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: Other than Zoom, what software or technology has been helpful to your operation in the past few months?
Our company has focused on trying to close as many opportunities as we possibly can. During this slow period, every lead is vitally important. One area of improvement has been the flow of our website chat bot by adding menus for the most requested information and automation to place the visitor on the page with relevant content. We have also expanded and improved our quoting process by using templates for our most common trip types, from wine tours to weddings to airport transfers. The templates contain graphics, standard language, and vehicle pictures to maximize the opportunity to convert to a booking.
Randy Allen, Partner/CTO
James Limousine in Richmond, Va.
We have spent this downtime looking at ways to streamline procedures to better communicate with all employees. We have found Slack is a great communication app. You can have a conversation with an individual, department, or the whole company. This app really helps with communication while working remotely and letting chauffeurs know about available trips. We also have found Trello to be helpful for keeping track of tasks and goals. We are able to keep remote employees accountable to their work, and we are able to upload docs from Dropbox to streamline jumping between apps to review their work.
Chad Casey, President
Casey Corporate Transportation in Atlanta, Ga.
We haven’t had the need for Zoom and have yet to start using it; this is primarily because I am the only employee during these unprecedented times. Communications between us and our parent company in Calgary has never required Zoom as we are all using WhatsApp and Zipwhip for basic messages.
With that being said, before the pandemic, our team, chauffeurs, and office staff were using WhatsApp video and messaging for a good part of our communications. We use voice messages, which are safe for the chauffeurs to create and play back while driving, and our small team has found this more than adequate.
Donald Dekort, General Manager
Highland VIP Group in Calgary, Alberta
Recently, we have stepped up our game in the social media platform with regular postings of educational information for our clients. We revamped our Facebook page to be more useful for prospective clients by adding the services we offer and buttons to get in touch with us right away. We also launched a new LinkedIn page and are sharing industry education on group pages like GBTA, NLA, and other groups, where both industry members and corporate travelers alike can learn more about our company and the efforts we are taking to ensure passenger safety.
Harry Dhillon, President
Ecko Worldwide Transportation Group in San Jose, Calif.
Many of our members have utilized online training and they have been spending time building customized on-boarding training for their chauffeurs. Our Hygiene Awareness training, partnered with DRVR Training has proven to be a very popular with both drivers and operators in Australia and worldwide. Hygiene Awareness training ensures all chauffeurs are trained to keep them and their clients safe.
Toni Peters, Director
Transport Alliance Australia in Caulfield, Victoria
Prior to COVID-19 I had no idea that there was a Zoom world. Since the pandemic hit, I have participated in all-day Zoom meetings. I've remained active with my network through Zoom. Although it does not compare to face-to-face meetings we are all accustomed to, it does help with staying connected.
I have also joined Webex, Google Meets, and Microsoft Team. All are great platforms. I have found that during this time that we must stay up to date with the technology that is available to work more efficiently in our offices. Adapting to the "new norm" will help us achieve our goals and stay relevant with our audience.
Nancy Vargas, CEO
DH2 Transportation in Jamaica, N.Y.
As the lockdown has been especially strict in Spain and lasted many weeks, our main activity was to stay in touch with clients, affiliates, and providers to help us improve some operational or internet presence. In addition to Zoom, we used Webex, Jitsi Meet, and Hangouts, not only for communication but to gather valuable insight from webinars. Those were helpful to stay informed about the current state of luxury travel and transportation, among other things, and we intend to keep the habit. On the other hand, WhatsApp, once again, has proven itself invaluable for more informal conversations with employees and closer friends within the industry.
Joseph Votano, CEO
Abaser Limousine Service in Barcelona, Spain
We’ve loved hearing your answers to our benchmarking questions—but we always welcome suggestions for future topics, too!
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