The Illinois Limousine and Bus Association (ILLBA) hosted the latest installment of their Coffee With ILLBA webinar on Tuesday, March 15. Welcoming operators from around the world, the regular Zoom event allowed attendees to discuss and benchmark hot-button topics.
“Right now there’s so many things happening that we haven’t seen before,” said ILLBA President Art Rento of Pontarelli Companies, addressing the various challenges operators are experiencing in the face of current events. Whether its gas prices, supply chain issues, or staff shortages, there’s no question that the industry is tackling a confluence of difficulties unlike ever before.
Designed to help operators navigate these rocky waters, the ILLBA event took the shape of an open forum that addressed pressing issues and relevant business solutions. The conversation kicked off with a discussion about cash flow and making sure business owners are prepared with enough money on hand should the next COVID variant shut things down again. This led way into an exchange about the benefits of dynamic pricing to increase profitability.
Hiring chauffeurs and staff continues to be an ordeal in the luxury ground transportation industry, so ILLBA members shared their experience with offering sign-on bonuses to new employees and referral rewards to existing staffers. Overall, it was agreed that bonuses are best distributed in phases as new hires meet goals over time.
The rising price of gas is one of the largest issues plaguing operators today, so webinar attendees offered their two cents on surcharges and price increases. Operators also agreed that offering a strict timeframe on quotes (e.g., price is good for 48 or 72 hours) is a realistic solution to avoid getting crushed by future cost increases.
The pros and cons of remote employees were also discussed, with some attendees finding it difficult to monitor the productivity of their remote staff. Overall, having remote employees was viewed as a positive, with Rento saying that his offsite staff was working out well.
ILLBA Executive Director Paula DeBiasi of Chicago Coachworks said that the organization hopes to make Coffee With ILLBA a more frequent event, and encouraged members and guests to suggest topics for future discussion. As always, the webinar was recorded and is available for free via YouTube by clicking here.
Visit illba.org for more information.