently, we can convert this threat into a series of advantages.

By harnessing advanced technology, and by using innovative social media marketing, rogue apps have become a threat that our industry cannot stop talking about. Users can book trips on their smartphones anywhere, anytime—and automated dispatching allows low cost operation. Rogue apps have used social media to portray our industry as the bad guy, while painting themselves as heroically battling an overly bureaucratic industry that hides behind politicians. But despite their apparent threat, rogue apps may actually save the livery industry—we can turn their success in social media, pricing strategy and technological innovation against them.

Social Media: Strength in Numbers 

Rogue apps, particularly Uber, move from city to city, quietly building their businesses. This divide-and-conquer tactic has allowed them to fly under the radar while expanding. When the livery industry finally noticed, it pushed back the only way it knew how: by flexing its political muscle. Anticipating this move, Uber triggered a massive backlash through social media. How did the livery industry respond? With silence. We continue to wait for failing political action, but we do not have to—we can use social media, too.

Social media requires a large audience to be effective. It may be an insurmountable task to run your own social media campaign; these efforts will be more successful if companies pool their resources. Think of the famous “Got Milk?” campaign created by the Dairy Farmers of America. Limousine associations are perfect places for these types of campaigns to start at both the regional and national levels.

However, be aware that social media can seriously backfire. A social media campaign should highlight your benefits, not your competitor’s faults. While it is acceptable to use a competitor’s failure as a comparison point, it should not be the focus. Social media gone awry can drive consumers away, cast your company in a negative light and even evangelize consumers in defense of your competitor. Be prepared for unexpected responses and act quickly to stop or redirect failing social media attempts before they spin out of control.

And let’s never forget that we are not the bad guys. As a collective industry we are very large, but Uber, after recent investment rounds, has been valued at over $3.5 billion, far outweighing any single company in our industry. Uber is known to engage in some shady practices, such as gouging prices by raising rates at their own discretion during busy times, automatically billing the consumer and leaving no recourse. I do not, however, recommend attempting a smear campaign.

A better approach is to highlight our positive attributes, such as advanced bookings, which Uber does not allow. We can even extend the advanced booking capability to book anywhere in the world through affiliate networks. Advanced booking provides the peace of mind that the car will be there at the desired time. A savvy marketer can focus on these and the other differentiations discussed below to demonstrate why your company is the superior option.

Rethink Your Existing Pricing

Many consumers view rogue apps as low-priced alternatives to black cars. Uber’s marketing team intelligently twisted the pricing models of two different markets by using taxi-style rates in the black car industry. The result? Existing black car consumers perceived the taxi-style distance/time rates as bargains, while existing taxi consumers perceived the rates as only a small premium to upgrade to a better alternative. In reality, Uber’s rates tend to be competitive or more expensive. For example, Perfect Limo Service’s all inclusive rate from my house to JFK Airport is $165; Uber’s rate is “$179-$238.” Although Uber’s rate seems like a bargain at only $3.90/mile (Uber’s rate/mile for the NYC region as of Sept. 2013), its calculation tells a different story.

However, I strongly oppose using price competition as a selling tool. It is the cause of many problems we face as operators. Many operators see no alternative, but Uber teaches us that, for certain consumers, price is not as important as convenience. It is far easier to use a rogue app than it is to calculate a rate and call multiple companies for price quotes—a convenience premium consumers are happily paying for. In the case of my house to JFK airport, that premium is 45 percent.

While corporations have become more savvy at negotiating low rates, individuals lack corporate buying power and are becoming lazier in their purchasing, a trend that will continue as the economy improves. With improved customer apps we can catch and exceed rogue apps’ convenience. In addition to mobile booking, new dispatching technology will allow us to compete with their ASAP response times. Combine these changes with our unique ability to provide future and affiliate booking, and you have a recipe for a lot of new revenue.

Uber also demonstrates that customers are not only willing to pay a premium for convenience, but for rapid service as well. It may be time to consider adding a surcharge for ASAPs, explaining to customers that the growing volume of ASAPs is driving up costs. Rather than increasing prices for everybody, the surcharge only increases rates when absolutely necessary.

The other option—completely changing your rates— is a huge hassle. You need to generate new rate tables (unless your reservation system can auto-calculate rates), create new rate policies and train employees to communicate the new rates. It may be easier to modify how you frame your rates. Go back to the rate I mentioned earlier, from my house to JFK airport. If I framed my price in Uber’s terms, it would look something like this: $7 (base charge) + $2.31/mile + surcharges + gratuity. Some companies may feel uncomfortable quoting prices this way. It seems shady—probably because it is.

The problem lies in what behavioral economists refer to as the “reference value.” Regardless of how the price is framed or if certain charges are left out, the first price that the consumer sees becomes the reference value. Repeated exposure to other rates can cause slight deviation in the reference value, but it has surprising staying power. The first price the consumer sees is the price the consumer will use to decide if a rate is high, low or neutral, regardless of whether the rates came from entirely different metrics (per mile vs. flat, for example).

Price can be the difference between huge profits and going out of business. Price changes need a detailed strategy for implementation and communication. Employees need to be trained to communicate prices and be prepared to field questions from consumers about the new rates and policies.

Technology: Join the Frontier 

Browsers and mobile devices have evolved to the point where they can run programs just as powerful and complex as computer programs. New web services that can be used to enhance your company are created all the time. Besides flight verification and tracking, mapping services can be used to ensure accurate addresses as well as search for points of interest. Affiliate networks, such as RateButler, have web services that can be integrated to provide more rapid access to affiliate rates. Finally, reservation systems can create tools that allow consumers to automatically integrate trips into their calendars and travel itineraries, keeping everything in one place. On the dispatching end, most GPS providers offer web services that fully integrate their data into reservations systems, allowing for self-monitoring trips. This data can also be used to ensure fast, accurate billing.

Countless tools are also available to track and improve marketing, which reservation systems can integrate. Social media tracking and web search tracking, such as Google Analytics, provide tools you can use to monitor marketing campaigns and identify how to better spend limited marketing dollars. Integrating these tools to track booking sources will allow accurate identification of which marketing channels are most effective.

It may also be time to update your reservations system— but keep in mind that switching reservation systems is expensive and time-consuming, and all too often that money and time are wasted when data is just copied from the old system to the new. A system change is an opportunity to clean out junk data and remove/merge duplicate items. Either you or your software provider needs to do this to ensure a smooth transition. To maintain service levels, you need to ensure that the software company properly trains you and your staff and provides easy access to customer support. If you use a third party answering service, you need to ensure they can access the new system and that they are properly trained on it as well.

By using social media, pricing and technology more effectively, and combining them with the advantages our industry already has over rogue apps, we can learn from their achievements and turn their strategies into our own successes.

Our diverse fleets allow us to provide more booking options than rogue apps. Uber has limited itself to handling only ASAPs. We have no such limitations and can harness affiliate networks to book transportation globally. Using a base of operations, we have ways to regularly check the quality of vehicles and chauffeurs, allowing us to deliver a higher quality product. The rogue app’s only true advantage is its technology, which is easily replicated.

There are already web services that do what rogue apps do. GPS data can be sourced from in-car units or smartphones, flight verification and tracking are already ubiquitous, and there are many quality mapping options. Browsers have evolved to be just as effective as installed systems, while internet speed and uptime are now at a high enough level to confidently run an entirely web-based system. Expect to see reservation systems that solve most or all of these problems debuting this fall.

Once the technology is in place, we can turn the rogue app business model against itself. We can provide more options and convenience, and we can be comfortable modifying our prices to profit from that added convenience. A kick in the butt from rogue apps may have been just what our industry needed. //LD

Contributed by Daniel Sutich


After graduating with a mechanical engineering degree from Northwestern University, Daniel Sutich returned to his family’s business, Perfect Limo. Dan left Perfect Limo to launch a software company, Perfect Chauffeur, which will be debuting its revolutionary new reservation system for the luxury ground transportation industry, NS-1, at this fall’s shows. He can be reached at dsutich@perfectchauffeur.com.


Don’t Cut Your Budget When it Comes to Safety

­In any business, it is necessary to continuously analyze the bottom line and implement cost cutting measures to ensure profitability. This is especially true in today’s difficult economic climate and within the competitive luxury ground transportation sector. When transportation companies seek to reduce costs, one area that often experiences cutbacks is personnel. Unfortunately, laying off personnel usually hits two of the most critical positions in the heart of a transportation company’s operations: fleet maintenance employees and dispatchers. Hiring less expensive, poorly screened drivers is another choice made by some companies in an attempt to cut costs. However, all of these practices end up costing these companies far more than they save up front.



CEOs and owners are often of the unfortunate opinion that the repair shop is a money pit that reduces the overall profitability of the company. Thus, when looking at the “bottom line,” management usually looks first to the mechanic shop when considering doing layoffs to control expenses. The average wage for a Class A certified mechanic ranges from $22.00 to $28.00 per hour. This Class A mechanic is responsible for maintaining the fleet of vehicles, with numerous tasks that include, but are not limited to, PM services, brake adjustments, brake jobs, vehicle inspections and tire replacement. Perhaps more importantly, certified mechanics are responsible for keeping up with and being aware of ever-changing laws, rules and regulations of the FMCSA and the USDOT. Federal and State agencies set forth the regulations for vehicle safety, but it is the responsibility of the mechanic to keep the vehicles operating safely and within these laws, rules and regulations.

Because the wage for uncertified mechanics can range from $12.00 to $15.00 per hour, many companies are replacing certified Class A mechanics with uncertified individuals, in an attempt to significantly cut payroll expenditures. Some companies opt to outsource their vehicle maintenance, but do not inquire if the contracted shop has trained, certified mechanics on staff who are familiar with the types of motor vehicles to be maintained. These companies compare price—not knowledge and certifications—which can result in improperly maintained vehicles. The failure of any major part of a vehicle can result in a catastrophic incident causing significant injury, and even death, to individuals on the roadway. In my experience, many of today’s serious motor vehicle accidents and crashes involve poor vehicle maintenance as a result of not having sufficiently trained mechanics. Equally unfortunate is that laying off mechanics often starts a snowball effect that quickly gets out of control and causes such serious problems that it sometimes leads to the complete collapse of entire companies.

Dispatchers are an equally important element of a transportation company’s safety department. The dispatcher controls drivers’ routes, hours of service and their cargo—whether it is household goods, HAZ-MAT or passengers. Having sufficiently trained dispatchers working and maintaining records for a transportation company can equate to an efficient, safe and profitable company with drivers and vehicles being operated in accordance with mandated laws, rules and regulations. Such operations are safer for the employees of the company, as well as the driving public in general.

Another cost cutting measure that ultimately can cost companies more in the end is hiring the “wrong” driver. This can include hiring a driver who will accept less money to be employed, likely because of a bad driving record, and also hiring someone without any background check (or with a background check that is incomplete) undertaken to ensure the driver has the proper qualifications. The irony is that the cost of the background check is so inconsequentially cheap compared to the ultimate costs of repairs, higher insurance, and lawsuits caused by these improperly qualified drivers.

Ultimately, all of the “cost saving measures” listed above can result in vehicles in need of repair, vehicles out of adjustment, and so on, and these vehicles, when inspected, could possibly be taken out of service by law enforcement officials or, even worse, involved in serious motor vehicle accidents. And, due to the shortsighted nature of management, these so-called “cost saving measures” eventually cost the company more than the proper maintenance and dispatch of such vehicles.

An example of how lack of maintenance and dispatching controls can result in a devastating accident is the much publicized catastrophic limousine fire on the San Mateo bridge near San Francisco, in which five passengers were killed. A three-month investigation revealed possible lapses in maintenance and improper operations of the vehicle, which may have caused the fire, including a rear suspension system failure and too many passengers for the vehicle. It was determined that the failure of the rear suspension system allowed the driveshaft to come into contact with the floor panel, but the specific reason for the failure could not be determined because the vehicle was too badly damaged. The failure ultimately led to a fire that completely engulfed the limousine so much that the five passengers were killed because they could not escape the burning vehicle.

Whether or not the tragic accident could have been prevented by proper maintenance and proper dispatch controls with respect to the number of passengers will never be known. What is clear is that proper preventative maintenance and ensuring the number of people in the vehicle did not exceed the vehicle’s passenger rating/load may have been beneficial, and in a tragedy as great as this, that may have made all the difference.

Today, many CEOs and owners think the laws of the FMCSA and the DOT are just regulations that needlessly cost companies money and sometimes put them out of business. But the reality is that such rules and regulations track all roadside inspections, accidents, and summons/violation data. This information is reviewed and analyzed, and results in regulations to protect owners, passengers and the motoring public. Every day, new failures, conditions and assessments of operations result in better regulations, based on data and information obtained by federal and state agencies. Examples of regulations which have made the transportation industry safer include recertification of driver medical cards, hours of service logs, the reduction in speeding over 15 mph of the posted speed limit, and aggressive driving and tailgating infractions—many of which result in a suspension of a CDL endorsement after a second infraction.

Owners sometimes put FMCSA regulations on the back burner. They do not update safety policies, maintain driver or maintenance files, track trending driver behavior or conduct root cause accident investigations. Only when the DOT comes knocking do these owners scramble to update and correct their files. The problem, however, is that a company may have two years of information to correct, two years of files to review, and so on. This type of reverse engineering is not only expensive, but time consuming and a waste of valuable resources. Additionally, files not maintained consistently and properly could result in fines, penalties, and in worst case scenarios, complete shutdowns pending corrective measures. However, if a company’s files and information are maintained on a consistent basis, the company has nothing to fear and will sail through a safety audit conducted by anyone. Once these policies are created and in place, they are easy and simple to maintain. A small amount of advanced planning and expenditure in creating a well-functioning system can yield significant savings in the future, not only in audits by the DOT, but in day-to-day operations as well.

As a retired law enforcement officer and a DOT Compliance consultant, I am often retained by transportation companies that have had unsatisfactory safety scores and are facing significant penalties and fines. After initially meeting with many owners it is clear that they do not understand why they find themselves in their predicament. Once I review their safety scores with them and explain that the low scores are in safety and maintenance, I ask them what, if anything, has changed in the past year. The answers, many times, include: “Our shop is shorthanded because of layoffs. Our drivers have been getting more tickets than usual—red light violations, speeding tickets, and out-of-hours and out-of-service violations.” These are typical, preventable actions. All of them. I explain to them that the money they saved will be a fraction of what it is going to take to get them back into compliance—not to mention paying higher insurance costs (insurance companies have access to your company’s information), higher maintenance costs to get vehicles back up to standards, costs for training not previously conducted, and so on.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” meaning it is much easier to do something to prevent a problem than to deal with it after it has happened. Our industry can learn a lot from this man who could not have envisioned the complex transportation system that so many people take for granted today, but whose words were a prophecy for it nonetheless.

Remember: The money you save by cutting back on payroll and safety on Friday may cost you dearly on Monday after that preventable accident occurred on Saturday. //LD

Written by Greg W. Crescenzo

How To Pass A School Administrator's Test

As winter approaches, harsh weather conditions make it even more critical for school districts, colleges and universities to feel confident that they are transporting students to and from school-related activities as safely as possible.

There are typically multiple bus operators in any given region, so college, university and district administrators and their trip organizers put each through close scrutiny when selecting one. By knowing what these school officials will be looking for in your company, you will be able to make the necessary preparations to be at the top of their lists, and land those big transportation contracts.



The focus on safety in the motorcoach industry has increased significantly in the wake of severe accidents during recent years. In 2007, a motorcoach accident involving the Bluffton University (Ohio) baseball team killed seven and injured 21 near Atlanta, GA. In 2009, a bus carrying a Utah high school band veered off a highway, killing the band director and injuring several students. In 2011, 26 band students were injured when their charter bus collided with an 18-wheeler in Texas.

Such accidents, and the recent government shutdown of several motorcoach companies for safety violations, highlight the importance of school administrators and trip organizers taking an active role in selecting motorcoach carriers for their school trips. Administrators and organizers must be able to prove due diligence in selecting safe motor carriers. If not, they risk significant liability exposure for neglecting this critical responsibility. This increased liability on the part of schools, in addition to transportation companies, means passenger trip organizers will be doing their research when attempting to identify and select the safest bus companies in the industry to transport their students.

Administrators and trip organizers now compare carriers on many different factors—not just on price. They are within their rights to inquire into carriers’ safety policies, procedures and records—and they will. Your company should have clear, written policies and easy-to-implement procedures for the operation and maintenance of your fleet, which are tracked and recorded by your company. Trip organizers may request vehicle maintenance and inspection records, and the qualifications of maintenance personnel.

Since most accidents happen due to driver error, it’s just as important for them to inquire about driver safety records, your company’s alcohol and drug testing system, policies on drivers’ hours of service, driver qualification files, accident registers and other such information. Individual driver performance should be a part of your overall safety records, as organizers will want to review them prior to taking a road trip.
To further minimize school liability, it is also critical for administrators and trip organizers to be certain that their selected bus carrier and transport vehicle are properly insured, and they will therefore request that your company produce a proof of insurance. It is legally required that a carrier transporting more than 15 passengers has $5 million in insurance. It is also required that any carrier crossing state lines be marked with the legal trade name of the carrier and have its USDOT number displayed on both sides of the vehicle.
Third-party validation is also helpful for these administrators and organizers in determining a carrier’s safety record, and it can reduce the need for them to gather the safety information on their own from motorcoach companies. Many subscribe to the independent safety rating organization Transportation Safety Exchange’s (TSX) list of operator companies that have been approved as safer motor carriers, based on its rigorous TSX-Comprehensive Review (TSX-CR) process, which is the most stringent and thorough review process in the industry.

To date, nearly 120 bus companies have begun or completed the process of achieving TSX approval status. One TSX subscriber, GOGROUND Options, along with its clients, is transitioning into using TSX-approved carriers exclusively. GOGROUND Options has long-term arrangements to provide safe transportation for clients, including the NCAA, the Red Cross, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Texas System, and Game Day Management (the company that organizes the Super Bowl, NCAA March Madness, and other world-renowned events), among others. Imagine if your company could land a contract with a trip organizer like this.

Safety concerns do not stop after motorcoach selection, however. Careful planning of the trip’s activities will help ensure that a trip is as smooth and safe as possible. Once you are selected by a school or trip organizer, it is the responsibility of the organizer and chaperones to assist the driver in maintaining continued safety throughout the journey by minimizing driver distractions. Students should be required to stay in their seats while the motorcoach is in motion. If the motorcoach is equipped with seat belts, passengers should wear them. Students should not be allowed to throw objects or horse around, pushing and shoving one another. Keeping the noise level down—no yelling or loud music—is also important.

District officials, administrators and trip organizers must recognize that drivers cannot operate a motorcoach for more consecutive hours than are legally allowed, and the current limit is 10 hours with proper rest between shifts. They should also consider questionable weather conditions before and during trips, exercising good judgment to protect the safety of the driver and students when determining whether to postpone or cancel a trip.

Following these guidelines, your company can assure that it is doing everything it can to provide safe service for student trips. When universities, colleges, school districts and trip organizers see this, and can verify it in all the ways mentioned, they will put your company at the top of their lists, and you can start landing those big student transportation contracts—knowing that your company is giving those students the safest rides possible when you do. //LD

Contributed by Dr. Jolanda Janczewski


Dr. Jolanda Janczewski is president
and CEO of Transportation Safety
Exchange (TSX), a safety rating organization
that performs detailed investigations of motor
carriers to ensure they are meeting the highest
possible safety standard available.
She can be reached at (855) 890-8879.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

NLA Announces New Strategic Credit Card Processing Partnerships

The National Limousine Association membership committee, co-chaired by Ron Stein of Exclusive Sedan Service and Laura Canady of CLT Express, is once again proud of the work they did to offer a strategic partnership with two credit card processing companies. The NLA’s thorough review process of selecting a company/companies with whom to form relationships for credit card processing has come to fruition.

Century Business Solutions and Chosen Payments have been selected for the value they can bring to NLA members’ businesses, and for their willingness to offer a portion of their revenue as a rebate to the NLA directly
.
In a recent letter to members, NLA Executive Director Philip Jagiela spoke more on the selection of Chosen Payments. “Over the years, Chosen Payments’ business has grown to capture a significant portion of the market share in the limo industry nationwide due to their superior rates and service,” he said. “We have been impressed with Chosen Payments and the level of quality and attention they commit to their services. Equally as important, Chosen Payments has agreed to a level of discount that should make their services even more appealing for all NLA members.”



Jagiela added that the success of these partnerships lies in NLA members using their vendors, as well as the vendors keeping members happy. “If they can save you money or increase the efficiency of your business, while rebating money back to the NLA, it is a win-win for all,” he said.

Century Business Solutions specializes in credit card processing integrations with both accounting and retail POS softwares. For more information, visit www.centurybizsolutions.com.

For more information on Chosen Payments, visit www.liverypayments.com. And for more information on the NLA, visit www.limo.org.

MTG Family of Companies Consolidates to Improve Operations

Modern Technologies Group, the world’s largest supplier of after-market limousine, Sprinter and bus parts, has relocated its Midwestern subsidiaries, MastrAir and Elite Seating, to its New Jersey headquarters. This logistical consolidation, spearheaded by MTG’s VP of Operations Vince Romeo, was made in an effort to improve operations within each respective company, and ultimately deliver better products and services to their customers.

“The future of MTG,” says Romeo, “is in the four key areas that are most important to our customers: quality, on-time delivery, service, and price. We are refocusing our efforts to improve those aspects of our operations.”

MastrAir, which specializes in manufacturing air conditioning systems for Sprinters, buses, vans and limousines, is working actively with vendors to tailor their product lines to deliver a higher quality system and greater customer service. With a more focused array of products, simplified based upon customer needs, the company reports renewed confidence in their cost control structure and sales.

As an additional part of the consolidation effort, Elite Seating has also improved its operations by focusing on the same four key aspects of customer service. “With our current product offering, we’ve done the same thing as we’ve done with MastrAir,” says Romeo. “We’ve improved our quality and reduced our costs, which has provided us with a strong core of satisfied customers and repeat business.”

The consolidation of operations to their headquarters has given MTG and its subsidiaries an unprecedented level of control over the quality and efficiency of their products and services. With MastrAir and Elite Seating now under the same roof as their parent company, the newly restructured MTG family is poised for a future of continuing industry leadership.

For more information about MTG, MastrAir and Elite Seating, visit www.mtgparts.com.

Limo Digest Congratulates Inc. 5000 Honorees

Inc. magazine’s 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies list is, according to Inc., the most comprehensive look at the most important segment of the economy: America’s independent-minded entrepreneurs. So it’s no surprise that several companies in the entrepreneurial world of luxury ground transportation are continually on this list.

“For 32 years, Inc. has welcomed the fastest-growing private companies in America into a very exclusive club. Make no mistake: The Inc. 5000 was harder to get into this year than ever in its history,” said Eric Schurenberg, editor-in-chief of Inc.

Limo Digest applauds the companies in our industry—no less than three this year—who were named on the 2013 Inc. 5000. Complete results of this year’s list, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at www.inc.com/inc5000.

Congratulations to our industry’s honorees!

http://www.gpsinsight.com/

A leading technology provider of GPS fleet tracking software for fleet-based companies, GPS Insight was ranked number 3,294 on the this year’s Inc. 5000, with a three year sales growth of 97 percent. This is the fourth consecutive year that the GPS tracking company has made the list. “GPS Insight is thrilled to have experienced the growth it has over the past eight years, which has earned us a place on the Inc. 500 and Inc. 5000 for four years in a row,” said Robert Donat, CEO of GPS Insight. GPS Insight utilizes high-quality GPS hardware and adds the customization and enhancements which fleet-based companies demand. GPS Insight provides highly flexible solutions, which include a wide range of customized reports, alerts, and other innovative features that can be tailored to meet specific customer requirements and ensure maximum return on investment. Using the GPS Insight solution, companies realize a significant increase in efficiency, and gain insight into all aspects of their fleet operations. For more information on GPS Insight, visit www.gpsinsight.com.


For the seventh year in a row, Teddy’s Transportation System, a global ground transportation company based in Norwalk, CT, has been named to the Inc. 5000. “We were very excited to make the inaugural Inc. 5000 list in 2007, and are honored to repeat our success in every succeeding year,” said Charles Wisniewski, president and CEO. “With business travel continuing its steady growth in our region, I’m delighted to report that we have continued to turn in a solid performance in 2013.” Teddy’s revenue grew 25% between 2009 and 2012, ranking the company number 4,579 on this year’s list. Teddy’s is the only chauffeured ground transportation company in Connecticut and the Tri-State region to make the 2013 list. Founded in 1932, Teddy’s Transportation System has redefined “professional transportation solutions” by forging a strategic network of premium global partnerships and utilizing innovative technology that provides corporate purchasers, event planners and travelers with access to immediate, real-time information. For more information, visit www.teddyslimo.com.




This is the second consecutive year that James River Transportation, a full-service transportation provider and event planning organization, has made the Inc. 5000—ranked this year at number 4,521 on the list. “Our success is due to dedicated employees who are committed to serving our clients,” said Stephen Story, president of James River Transportation. “Our Airport Service, Transit Service and corporate shuttles are major contributors to our growth.” James River Transportation has facilities in Richmond, Williamsburg and Norfolk, VA, as well as on-site operations at Richmond International Airport and Norfolk International Airport. Services include motorcoach and minicoach transportation, airport transfers, transportation management, contract services and convention shuttles. Additional information on James River can be found at www.JamesRiverTrans.com. The company is a certified member of the International Motorcoach Group (IMG). The IMG is an invitation-only group of the top operators in North America, dedicated to providing premier ground transportation through elevated standards of performance. For more information, visit www.imgcoach.com.


Update: A belated congratulations for the following company, which also made the 2013 Inc. 5000.



Headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, A1A Airport & Limousine Service is a nationwide ground transportation provider that services every U.S. airport. This year, the company was honored with position 3713 on the Inc. 5000. President Rick Versace said, "I am extremely proud of our team, and thankful to our loyal customers for making this honor possible." For more information, visit www.a1alimo.com/

Global Cares For the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia



When it was opened in 1855, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) was the inaugural medical center in the U.S. dedicated to providing care exclusively for children. Since then, many pivotal firsts in pediatric medicine were born at CHOP, and it has been the home of hundreds of medical discoveries and innovations that have advanced pediatric healthcare and saved the lives of countless children around the world.

Global Limousine has a tradition of involvement with raising funds for CHOP. Each year, Philadelphia radio station WOGL produces a fundraiser for the hospital, for which Global provides rides and contributes funds. This year, the company tried something a little different. “We pledged two dollars for every trip we did in the prior 30 days,” says Anthony Viscusi, president of Global Limousine. Through this pledge, the company was able to raise an additional $3,700 for the charity, as another part of their ongoing support for CHOP.

Through the support of individuals and companies like Global Limousine, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has been able to continuously provide the best care for children and find cures and treatments that save lives worldwide for nearly 160 years. For more information, visit www.chop.edu.

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