Many thanks to all of the attendees, exhibitors, speakers, moderators, mentors, committee members, and generous sponsors—including Title Sponsors Ford-Lincoln Limousine and Livery Vehicles and Grech Motors—for being a part of this event. We were thrilled to catch up with so many of our longtime friends, as well as welcome and meet many new attendees. Thanks to North Point Transportation Group for making the show a little easier to navigate by sponsoring our official show app. The app is still live, which you can access to get a list of exhibitors and their contact information, as well as session notes and details from seminars.
Education Ignited Possibilities
While we build the show with equal blends of networking opportunities, advanced learning, and a dash of fun, our educational program is easily our bedrock, a foundation upon which everything else is constructed. Each year, our dedicated Education Committee—led by Co-Chairs Jason Sharenow of Broadway Elite Worldwide and Kristen Carroll of The LMC Group with CD Publisher Chris Weiss at the helm—spends months carefully crafting, tweaking, and finalizing a set of seminars that are not only timely but also forward-thinking for the next evolution of your business. Speakers from within and outside the industry are selected for their knowledge and willingness to share their experiences with our attendees. This year, we tackled a broad range of topics, from Networking 101 and creating an Effective Game Plan for Hiring, Compensating, and Training a Salesperson, to more in-depth sessions on Leveraging Technology to Improve Your Customer Experience and Bottom Line and finding Creative Revenue Streams Right Under Your Nose. We also explored The Pitfalls of Contracts and What to Look For, while Intro to KPIs: Industry-Specific Metrics Critical to Profitability had attendees reading balance sheets like a pro. A special thanks to FASTTRAK Cloud Technologies for sponsoring our education seminars, Buffalo Limousine for keeping the masses caffeinated with plenty of hot beverages, and Jason Sharenow for being an excellent moderator.
Following breakfast on Monday (sponsored by Volvo), our ever-popular State of the Industry (sponsored by FASTTRAK) featured a panel of industry giants—Kristina Bouweiri of Reston Limousine, Mike Fogarty of Addison Lee North America, and then-TLPA President Mike Pinckard of Total Transit—in a discussion led by Chris Weiss about the major topics our industry members face every day. The panel offered up their diverse views—and most of all, their suggestions and workable solutions—on finding and keeping quality chauffeurs in a tight market and good economy, pricing wars within and outside of luxury chauffeured transportation, and rate integrity/dynamic pricing. It was a sobering conversation but one filled with optimism as the industry goes through a metamorphosis.
Later in the day, attendees were treated to the break-the-mold ideas of Mike Michalowicz at our Keynote Address, sponsored by Chosen Payments and Grech Motors. Using techniques from his best-selling book Profit First, Michalowicz spoke about how to turn the typical, tired money-making equation on its head.
Of course, education is never limited to our classroom-style seminars and on-the-show-floor exclusive sessions, as opportunities to share and learn among peers were in abundance. Attendees were once again matched with an industry mentor for our perennial favorite Operator Mentoring Program (sponsored by Grech Motors). The smaller groups of 8-10, led by a seasoned veteran of chauffeured transportation, provided a chance for deep conversations and sharing of new ideas alike—the possibilities!
“The Operator Mentoring Program was the most impactful portion of the entire event. Perspective and connection. It was awesome,” said Justin Gerald Meals of Blue Chip Executive Services.
Our industry-exclusive Benchmark Breakouts were also met with raves from attendees who enjoyed the structured conversation and opportunity to see how their companies stacked up against like-minded competitors.
“As a small operator, I have to carefully pick and choose what shows I can attend. I need to get the most bang for the buck, so I researched and decided to attend CD this year for the first time,” said Renee Dorsey of Airport Limousine Service. “I was blown away by the Operator Mentoring Program and my Benchmark Breakout session. These two programs alone were worth the price of admission. It was fabulous to be with the two groups of operators, discussing issues and challenges—and to find out that I am not alone. Others have the same struggles as me, even the BIG operators. I am already taking steps here at base to use the knowledge I gained.”
Did you miss a session, or do you wish you could go back and listen to that important advice again? Good news: All of our educational seminars are now available online, along with any handouts or PowerPoint presentations, at cdmediavault.com.
One of the best things about the Chauffeur Driven Show is the collaborative environment that our attendees inspire, and it’s always a pleasure to see deals being made and connections taking place all over the venue—from our dedicated networking events and parties to stealing a nook at one of the hotel’s watering holes, catching up on the show floor, and even in hallways and between seminars.
Meeting affiliates and expanding networks continues to be the name of the game, and that was never clearer than at our events created exclusively to foster those relationships. Tuesday’s International Meet & Greet, once again sponsored by Global Alliance, Icona Global, and Modern Car, was the place to get to know operators from all over the world in a casual setting.
The room was also jam-packed with possibilities at our returning favorite Affiliate Central Global Partner Forum (sponsored by A1A Airport & Limousine Service). Hundreds of attendees moved at their own pace and readily put those newfound networking skills to good use while chatting with nearly 60 exhibiting operators—current and future affiliates—from around the country.
“The Affiliate Central Global Partner Forum was great! I really enjoyed meeting so many partners in a relaxed format,” said Bruce Adcox of AGENDA:USA.
Another surprise hit was our Women in the Industry Networking Reception, sponsored by DTS Chauffeured Services. Normally held during evening hours, we flipped the script and made it a breakfast networking session. More than 100 women from all walks and stations within the industry joined us as panelists shared stories about triumphing circumstances and beating the odds at this one-of-a-kind inspirational event.
“The Women in the Industry event was excellent!” raves Ayanna Wills of Fleet Transportation in Alexandria, Va. “I met so many women, and the speakers’ stories had me and everyone else in tears. This was the best one EVER!”
Building Camaraderie Through Organization
Associations hold a special place in our hearts, so we were thrilled to host our fourth annual Association Summit, which included nearly 40 association leaders from organizations throughout North America who came together and discussed their recent victories, current concerns, local issues, and more. The standing-room-only event—sponsored by MCI—had representatives from national and regional organizations alike offer their advice to those facing familiar hurdles and voice their concerns among a gathering of other board members representing wide-ranging markets.
In addition to 10 associations having a presence on our show floor, several associations also held onsite meetings during the show. Both the Virginia Limousine Association (VLA) and Minority Limousine Operators of America (MLOA) attracted more than 50 attendees comprising not only members but also supporters. On Monday, the VLA featured a panel about industry technology with insights and input from several operators representing an array of regional markets, company sizes, and software users.
The next day, Barbara Oliver, who has previously served on the MLOA’s board of directors, made her debut as the association’s new executive director. MLOA President Maurice Brewster of Mosaic Global Transportation also shared some good news: Thanks to the association’s many generous sponsors, membership is now free.
The Show Floor Had It All
Approximately 100 suppliers, dealers, and manufacturers were on hand to display their wares during show floor hours Monday through Wednesday. The diversity and range of vehicles—from popular sedans to behemoth motorcoaches—was evident from our roster, but so too were the extent of technology and nascent products for all walks of chauffeured transportation. Operators once again enjoyed using our Show Bucks to help defray the cost of their purchases.
After our ribbon cutting, the show floor opened with a pop of the cork at the Champagne Reception, hosted by Ford-Lincoln booth at its booth—but we offered several reasons for attendees to stay awhile. Not only did we hold two bonus education sessions on the floor, we also treated attendees to Happy Hours (sponsored by Addison Lee and Tristar Worldwide) on both Monday and Tuesday evening, as well as lunch (sponsored by Titus Leasing) on Tuesday and brunch on Wednesday.
Ending Each Night With a Celebration
We like a good party as much as the next guy, so we offered three! Starting on Sunday night, we took you Around the World at our opening reception, sponsored by Mercedes-Benz. It was just the ticket attendees needed to kick off a great four-day conference. The following night, however, we let attendees show their silly side with our always-beloved Costume Party, sponsored by Boston Car Service and RMA Worldwide. Once again, the industry stepped up and donned some of the most creative, hilarious, and spectacular costumes we’ve seen to date—proving that they take silliness very seriously. Who will ever forget the Beetlejuice army comprising some of the industry’s most notable figures?
But Tuesday night is regarded as special since it’s when we host our Charity Dinner & Auction, once again sponsored by Aadvanced Limousines. It was our honor to once again raise money for the incredibly inspiring WISH for OUR HEROES, an organization that helps service members and their families with everything from the basics to the impossible. In the three years we’ve been working with the organization, we’ve seen it grow from one chapter to a handful all across the country—a sad reality that the charity is sorely needed to help provide assistance to our bravest Americans. Through the generosity of the industry, we raised an astounding $125,000, of which nearly every cent will be used to assist those military families—thanks to the super-low operating costs of the organization. A special thank you to everyone who donated an item or two, contributed money or won an auction, or attended the evening to celebrate our true American heroes.
“Thank you to everyone for the WISH for OUR HEROES auction,” says Ray Garcia of Prestige Limousines in Boca Raton, Fla. “This charity event brought me to tears, and you all should consider yourselves blessed for helping raise so much money for their cause.”
We once again have a stellar pair of events for you in 2019, one of which you can read about on page 54. First up is our fifth annual Executive Retreat this May 5-8 in the Live Music Capital of the World: Austin, Texas! We’re stoked to show you around this laid-back city with Southern charm, so be sure to save the date and check back for more details. Our 2019 Chauffeur Driven Show sets sail northward next October 13-16 to Boston—our first time ever hosting in the city! We have a ton of great things planned for you, so make sure you are a part of the festivities.