Founded in 2010, Limos4 is the brainchild of Dr. Vojkan Tasic, who wanted to bring together his two passions: information technology and luxury ground transportation. Looking to streamline the European luxury transportation industry, together with his team, Tasic developed a turn-key dispatch and booking system that now serves 200 cities across the world with 600 partner companies—with proprietary vehicles only in Switzerland. Chauffeur Driven spoke with Tasic to learn more about the unique space that Limos4 occupies in the industry, what changes they made during the past two years, and the trends he sees for 2022.
Chauffeur Driven: How did you get involved in the luxury ground transportation industry?
Vojkan Tasic: My entrance into the industry is a little unusual and different than most. Many people start with being a driver first, and then maybe going into the office side, and finally deciding to open their own company. I’m coming from a completely different background: I have a Ph.D. in information systems. Twelve years ago, I had the opportunity to build a booking platform for a local Swiss company, which was quite successful. We then wanted to try out whether we could do the same outside of Switzerland. So, we applied what we had built and launched London first, followed by Copenhagen, and then city after city.
CD: How would you describe Limos4 to someone unfamiliar with the service?
VT: Limos4 is a limousine service provider in more than 200 cities worldwide, with a focus on Europe. We currently don’t have metal on the ground in most cities, but we have developed our own software that supports us in choosing and vetting providers in all the cities we work.
Our place in the market has been particularly visible during the pandemic, when the uncertainty of the market has been huge. At the start of the COVID era, you didn’t know who still was in operation, who wasn’t, and so on. Many affiliate managers, particularly in the US, lost their jobs and companies simply didn’t know whom to send their work. Five members of our staff were calling and emailing our partners full-time to make sure they were still open. We even helped a few of them; our IT team worked hard to help them sort their processes out.
CD: How do you vet companies to come aboard the Limos4 platform?
VT: We have a few components in our partner evaluations. We have pre-vetting, ongoing quality control, and lots of ad hoc quality control techniques, including ghost rides, office visits, etc. In our software, we track more than 30 provider parameters in several categories: vehicles, drivers, responsiveness, compliance, flexibility, documents, volume, incidents, consistency, and price. For each one, we have 5-10 sub-categories. For instance, for “drivers,” we are grading on dress code, manners, English level, responsiveness, and local knowledge. Obviously, for “incidents,” we have a no-show, driver was late, driver didn’t have a proper name board, and driver didn’t follow a code of conduct.
We track for each one of them. Our system calculates a grade from zero to 100. Whenever our dispatch team has a ride to send to somebody, our system shows who we have in each city, along with their rating, based on years of history. That’s why we can provide excellent service to our partners.
CD: When did you enter the US market? Were there any challenges?
VT: We’ve been servicing the US companies since 2010, but officially launched there in 2019, covering more than 20 major cities.
I would say it was surprisingly easy to enter the market because the US limousine industry is 20 years ahead of Europe. America has a unified market, meaning that everyone ‘‘speaks the same language,” and you have quite similar regulations between the states. Limousine service in Europe is quite differentiated between the countries because of various languages, rules, and cultures ... it’s very mixed up in Europe. That’s largely why Limos4 exists: we are there to unify the European market. We are able to give the clients a product that is unique because we deliver a consistent level of service everywhere. Also, we are pretty much the only company that can provide a live status update to anyone who wants to receive it.
CD: In what ways did you change strategies to handle the pandemic?
VT: Financially speaking, we were in a good place when COVID hit. That gave us some flexibility, and so we chose not to fire anyone at the beginning of the pandemic. In the first year, we used the time to upgrade our people and invest in our software. We developed our staff with lots of training and courses, and when it comes to software, we added some optimization modules, implemented auto-grading of partners/dispatch, and we also created a new portal for clients, which will be launched soon. This update will allow the clients to see all their invoices and book rides; it’s a full-blown corporate solution for companies where they have admins and travel arrangers. On top of that, we also helped our partners, so our IT team built several free websites for our friends in the US. We tried to do some good for the industry in that way.
We also used the time to rebrand the company, which took us a year to do. The rebranding was huge. We moved from a regular approach, where “we’re an X company and we provide this service,” to a new solution-based approach. We try to explain what kind of solutions we’re providing to different persona types. Instead of “shooting from the hip,” we try to have a “sniper” targeting our customers. We have eight niches we’re currently playing in: corporate travel, events, travel agencies, family odysseys, luxury ground transportation companies, concierge, private aviation, and real estate.
CD: Where have you seen the biggest demand in 2021?
VT: This year has been very weird. At the start of 2021, we were seeing much more retail work because the majority of countries were closed. In the second part of the year, we have been seeing a positive uptick, and we’re up 40-50 percent compared to 2019. Most of the work now is corporate. People are learning to live with COVID, and they’re learning to travel again— with all the new regulations, etc. Companies are loosening strict rules for travel, although this is changing a bit with the Omicron variant.
CD: What trends are you noticing in the current luxury ground transportation marketplace?
VT: The number one trend is the shift toward electric vehicles, which is largely due to government incentives. I personally think that in ten years the majority of the market will be electric, especially with Mercedes-Benz launching the EQS, which will take the place of the S-Class. It has quite a good range.
We’ve had many cases where our suppliers had to substitute a vehicle for an EV, and in 99 percent of these incidences, our clients thought of this as a positive surprise. They really liked the change from a combustion engine to EV.
Also, there is an upward trend toward digitalization. Many used their time during COVID to digitize their operations to see what they could optimize because costs are increasing, and manpower is getting scarce.
CD: What will 2022 hold for Limos4?
VT: We’re looking forward to the future. Although we lost a lot of revenue over the last year and a half, particularly with our decision not to fire anyone, we invested a lot in our digitization and integration. We have GNet integration, which is working quite well, and other integrations that let us receive the rides directly from a corporate client’s software. In combination with our software, I’d say this puts us in a leadership position when it comes to limousine service, especially in Europe.
Also, in 2022, we are looking to partner with a local dealer and enlarge our fleet to serve the Switzerland market. [CD0121]