If we learned anything from the 2023 CD/NLA Show at the MGM Grand, it’s that the industry is back and better than ever. With an unprecedented attendance of nearly 2,300 operators, vendors, and sponsors, including hundreds of first-time attendees, it’s clear that there’s little stopping the power and resilience of the industry, and you’re revved up for bright days ahead. The positive energy displayed at the show was off the charts, and we can’t thank you enough for making this the biggest and best show we’ve ever seen. And a special thank you goes to all our sponsors, including Title Sponsor Volvo for their continued support and their part in putting together the event of the year (you can see the entire list of our generous sponsors at cdnlavegas.com).
From our standing-room-only Sunday afternoon opening session, A Winning Formula for an Exceptional Client Experience, it was evident that our attendees were hungry for well-timed solutions to current challenges. With that very goal in mind, the CD/NLA Education Committee, spearheaded by co-chairs Jason Sharenow of Broadway Elite Worldwide (who also moderated several of the sessions) and Karl Guenther of Statement Limousine, knocked it out of the park with their programming. Whether it was seminars about finances and sales, diversity in the workplace, the principles of chauffeured transportation, or building an affiliate network, our attendees showed up ready to learn. Equally popular were panel discussions like the Rescue the Service Failure Roundtable and Client Travel Panel, which garnered rave reviews from those in attendance. Once again, Education Sponsor FASTTRAK (along with Coffee Sponsor Buffalo Limousine) stepped up and played an important role in bringing pertinent knowledge to operators of all sizes and markets.
“An exceptional event with great presentations with quality content—and an incredible group of people attending. A lot of good business will be done as a result of these relationships,” says Vince Robinson of RCS of London.
“The show turnout was extraordinary. Clearly our industry is thriving and the CD/NLA Show is like coming back home as a winner. The educational programs were phenomenal and had solid takeaways that we can implement in our own company,” says Theresa Callahan of Jax Black Car Transportation.
From the opening hours of the show, it was obvious that new attendees were a force of unstoppable momentum. As such, our First-Timers’ Event was a bustling, elbow-to-elbow introduction to the CD/NLA experience. Equally impressive was our State of the Industry, moderated by CD President Chris Weiss and sponsored by Driving Transactions. This SRO event offered perspectives from five whip-smart operators of varied sizes and years in the business shared to a rapt crowd. And speaking of engaged crowds, Customer Service Expert John DiJulius delivered a keynote address that had the industry buzzing.
"I had an incredible time at the Las Vegas show this year! The atmosphere was electric with a record number of attendees and new faces. The venue was fantastic, and the keynote speaker delivered an amazing motivational speech that focused on the importance of great service—something I feel has been missing in our industry. I left feeling inspired and excited about the future of our industry,” raves Kirk Bagger of Captains Car Service.
“The energy was high and the sessions were packed. I was surprised to see many of the seminars were standing room only. It's encouraging to see so many wanting to learn and grow,” says Athena Grimm of BAC Transportation.
“This show was just what the doctor ordered as we came away from this show with new ideas, knowledge, connections, and an invigorating spark. Can't wait to implement the many takeaways into our organization and look forward to the next CD/NLA Show,” says Dean Williams of Gem Limousine Service.
Networking abounded at every corner of the show, both at dedicated events and informal get-togethers. Our jam-packed Affiliate Central Global Partner Forum offered wall-to-wall networking among a staggering 81 exhibitors from around the world, eager to meet with operators to forge lasting and beneficial industry relationships. Meanwhile, operators were making new friends and exchanging information at our morning breakfasts and afternoon lunches on the show floor, running into each other in elevators or in the lobby between sessions, or while grabbing a drink at the property’s bars or during our Tuesday evening Happy Hour. It’s clear that our attendees meant business!
“As a first timer to the show, I felt very welcomed and everyone was friendly. I met fantastic people and made connections that will be very helpful to our business,” says Nancy Plante of Executive Express.
“Thank you to the CD/NLA Team for an amazing industry convention. Great educational seminars, wonderful networking and we love connecting with old and new industry friends and affiliates! Coming back home energized and ready for the grind,” says Nancy Vargas of DH2 Chauffeured Transportation.
That electricity, however, extended way past our session rooms; the show floor was consistently bustling as operators were actively buying vehicles, technology, and services as they got a taste of the latest products from the nearly 100 vendors that were present. As businesses look to replenish or upgrade their fleet, the show floor presented the perfect opportunity with bus, motorcoach, and OEM exhibitors on hand to supply the newest models geared for our industry.
“As a new operator, I came to the show not knowing what to expect and had neutral expectations. Within one day, I immediately realized the show is everything I was looking for and more as a new operator. Not only did I get the education I was seeking, but my opportunities to network with operators from all over the world blew my expectations out of the water. Kudos to the organizers; I have attended conferences in other industries in the past, and the CD/NLA show was a 10 out of 10!” says Patrick McKenna of Bing Mountain Luxury Transportation.
“It was an exceptional event, and our company's success at the show was beyond what we had hoped for. The show gave us the perfect platform to showcase our latest products and newest items, and we received a fantastic response from attendees. Our team was able to connect with numerous clients, and the feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive. I am proud to have been part of Create-A-Card's success at the show, and I look forward to seeing our continued growth and success in the future with CD/NLA events,” says Arthur Messina of Create-A-Card.
And of course, our nighttime networking events kept the energy high long after the lights were turned off in our classrooms. This year, we once again brought a bit of fun to our show floor for our Opening Night Show Floor Party on Sunday night. Live entertainers regaled our attendees with their feats of gravity-defying ball and stilt walking, while magicians mystified with their sleight of hand. What’s more, Marilyn and Elvis strolled alongside the sleek vehicles on display, while caricature artists and photo booths provided showgoers with a light-hearted souvenir. On Monday, we traded limos for magic carpets as we traveled to a mystical faraway land for our Arabian Nights party. It was Middle East meets the West as we captured the allure and mystery of the timeless tale in a backdrop awash in lush gold and jewel tones. Belly dancers and fire eaters entertained while the DJ pumped the beats designed to get attendees’ feet moving. This was a one-of-a-kind experience our partygoers aren’t likely to forget, courtesy of party sponsors ANB Trans Inc., Centennial Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation, and Crown Worldwide Transportation.
“Absolutely amazing show! So many new people and familiar faces. The education was on-point, and the parties were epic. The CD/NLA team did an incredible job, and I can't wait to for Nashville and Orlando!” says Anthony Asaro of Desert Rose Worldwide Transportation.
Once again, we thank our sponsors, exhibitors, speakers, and attendees for making this event one for the books. We look forward to seeing our friends and colleagues at the future Chauffeur Driven/NLA events we have planned for 2023. First is the CD/NLA Executive Retreat in Nashville on June 4-6. Limited to 200 operators, our Retreats offer a blend of high-level educational content, local food and flavor, tours, and team-building events, with, a bit of quality time at the local honky-tonks to create an amazing, relaxing, and revitalizing experience from beginning to end. Then, October 22-25, we return to the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Orlando, for our fall CD/NLA Show. With our industry in full comeback mode, we anticipate a year of memorable events and high profits for luxury ground transportation.
We’ll have plenty of photos and reminiscence of the 2023 CD/NLA Show in our next issue of Chauffeur Driven, which will be available in your inbox or at chauffeurdriven.com in April.