- Category: Industry News
The Minority Limousine Operators of America (MLOA) spoke and its board listened: In an effort to meet members’ interest in becoming eligible to land both government and corporate contracts, the association has launched a program to help them navigate the paperwork and procedures necessary in applying for 8a certification through the Small Business Association.
Run by MLOA’s Executive Director Dr. Yvonne LaMar of LimousineQA.com, the four-session program began January 12 and will address each section of the application (company questions, history, and financials) with each “teleseminar,” as well as provide an introduction that includes a comprehensive overview of what’s needed to complete the application.
“The certification program is a series of workshops that use materials I’ve helped people with before,” LaMar said. “We go over a different section of the application each session so by the last one, the applications will be complete and members will be able to submit them.”
With 19 members sitting in on the introductory call and four participating in the subsequent sessions, LaMar feels that the program eliminates a lot of the stress that paperwork tends to create.
“During our introduction call, I just told everyone what’s in the application and what to expect, and I think that took away a lot of the anxiety people had about the process because they were anticipating something huge,” she said. “For the people who didn’t sign up for the actual sessions, I think that was all they needed.”
The teleseminar’s small group of participants has allowed LaMar to zero in on concerns specific to owners of smaller operations and tailor the sessions to their needs.
“Because there aren’t many people, it’s really great for having these intense conversations,” LaMar said. “We can stop and spend time on the items that either require a lot of attention or that people may have questions about.”
The certification program is just one part of MLOA’s increased outreach to its members, especially in terms of providing them with more workshops, support, and mentoring opportunities. Last month, the association also offered a 90-minute call-in workshop—Social Media Marketing for Beginners—for the first time, which aimed to help its membership maximize their presence on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
“We’re doing some basic things for people who generally wouldn’t have the time to deeply investigate social media marketing themselves,” LaMar said. “We want to help put them on the social media map.”
The MLOA board itself had a board retreat January 23, wherein an all-day planning session had the directors reviewing the association’s goals and its ongoing mission to meet members’ needs.
The next MLOA general conference call will be March 25.
Visit mlooa.org for more information.
- Category: Industry News
The event brought together more than 1,700 representatives from the motorcoach industry, including Chauffeur Driven and its partner company Premier Products, both of which had booths on the show floor and were represented by CD Publisher Chris Weiss, Sales Manager Darren Saat, and CEO Eric Alpert. Other familiar faces included Grech Motors, Turtle Top, Advantage Funding, Lancer Insurance, FleetMatics, and Century Business Solutions.
According to Maggie Vander Eems, UMA’s meetings and operations director, more than 180 exhibiting companies occupied the show room floor’s 200,000 square feet. This year’s event saw an encouraging hike in both exhibition and registration numbers.
“There was definitely an increased attendance over last year, so we’re really happy about that,” Vander Eems said. “It was really great to see some of the best attendance numbers we’ve seen in years.”
Vander Eems added that the expo’s seminars “had a really great turnout,” including a few new programs that aimed to keep the educational component fresh and all-encompassing.
“We added a track to our education seminars, which was for small operators,” Vander Eems said. “It had multiple sessions with a focus on sub-topics that would be of interest to a small operator, and touched on things like ADA and insurance. That session was really well-attended.”
It wasn’t all business, and many of the expo’s events brought attendees to New Orleans landmarks and hot spots like Bourbon Street, the French Quarter, and The Big Easy’s many local dining establishments and watering holes. This year’s launch of the Motorcoach Mardi Gras fundraiser, an initiative spearheaded by the Motorcoach Marketing Council with support from the separately operating UMA, looks to raise public awareness of motorcoach travel’s benefits and held its fundraising event at Razzoo Bar & Patio.
While UMA is already looking ahead to 2016’s expo in Atlanta, Ga., the organization’s next big event will come with its annual Capitol Hill Days from March 17-18 in Washington, D.C. Owners and senior management of bus and motorcoach companies across the country are invited to meet with elected officials to discuss the industry’s most pressing issues. Chief among these concerns are the possibility of motorcoach insurance limits skyrocketing from $5 million to between $20-$25 million and the potential of disappearing private-sector protections that prevent publicly funded transportation agencies from dipping into private charter work.
Completed registration forms for Capitol Hill Days, which can be downloaded from uma.org/capitolhill, are due no later than February 19.
Visit uma.org and motorcoachexpo.com for more information.
- Category: Industry News
Plainview, N.Y. — After rescheduling its January meeting on account of a blizzard that swept the Northeast region, the Long Island Limousine Association (LILA) met up February 3 at Race Palace.
The meeting, which saw a turnout of more than 50 people, was sponsored by Peter Hayes and Gin Kato of Bird Bus Sales, Mike Marroccoli of Capacity Coverage, and Doreen Marino of Forest Hills Financial.
Topics included a mix of industry and association-specific information, with guest speakers Marroccoli discussing insurance and Marino talking about retirement planning and exit strategies, while changes to the LILA website were discussed among members. Marroccoli’s presentation about insurance costs led the association to both discuss and put together a training program for members’ chauffeurs.
“Mike Marroccoli was telling us that these insurance carriers are really determining whether you stay in business or not,” said LILA President Robert Cunningham of Platinum Limousine. “I had a meeting with some members of the association, and I said that maybe we should come back with a driver training program because the chauffeurs, if they’re not trained properly, can put you right out of business if, God forbid, they get into a bad accident and somebody gets hurt.”
According to LILA Director Bill Goerl of Clique Limousines, the association is also re-examining how it will handle its mid-winter meetings in the future “because it’s just so hard to get people out in this weather.”
LILA’s next meeting will be March 31.
Visit nslali.com for more information.