Sunday, May 26, 2019

BY MADELEINE MACCAR

book.limo 2013, a scrappy technology company made its entrance on the limousine scene. Today, Rental Limo continues to pour its energy and support into the luxury ground transportation world with its original product, which allows for three-step online booking and side-by-side comparison.

As cofounders Ryan Hilberth and Keith Gaputis delved deeper into the luxury ground transportation sphere, they looked for new ways to offer support to their clients. Pair their deepening personal investment in the operators who keep chauffeured transportation running with their in-the-trenches involvement with a smattering of national and regional limousine associations alike, and you have the dawn of Book.limo.

Book.limo takes the original reservation component a step further by offering a white-label approach to seamlessly embedding Book.limo’s technology into a client’s reservation page. The widget, which is easily integrated with a client’s pre-existing web interface, aims to streamline the reservation process—which, in turn, has the potential to maximize revenue of industry websites, boost profits with its easy clicks-to-reservations conversions, and, ultimately, increase online booking frequency and company efficiency alike.

book.limo “In most cases, you’re replacing an existing extension for a back-end system that is going to underperform compared to Book.limo,” says Hilberth, CEO. “We are facilitating six-figure revenue to our clients. It’s turnkey: It’s not something where you have to reinvent your business in order to get to that money.”

Currently utilized by a growing number of small and midsize operators, larger ground transportation companies have begun realizing the benefits of combining clients’ mounting dependence on and preference for handling their own bookings online with technology that can reduce labor costs while increasing ROI.

When Raphael Sousa of SF Limo Express first signed up with Book.limo in August 2014, the move was a mix of curiosity over the product and a willingness to try something new: As one of the younger members of the industry, venturing into uncharted technological grounds is of particular interest to the California operator who says that he has “always been big on automation and accessibility.”

“I was exploring new options at the time,” Sousa explains. “I tried most of the booking tools on the market, and Book.limo really worked for me. Plus, Ryan and Keith invested a lot of time in helping me and would ask what they could do to make it better.”

Sousa, who reports seeing an online-booking increase of 377 percent and a 605-percent raise in total online revenue since joining Book.limo, is happy with not only the asset it’s been to his 10­vehicle company but also how it’s enabled him to market a smaller company as a considerably larger one. And he says an interface that doesn’t put too much of an onus on the potential client makes people more inclined to utilize the widget to make their online reservations—which, of course, translates those clicks to revenue.

“Having the customer be able to put in their reservation information or what they’re looking to price out is the main feature that drew me in. As a consumer, when you make things super complicated, I don’t want to take the time to do all that,” Sousa says. “It’s mixing simplicity with technology. Some people have such complex reservation forms but Book.limo is easy to use.”

Relative newcomers to Book.limo share a similar success story. ZBest Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation in Maryland jumped on the Book.limo platform toward the end of 2016 and is already enjoying improved numbers.


"It’s turnkey: It’s not something where you have to reinvent your business in order to get to that money."
– Ryan Hilberth, CEO of Rental Limo/Book.limo

“It’s only been a few months, but we immediately increased our average ticket price online by 48 percent with Book.limo,” General Manager George Rains says. A comparatively larger company with a 50-vehicle fleet, ZBest has also seen a bolstered labor efficiency and online booking rise by 339 percent in just four months.

Hilberth, who oversaw the completion of 10 client case studies examining various growth metrics so far, cites Bill Faeth of IMA/Limo U as an influencing factor when it comes to connecting the dots between the lofty goals of jargon-filled techspeak, actionable items, and visible results to convey his products’ worth to the industry. In fact, Faeth not only offered Hilberth advice but also has started guiding his own clients toward Book.limo—with positive results.

“One of my clients in particular quickly saw the month-over-month and year-over-year results,” Faeth says. “In fact, the quantity of online reservations went up 180 percent in that first month. Their revenue went up more than 200 percent—in the first month alone.”

Of the clients to whom Faeth has recommended making the switch to Book.limo, he says that their results are uniformly positive.

“Every single one of them has had a dramatic increase in their number of online reservations a month and revenue generated online per month, which supports Ryan’s case study,” Faeth says. [CD0517]