Breaking Up is Hard To Do

When to Tell Your Affiliate Partner to Hit the Road

Focus, People!

Three Ways to Manage Distracted Employees

Thinking Ahead

Four Steps to Reinvent, Rebrand and Revive Your Business

The Real Impact of Leadership

How to Leave a Lasting Impression

Q and A:

Martin Ross, Ross Limousine



Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Voyageur Transportation Named One of Canada’s Best Managed Companies

Voyageur Transportation

London, Ontario-based Voyageur Transportation was named a winner in the 2013 Canada’s Best Managed Companies program, according to a press release from the company. 

The team behind the company is extremely grateful for the award and recognition, as it comes on the heels of decline in London’s job sectors, according to the release. What keeps Voyageur thriving in these economic times, Voyageur President Theresa Matthews said, is that its power is its people, so it is a standard of the company culture to have each employee feel that their job an opportunity for personal growth and participation.

“Today’s market place is not just about the investment in the product; it is about the investment in the people,” John Hughes, National Leader of Canada’s Best Managed Companies and Managing Partner of Deloitte Growth Enterprises, said in the press release. “Voyageur Transportation invests in their team to build up a strong and stable company. Canada’s Best Managed Companies carries this attribute and we are pleased to say Voyageur Transportation is one of this year’s recipients.”

Voyageur Transportation’s team is over 1100 members strong, and the management prides itself on continued investments in training programs, advancement opportunities and culture development. For more information visit www.voyageurtransportation.ca.

The Uber of China is Coming to America

Yongche

Beijing-based Uber-equivalent startup, Yongche, is the nation's most popular mobile app and website for on-demand car service, and it has announced plans to launch in both New York and San Francisco.

The company certainly has its sights on some of Uber's market, but specializes in recruiting Chinese-speaking chauffeurs to service Chinese travelers and business professionals in major cities abroad – which is quite a sizable market.


In a Bloomberg interview, Yongche founder and CEO, Herman Zhou, cited the language barriers that make ground transportation difficult for Chinese travelers, which provided the rationale for his business model and focused target market.
Yongche has long-term plans to reach Los Angeles, Boston, London, Frankfurt, Singapore, Taipei, and Tokyo, all of which attract many Chinese travelers. The company currently has two million registered users, and 50,000 available cars in more than 50 Chinese cities, including Hong Kong.

For more information visit www.yongche.com.

Monday, July 14, 2014

MerchantAnywhere.com releases Limo payment mobile app

Merchantanywhere.com

Advanced Merchant Solutions' of Fullerton, California, released PV-Limo, an adaptation of its popular Pocket Verifier mobile credit card processing system, on its website MerchantAnywhere.com this month, according to a press release.

Like Pocket Verifier, PV-Limo enables limousine operators to accept credit card payments and also generates paper receipts so they can detail industry-specific charges like fares, tolls, parking fees and more. The functionality of the app is also very customizable, with programmable everyday charges, one time charges, suggested gratuity and other features.

“Hardcopy receipts are not only the best protection against chargebacks, but they are also proven to increase the tip amount,” Advanced Merchant Solutions CEO and co-founder Dennis Ideue said in the release. “When the cardholder is presented with a clipboard and a receipt to add tip and signature, they know the operator is going to see that. In one case study,” he added, “our field testers saw a definite increase in tip sizes, and during the 12-week testing phase, they got zero chargebacks or retrieval requests. The system definitely works and pays for itself [and] it also makes the user look far more professional, having printed receipts with all of their fees and charges detailed for the cardholder.”

The free PV-Limo app is currently available for Android and iOS smartphones and tablets from the Google Play and Apple App Stores.

For more information about Advanced Merchant Solutions and PV-Limo, visit www.MerchantAnywhere.com/Limo.

ABC Companies announces Troy Snyder as Ameritrans General Manager

ABC Companies

ABC Companies announced in mid-June the appointment of industry veteran Troy Snyder to oversee the Elkhart, Indiana-based Ameritrans mid-size transport facility, according to a press release.

Snyder comes from an extensive body of knowledge in manufacturing to his new position, having most recently served as both president and vice president of sales at Goshen Coach, where he specialized in product development and high-output production. He also earned B.S. and M.S. degrees from Ball State University and Indiana University, respectively.

“We are very fortunate to have Troy on-board at Ameritrans,” Roman Cornell, senior vice president of ABC Companies said in the press release. “We’re excited to leverage his production expertise to accelerate coach manufacturing cycle times. His hiring marks an important milestone in establishing Ameritrans’ leadership position as a high-end, high quality
brand committed to achieving manufacturing cycle times with predictability and accuracy.”

In his new position, Snyder will oversee day-to-day operations, as well as development and execution of business strategies.

“The key to our success is in the repeatability of processes and practices that drive and sustain quality throughout the entire organization,” Snyder said in the press release. “Ameritrans is poised to make a serious impact in the mid-size transport market, and I am pleased to be part of its growth and mission of establishing a market-leading presence.”

Ameritrans manufactures and distributes a diverse range of mid-size transport vehicles from its modern 100,000 square-foot facility in Elkhart, Indiana. For more information, visit www.ameritrans.com.


ABC Companies is a leading provider to the transportation industry with diverse product and service offerings that cover a full spectrum of operational needs. For more information visit www.abccompanies.com.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

"Be Ready. Be Buckled.” Safety Belt Contest Winners Honored by Federal Officials

Third-grader Heather Li from Orlando, Fla., whose
winning entry displayed a Van Hool TX45 motorcoach.


U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne S. Ferro honored the winners of the 2014 “Be Ready. Be Buckled.” Safety Belt Contest Winners at a ceremony held on May 5 at the U.S. DOT Headquarters in Washington, D.C., according to an administration press release.

The national art contest is sponsored by the U.S. DOT in an effort to emphasize the role of seat belts in saving lives. The artwork of the winners and runners-up will be included in the 2015 “Be Ready. Be Buckled.” Art Contest Calendar, which will be released in the fall.

Top honors were won by first-grader Annie Yu from Edison, N.J. and third-grader Heather Li from Orlando, Fla., whose winning entry displayed a Van Hool TX45 motorcoach, according to a press release from ABCCompanies, for whom her father, Yao Li, works in the Parts Division. In the release, he expressed his pride at his daughter's talents and precocious familiarity with different vehicle models.

“Seatbelts save lives and this contest is a positive way to engage our most precious resource, children, to promote driver safety throughout the United States,” Secretary Foxx said in the administration press release. “The calendars that feature these young artists also serve as a great year-round reminder to always buckle-up.”

At the ceremony, Administrator Ferro reported that safety belt usage among bus and medium-to-heavy duty truck drivers increased by six percent from 2010 to a 2013. “It’s a fact that when drivers and passengers buckle-up, their odds increase dramatically for surviving a crash,” she said in the release. “The results of our 2013 survey show that in just the last three years more commercial drivers are getting the message, and we will continue working through programs like the art contest to encourage the remaining 16 percent to buckle-up.”

For more information on the “Be Ready. Be Buckled.” Contest, visit www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safetybelt.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

ProSight Launches Integrated Risk Reduction Solution


ProSight Specialty Insurance, a leading provider of insurance solutions for the transportation industry, launched an exclusive risk management solution for niche transportation customers called SecureFleet in June, according to a press release.

ProSight's announcement hails SecureFleet as "the insurance industry's only fully integrated video event recorder and risk reduction service," and plans to offer it as a complimentary add-on to ProSight coverage. The service utilizes a patented vehicle data and video recording system paired with a driver coaching program designed to help operators reduce risks and costs, and improve overall fleet management.

What differentiates SecureFleet is its unique partnership with ProSight and its customers, enabling a one-of-a-kind, innovative and comprehensive risk reduction strategy in line with the company's “beyond traditional insurance” mission, according to the release. Furthermore, the service advertises $950 in savings per vehicle in the first year, and the driver coaching component provides individualized coaching to help eliminate unsafe driving, reduce risk, accident claims and maintenance costs, and even increase fuel efficiency.

“We developed SecureFleet to help our customers make their fleets safer, more efficient and profitable. No one else in the industry has combined insurance with telematics, event recording technology and driver coaching as we have with SecureFleet,” said President of ProSight Specialty Insurance Solutions Darryl Siry. “ProSight selected SmartDrive Systems to co-develop the insurance industry’s most comprehensive and customer-focused risk management solution for transportation fleets helping owners and fleets ultimately improve the bottom line.”

“We are proud to partner with ProSight, embracing the convergence of insurance and safety technology to offer the industry’s first fully integrated insurance and video based safety program for commercial fleets,” said CEO of SmartDrive Steve Mitgang. “SecureFleet is an innovative new approach, leveraging our proven program to measurably reduce risk while driving significant improvements in fleet operational performance. We are excited to have been selected and look forward to the value this solution will bring ProSight customers.”

SecureFleet is accessible to the taxi, charter bus, school bus and trucking transportation industries via ProSight’s exclusive distribution partners. Charter bus customers can learn more about SecureFleet by visiting, www.prosightspecialty.com/charterbus-securefleet.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

7 Ways to Survive in the Modern World of Marketing

Lazy Marketing

Think about the last time you saw something advertised in such a way that it made you feel like you had to have it and if you didn't have it, you were missing out. Marketing has an innate quality of defining how we feel about a particular product before we have even tried it for ourselves.

The one outlier to the above theory is Apple. Sure, Apple has revolutionary products that offer impressive new features and technology that appeals to just about everyone. When I use an iPad, it makes me feel a certain way. That didn't happen by itself. That was marketing working with technology. That was tens of millions of dollars at work. Not lazy.All of the above sounds really discouraging, doesn't it? So if all
marketing is marginal these days, why even market your company? And who has tens of millions of
dollars to spend? My answer is simple: because your competitor’s marketing is most likely mediocre! It’s not that hard to stand out if you take some time to consider how you want your customers to feel about your product—whether it is a product or luxury ground transportation company.

Here are Seven Ways to Survive in the Modern World of Marketing:

1. You Can’t Beat Them if You Join Them.
I see this way too often. Companies look at their competitor’s brochures and websites and create an almost
exact replication. Be brave and take the road less traveled. Stand out from your competition. Make your brand unique, not status quo.

2. Simplicity in Design.
Whether it comes to the design of your marketing materials or your website, make it simple. Choose no more than three colors (maybe four if it is a shade) and three fonts in your branding. Let people form an opinion about your company before they have even clicked a link or picked up a phone. Analyze what people think. Ask around. Experiment with a few choices and find one that identifies with you and your business. I understand that designing a whole new look and logo can be expensive (especially when
you've put them on everything from your vehicles to your employees’ shirts.

3. Simplify the Message.
So if an overhaul is not in the budget (and, in most cases, it isn’t) redefine your brand and simplify the
message. Know your pool of customers and give them what they ask for.

4. Be In the Right Places. Think of marketing as fishing. You don’t fish in salt water with fresh water tackle. And sometimes fish aren’t biting. And sometimes you need to experiment with different lures and
bait before you start catching the fish. Like marketing, fishing is based on testing. Experimenting. Check your results with everything, including e-blast subject lines, website traffic, postcard leads, social media responses, etc. Make sure to use separate codes when tracking results. Everyone gets lazy at times. I was for awhile.

While working with another company, I started using Google AdWords and set a daily budget of $100 at a low price of 4 cents a click. Once my daily budget hit $100, the ads I was promoting would stop running. I was losing money until I started tracking who was clicking on my ads. I eliminated some sites that were pure money pits (sites where teenagers migrate) and targeted sites where the reader would be more educated and have access to their own money (news websites, for example). By targeting the right market and not being lazy, my results turned around almost overnight.

Your staff should know or be getting familiar with your target customer market—don’t be looking for corporate clientele by advertising on a diner placemat. Use your intuition and market in the right places. What kind of demographic needs your luxury ground transportation services? Start there.  Selling to everybody is selling to nobody.

5. Host an Event.
So you have this great website, branding, great chauffeurs and an immaculate fleet... or maybe you have two nice vehicles. Host an industry function at your location, whether it is an association meeting or a community event. Reach out to local businesses or other industry-related companies and see if they want to participate in some way, like sponsoring the food or a door prize. You could even do a charitable function that gets your business some exposure locally and in the industry.

6. People Care About Themselves More Than They Care About Your History.
I know your company history is important to you and it means longevity and dependability, but it’s more about what your company can offer others. Think about your purchasing decisions on important products or services. Was your decision based on the history of the company or was it based on how the product or service appealed to you? Again, separate yourself from your competitors by focusing on what makes your luxury ground transportation company different than the competition. What makes the experience of riding in your vehicle different than others? A company that does a fantastic job with marketing is Reston Limousine (www.restonlimo.com). Just by visiting their website, I know they are a well-run company. Their website is updated daily with specials, calls-to-action and blog entries. That alone makes me trust them.

Another company that gives me the same feeling is ETS International (www.etsintl.net). Like Reston, ETS runs weekly specials, valuable blog entries, and a clean website design that makes me feel like using them would be a wise decision.I’m not saying that your company history isn’t important, because I know the two aforementioned companies pride themselves on their storied history. I’m just stating that the feeling you get
when you go to a company website or look through their marketing material goes beyond history.

Think about your purchasing decisions
on important products or services.
Was your decision based on the history
of the company or was it based on how
the product or service appealed to you?

7. Testimonials.
Don’t be afraid to ask people about their experience. Make a follow-up phone call or email a quick questionnaire with some promotion (a referral, perhaps). Get that customer to use your services again and tell their friends.

As I have been writing this, I have been listening to some contemporary music and it reminded me of something my Father would say. “All of your music sounds the same,” he would say with a judgemental laugh. Well, I finally now get what he meant then.

Don’t let that be said about your company’s marketing. Make it unique. Make it yours. Don’t get lazy. Whatever you do, keep trying to write your hit song.

*********************************************************************************


Written by
Creative Director
john@limodigest.com

BEST Transportation Execs Washed Contest Winners’ Cars

[FROM LEFT] Director of Airport Operations Chris Doerhoff,
Director of Sales and Revenue Terry Jackson, President and
 Co-Owner Kim Garner, Controller Bryan Babitz and Director
of Operations Lori Edwards.

St. Louis-based BEST Transportation’s “Spring into Savings” contest asked employees to submit ideas for saving revenue, and awarded the six employees with the best ideas with gift cards and a hand car wash from their bosses on June 11th. 

Almost 50 ideas were submitted that suggested ways for the company to increase profits and save on payroll, fuel, energy, vehicle maintenance, office supplies and cleaning.

The executive car wash team included President and Co-Owner Kim Garner, Controller Bryan Babitz, Director of Operations Lori Edwards, Director of Sales and Revenue Terry Jackson and Director of Airport Operations Chris Doerhoff.

“Our chauffeurs and team members are integral to the success of our entire business operation,” Garner said in a press release. “We value not only their professional skills but also their business acumen and creative ideas for helping BEST Transportation become even better in serving our customers efficiently and effectively each and every day.”

BEST Transportation offers chauffeured services with premium sedans, classic cars, limousines, vans, mini-coaches and limo party buses. Since 2009 the company has operated a second division called GO BEST Express, the official shuttle company for Lambert-St. Louis International Airport and the City of St. Louis. For more information visit www.besttransportation.com.

Merchants Fleet Management Opens New Chicago Office

CEO Glen Villano, along with other colleagues of the
Merchants Fleet Management team, start the grand
opening with a ceremonial ribbon cutting.

Merchants Fleet Management celebrated the grand opening of a new state-of-the-art facility in Chicago on June 20, which the company built to accommodate rapid growth in its information technology and sales divisions, according to a press release. The new location will also serve as a central meeting location for clients.

CEO Glen Villano commemorated the grand opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony, along with
colleagues Ken Kauppila, Chief Information Officer, Tom Coffey, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Dan Hannan, Director of Strategic Consulting and their respective teams.

“Establishing the Merchants Fleet Management Chicago Office reinforces our company commitment to establishing a major presence in a major market,” Kauppila said in the press release. “Having this
presence creates a new channel for serving our current and prospective customers, expands our technology center of excellence, and at the same time, allows us to attract and retain top talent in the Midwest
market. Our ability to add top talent to our already talented team will continue to fuel our growth and success.”

Villano added, “This expansion is an integral part of our overall growth strategy, affording us an opportunity to access talent across the country.

It also goes hand-in-hand with the introduction of Merchants Fleet Management's TotalView strategic consulting capabilities and planned technology initiatives.”

Merchants Fleet Management is one of the top ten fleet leasing companies in the U.S. and has enjoyed continuous growth and expansion due to its outstanding commitment to its customers and employees.

For more information, visit www.merchantsfleetmanagement.com.

U.S. DOT Mandates Rear-View Safety Systems


Rear View Safety, Inc.

The United States Department of Transportation passed regulations at the end of March that will mandate rear view safety systems, or backup cameras, in all new vehicles under 10,000 pounds. Backup camera technology allows drivers to see the blind zone behind the vehicle located outside of the field of view provided by mirrors.

The new rules will be phased in starting in 2016, until 100 percent compliance in 2018. The DOT initially proposed these regulations in 2010, but they were delayed due to cost concerns.

“We are committed to protecting the most vulnerable victims of back-over accidents—our children and seniors,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in press release that followed the ruling. “As a father, I can only imagine how heart-wrenching these types of accidents can be for families, but we hope that today’s rule will serve as a significant step toward reducing these tragic accidents.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that a typical rear view safety system will cost  $132 to $142 per 2018 vehicle, and estimates that $546 million to $640 million will be spent that year on backup cameras in 2018.

Rear View Safety, Inc., a New York-based provider of rear view safety systems, released estimates of 95 to 112 expected lives saved  and 8,000 injuries prevented per year once these new rules go into effect.

For more information, visit www.rearviewsafety.com.

State Audit Finds CPUC Failed to Protect Consumers

A state audit ordered after the fatal May 2013 San Mateo Bridge limo fire determined that California's oversight of limousines and other passenger carriers is “insufficient to ensure consumer safety,” according to a report released in early June.

The audit found that the California Public Utilities Commission did not respond promptly enough to resolve consumer complaints or begin investigations, and did not properly fine or collect fees from violators. The CPUC took more than a month and a half on average to open an investigation and nearly eight months to complete one.

“Without formal guidance, investigators have not always ensured that passenger carriers comply with critical safety requirements,” State Auditor Elaine Howle wrote in the audit report. “The main reason for the deficiencies we found is a lack of effective program leadership.” Howle also gave procedural recommendations and outlined formal protocols for complaints and investigations.

CPUC Executive Director Paul Clanon agreed with the recommendations while disagreeing with the audit's findings that the commission had failed to protect passengers. “While we agree there are certainly deficiencies in some areas, we believe that the CPUC's collective efforts to ensure Californians' transportation safety through active enforcement and licensing have not been trivial, nor a failure,” Clanon wrote in a response to the audit.

RideGenie License Considered by Nevada Transportation Authority

Ride Integrity

The Nevada Transportation Authority has agreed to review a proposal from Integrity Vehicle Solutions for its smartphone app called RideGenie designed for e-hailing limousines, a la Uber.

The regulatory body overseeing bus and limousine rules throughout the state of Nevada has unanimously approved consideration of a license and setting a fee structure for the Las Vegas-based company, but not before a series of investigations and hearings to determine if the app is appropriate for public use. The
anticipated decision could take place as early as July.

COO of Integrity Vehicle Solutions Ed Gehres claims two Southern Nevada limousine companies—Bell Transportation and Presidential Limousine—have already signed on to use the app upon state approval, in addition to two others that have made verbal commitments.

Although RideGenie functions similarly to Uber, which has been advertising in the area, it claims that the major difference between the two is that the former will be subject to rules and regulations established by the Nevada Transportation authority.

For more information on Integrity Vehicle Solutions, visit www.rideintegrity.com.

For more information on the Nevada Transportation Authority, visit nta.nv.gov.

RideScout Expands to New York City

RideScout


RideScout, a start-up app that got its start in Austin Texas, launched in New York City in mid-June along with dozens of other cities after receiving a massive investment from venture capitalists.

The self-proclaimed “Kayak for ground transportation” aggregates all ground transportation options in a metropolitan region so users can compare and get the best deal.

The free app is available in Android and iPhone markets, and provides real-time updates on cost, availability and travel time for more than a dozen public and private ways to get around, including MTA bus, MTA subway, Metro-North, Tappan Zee Express, Long Island Railroad, NJ Transit, Bee-Line Bus, Long Island Bus, PATH, Zipcar, Carpingo Carshare, Hailo Taxis, Gett Black Car Service, Bandwagon, Citibike, Parking Panda, and Amtrak. Interestingly enough, this roster of transportation options does not include Uber, reportedly at Uber's discretion.

RideScout's official launch was at the Northside Festival in Brooklyn, New York, and the location and timing indicates a young and transient target market.

In February, RideScout won an award from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Data Innovation Challenge in the category of Transportation Access.

For more information visit www.ridescoutapp.com.

GPS Insight Wins M2M Evolution Product of 2014

GPS Insight

GPS Insight has received a 2014 M2M Evolution Product of the Year Award from M2M Evolution Magazine, the leading publication covering the machine to machine movement, for its Fleet & Asset Tracking Solution, according to a recent GPS Insight press release.

GPS Insight, a leading GPS tracking software provider, credits its powerful and highly customizable platform for their recognition as an M2M innovator. The company specializes in delivering must-have technologies to fleet-based businesses throughout the North American continent.

“We are thrilled to receive this recognition from M2M Evolution Magazine,” Founder and CEO of GPS Insight Rob Donat said in the press release. “Many of our customers push the envelope with our product to obtain superior ROI by adapting it to their systems and business challenges. At GPS Insight, we constantly challenge ourselves to evolve and deliver the most capable, scalable, and flexible vehicle tracking solution in the space to help them achieve that goal.”

Carl Ford, CEO of Crossfire Media, a co-publisher of M2M Evolution Magazine said, “The solutions selected for the M2M Evolution Product of Year Awards reflect the diverse range of innovation driving the machine to machine market today. It is my honor to congratulate GPS Insight for their innovative work and superior contribution to the rapidly evolving M2M industry.
“It is my pleasure to recognize The GPS Insight Fleet & Asset Tracking Solution, an innovative solution that earned GPS Insight the 2014 M2M Evolution Product of the Year Award,” said Rich Tehnrani, CEO, TMC. “I look forward to seeing more innovation from GPS Insight in the future.”

The winners of the 2014 M2M Evolution Product of the Year Award will be published in the third quarter edition of M2M Evolution Magazine and on www.m2mevolution.com.


For more information, please visit www.tmcnet.com.

Half of Corporate Travel Managers are Cutting Costs



Nearly half of corporate travel managers are cutting costs, and nearly a quarter expect the trend of cost-cutting to continue, according to a survey funded by AirPlus International, a global provider of business travel payment solutions.

The survey, conducted toward the end of 2013, aggregated responses from almost a thousand corporate travel managers working in 24 different countries. Interestingly, more than 30 percent reported the adoption of fleet integration strategies in their companies, and 20 percent anticipate that fleet integration will eventually occur in their companies.

More than half of the travel management professionals surveyed reported attempts to manage costs by consolidating them. Strategic consolidation seems to be a major trend in the United Kingdom specifically. According to the survey report, “The figures could reveal that travel programs are more mature in the U.K., or simply that U.K. companies are more likely to operate international subsidiaries."

The integration of technology in the form of “booking tools” is also a rising trend, with more than 40 percent reporting the use of such technology already, the majority of whom worked for larger corporations. Similar although slightly lower percentages of respondents also report integrating social media and mobile technology into their work-flow.

For more information about AirPlus International visit www.airplus.com.

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