Saturday, July 04, 2020

Publisher Chris Weiss shares some important updates about Chauffeur Driven as well as forward-looking advice beyond the immediate crisis.

Chris Weiss Chauffeur Driven President & Publisher Chris Weiss These are unprecedented times, my friends, and we are all dealing with unimaginable circumstances.

As challenging as it is—and let’s be honest, it’s never been more challenging—it is extremely important to keep your head up, stay positive, and realize you are not alone. This global pandemic is having a dramatic impact on nearly every company in this industry—large or small, bus or sedan, top-tier market or rural—not to mention the vast majority of small businesses trying to survive. You can’t beat yourself up. Your family needs you, your employees need you, and your business needs you to be mentally tough and resilient.

I’ve experienced the downturn of the early ‘90s, travel shutting off like a light switch after 9/11, and the long and painful road out of the Great Recession, and what we are all currently dealing with is more extreme than any of those times.

We are all sailing in unchartered waters, and no one has a crystal ball, but I do believe that the economy (and of course the industry) will come back, and come back strong over time. I don’t want to sugar coat it; sadly, there will be some companies and good people that will not make it through. It is more critical than ever to be there for your industry brethren and to support those who need it most—even if it’s just words of comfort or some sage advice. The industry unity expressed on social media and through phone calls has been impressive, and know that those efforts help. publisher notes

In the meantime, you’re going to have to bootstrap like never before and conserve every penny. Cash is king! Never in the history of our lives have those words rung more true. Do everything in your power to reduce your overhead and operating expenses now. You will have to make (if you haven’t already) many painful decisions, and you have to scrutinize every single line item of your expenses (again, if you haven’t already) and work with all of your vendors, most of whom are in the same boat but willing to help. The reality is, not much revenue—if any—will be coming in over the next several weeks, if not months, so it’s really back to the basics: How much do you have in reserves? How much are your monthly expenses? The answers to these questions will give you a snapshot of how long you’ll be able to sustain operations with limited incoming revenue. Constantly assess your numbers and financial situation, and let that be an essential part of your survival guide. Keep your eye on the future.

Chauffeur Driven is in this for the long haul too, and I am totally confident we will weather the storm, and come out stronger on the other side. But like everyone else, we had to scale back, temporarily lay off some of our team, and make some incredibly difficult decisions.

For obvious reasons—most of all for everyone’s safety—we have canceled the 2020 Executive Retreat in Nashville scheduled We are discussing the possibility of securing dates in Music City for 2021, but we have also been looking at some other cities and destinations (think sunshine), so we will keep you posted in the coming months.

We have also decided to temporarily suspend publishing the magazine (both print and digital) for the next few issues, and put all of our focus and energy on digital content (our e-newsletter and e-blasts) and social media. With everything changing by the hour, we want to be as nimble, adaptive, and in the moment as possible when dispensing information, guidance, and advice. Our dedicated team has been producing magazines for this industry consistently without a hiccup for nearly 30 years, and this is the first time we even discussed the idea, let alone did it—but we see this as only a short-term measure until the economy starts getting back on track.

Our bi-weekly e-newsletter—which is distributed to more than 30,000 industry members, including corporate travel professionals, meeting planners, and DMCs—will now start coming out weekly, so you can expect to see a lot more timely updates and critical information.

As I mentioned, we will be significantly ramping up our social media content, so please be sure to follow us on Facebook at ChauffeurDriven (we currently have over 5,500 followers) and Instagram at chauffeurdriven (close to 1,500 followers) to get the most up-to-the-minute info. You can also follow me personally on Facebook (Chris Weiss) and Instagram (chrisweiss76).

We are here for you! And I am here for you. Call, email, IM, or text me and I will do my best to help out in any possible way I can. Stay safe, stay strong, stay positive, stay sane, and don’t forget we are all in this together. This too shall pass.

I can be reached at chris@chauffeurdriven.com.    [CD0320]