You asked for it and we listened. In this column, we ask operators of all sizes and from all walks of the industry a question about their business and report their answers so you can assess how your own company compares to your peers. If you would like to participate, please email Rob Smentek at firstname.lastname@example.org for next issue’s question.
TOPIC: In what segments of business have you seen rays of hope? Are there any new sectors that have taken you by surprise?
We have seen some rays of hope from our business clients. As restrictions are diminishing, CEOs and other levels of management have the need to travel and get in touch with their partners in other cities. While high-speed trains may have been used before, now companies are turning to private drivers to ensure the safety of their workers. It’s the same for private jet arrivals. We are starting to see an increase in requests at private airports as opposed to commercial airports, as clients are preferring to avoid crowds and long lines. Many people were disappointed when they had to cancel their vacations to Italy this year, but we are already starting to see requests for September 2020 and for summer 2021.
Joe Forgione, USA Client Manager
Auto Elite in Bologna, Italy
Since we have several maintenance buildings, a drive-thru car wash, and mechanics and detailers still on staff, we have offered a full detailing and light maintenance service to our customer base. It has been a service we have always wanted to offer to our customers, and it has worked pretty well so far. When the customer parks their car on our lot when they travel, they return to a vehicle that has been detailed and/or had light maintenance repairs, such as oil changes, brake work, and tire replacement.
Gerry Frenze, President
Delaware Express in Newark, Delaware
Business is slowly starting to return, and it has mostly been on the retail side of business. After being in lockdown for all this time, people want to get out with a few friends and family for dinner and drinks now that restaurants are starting to open. Although many don't seem to be concerned with having completely sanitized limousines or having drivers wear masks and gloves, it remains our priority.
Mark Grendzinski, Owner
Encore Limousine and Sedan in Madison, Wisc.
In our region, we have observed a small upturn in the areas of health and food industry work. The rest is null.
David Kravetz, Group CEO
ATEG International in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Seattle has finally opened to phase 1.5, with phase 2 coming soon. We have had great interest in bookings for transfers and hourly trips for medical and surgery appointments. Clients are requesting safe transportation for these important appointments instead of taking Uber or Lyft like they would have previously done pre-COVID. The demand has taken us by surprise, as we initially thought only a handful of people would utilize this. We are grateful that clients are able to get to appointments and surgeries in one of our disinfected vehicles.
Guri Rajput, CEO
Seattle Royal Town Car & Limo in Seattle
Recently, we have noticed that more and more people are flying private jets. We have picked up a lot of new customers from jet centers.
Joe Russo, Founder
Primetime Limousines in Sarasota, Fla.
As some operators are headed towards reopening and generating some work, we also have seen some movement with our stretch limousine bookings and a slight increase for bus services for the end of June and into July.
Raja Shobi, Director of Operations
ATL One Limo in Marietta, Ga.
One segment where we are seeing great traction is the private aviation. People are talking more about the choice of private aviation rather than commercial.
David Uziel, CEO/Chairman
UrbanBCN Worldwide in San Francisco, Calif.
This day, this month, and this year are all temporary, just like tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year will be. Nothing stays the same—and that's a truth that we all embrace. The only difference is the mindset that we take with us. Companies in the Netherlands are slowly reopening. Little by little, this country is starting to move again, but everything is going at a very deliberate pace. Unfortunately, this also means that we still have relatively little work in our own country. However, we were surprised with requests to provide medical transport and courier services. We now have around 30-50 trips a day all over the world. This gives us hope, and we are happy that we can still provide our services in this way.
Bart van Leijden, CEO/Founder
ETS Luxury Driving in Amsterdam, The Netherlands
We’ve loved hearing your answers to our benchmarking questions—but we always welcome suggestions for future topics, too!
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