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: What aspect of the CD/NLA Show do you find most beneficial for your business?
I believe the best sessions are those that are completely inclusive like the International Meet & Greet, Women in the Industry, and the DEI sessions. These amazing meetings are what maps the course for our industry to identify and highlight all operators from all creeds, beliefs, and regions from across the globe. It is paramount that industry shows like Vegas supports unity for all operators to share, collaborate, and nurture one another to be better business owners and managers. Our industry is extremely responsive to the global economy so having events like these at the show allows all industry types to create great show ROI.
Michael Barreto, President
Metropolis Passenger Logistics in Essington, Pa.
I feel the education workshops to be the most beneficial for the simple fact that you can take what you learn and put it to work immediately. I also enjoy getting to see the people and faces that I haven’t seen for a while and listening to how their business is going and any ideas they may have. The show floor is always exciting with being able to talk with the different vendors and exhibitors who attend the show. Lastly, the networking ability and seeing affiliates is crucial as we depend on each other.
Bryan Beale, General Manager
A&A Limousine Service in Northampton, Pa.
Networking, for sure: the show allows me to be right in front of people I want to meet, catch up with, and vice versa.
Nick Boccio, General Manager
Buffalo Limousine in Buffalo, N.Y.
What I find most beneficial for my business at the show are the networking events and Affiliate Central. The networking events provide a unique opportunity to connect with industry peers, potential affiliates, and thought leaders. These interactions are invaluable for building relationships, exchanging ideas, and staying abreast of the latest industry trends. These face-to-face conversations often lead to long-term partnerships and collaborations that are pivotal for business growth.
Additionally, the Affiliate Central stands out as a particularly beneficial session because it’s a goldmine for anyone involved in or interested in affiliate marketing. The practical tips and expert advice shared here directly impact our marketing approach, helping us to optimize our affiliate campaigns and maximize ROI. The combination of networking and focused learning at Affiliate Central makes it a standout feature of the show for us.
Moe Bouayad, President
Crown Worldwide Transportation in Englewood, Colo.
I would definitely say developing relationships with other operators around the country and the globe is a highlight. We send each other business, but I also go to them for advice when I have an issue at work. For example, it could be that I’m looking for another affiliate or I have a question about technology or even where to find used buses.
Kristina Bouweiri, President & CEO
Reston Limousine in Sterling, Va.
Without a doubt, what makes the CD/NLA Show so valuable is the networking. The connections that you establish within this industry are priceless and extend from large transportation companies to the one- and two-car operations. This is a small industry compared to others out there, and—no matter if you are big or small—everyone can fill a niche. I go to this show to make new acquaintances and re-establish old relationships. It is refreshing for the affiliate manager of a large transportation network, for example, to put a name and face to the individual(s)/ people that run the services in your particular area. In the end, expanding and growing your business is so very important.
David Brown, President
Premiere Transportation in Albany, N.Y.
The most beneficial aspect of the show for our business is the networking opportunities it provides. Specifically, the Affiliate Central event allows us to connect with other transportation providers and potentially grow our business.
Theresa Callahan, Co-founder
Jax Black Car in Jacksonville, Fla.
While I find all aspects of the show to be beneficial, we especially enjoy Affiliate Central as it has allowed us to expand our worldwide network by meeting potential affiliates in person. At the same time, we have become an affiliate to so many others searching for a reliable provider in the San Francisco Bay area. I feel it is important to spend time in person and perhaps share a meal with an affiliate before trusting them with our clients without knowing anything about them. I also enjoy the educational sessions and have learned so much about technology and operations that has helped me to successfully scale my business year after year. Those who don’t attend the educational sessions are missing out on a valuable opportunity for personal development.
Harry Dhillon, President
Ecko Worldwide/Hashtag Business Solutions in Santa Clara, Calif.
We find the shows extremely valuable to not only our company’s growth but our individual growth as owners. Of course, there are great networking and business opportunities but the value of learning from industry peers is beyond the price of admission. It is interesting learning best practices from those in different corners of the world and adopting them into our business. I have been a mentor at the Operator Mentoring Program a few times and that is always a fun and educating intimate experience. Meanwhile, the State of the Industry gives us a full vibe of what to expect for our future.
Jay Erlich, CEO
Europe Limousine in Paramus, N.J.
I find attending the education sessions around technology the most beneficial. Technology changes so frequently that attending these sessions is critical to keeping abreast of the many apps and services available to make our lives easier. We can learn so much from like-minded operators, both large and small, local and international, as we all tackle similar challenges from different locations. After attending, I feel more prepared and confident, and I eagerly look forward to returning home to share what I have learned with my staff and colleagues.
Joel George, Vice President
VIP Connection in Long Island City, N.Y.
When I started attending shows it was all about the education. At the time, my business was experiencing little growth, and I needed some answers. The shows provided those answers through the educational sessions. I learned new marketing ideas, different market segments, when to add to the fleet, hiring, operational costs, revenue management, etc. I left each show with a list of new things to implement and a renewed excitement in my business. Over the last seven years of attendance, my focus has shifted from a little less education to more networking. I still learn new things, but I also have industry friends all over the US and the world from whom I get mentorship, advice, and support. We talk about the things you can’t talk about with your local affiliates because you want to keep some competitive advantage. I regularly talk to about a dozen friends/operators each week. Of course, being in Florida and knowing so many other companies, we take care of their clients when they come to the Tampa/St. Petersburg area. Overall, the shows are a great experience, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them!
Thomas Halsnik, Owner
Walsh Chauffeured Transportation in Tampa, Fla.
Visiting the CD/NLA Show in Vegas is key for running a successful worldwide operation. The amount of education and networking is outstanding since all the major operators in the global market will be attending. I have been in this industry for 25 years, visited the show many times, and I enjoy meeting up with my industry friends and peers. On top of that, I still meet new people and learn something new at every visit.
Dennis Jansen, Managing Director
Holland Limousine Group in Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The most beneficial aspect of the show for my business is the marketing educational sessions, particularly those focusing on specific markets, client targeting based on region, company size, and competition analysis. While safety, maintenance, operations, and accounting remain vital, acquiring concrete market data tailored to different regions and fleet sizes is indispensable for new operators. Also, I’m looking forward to more networking social events.
Stefan Kisiov, Fleet Manager
K&G Coach Line in Park Ridge, Ill.
It’s hard to say what’s best about the show, but I think the classes. You may sit through an entire class for one priceless sentence that pays for the trip. I’m often surprised that so many sleep in instead of learning. I’m not a good networker, so forced networking events are also imperative. I met many people at the parties, mainly in the bar line, and during Affiliate Central and Operator Mentoring Program.
Gary LeCamu, Owner
Diamond Chauffeured Transportation in Hempstead, Texas
I have been attending the show for going on eight years now. During that time, I have met a lot of affiliates whom I can now call personal friends. One thing I never did up until this last show was attend the Operator Mentoring Program, let alone be a mentor for the program. When they said it was a two-hour session, I thought the time would drag on; however, when I sat down at the table and started talking with everyone, the two hours flew by like it was 20 minutes. By attending that program and hearing real people in front of me talk about similar issues they were having and what they did to overcome them was huge. I have often posted questions on Facebook groups, but nothing compared to the answers and questions I got when attending the Mentoring Program. I would strongly suggest signing up at the next show if you have never done it before.
Denny Leinhos, President
Avant Garde Limousines & Coach in Indianapolis, Ind.
The Operator Mentoring Program is one of the most valuable parts for many of us, as we can share ideas, solutions, and hear from leaders of the industry on how we can make our business model more profitable is always important. Seminars in the limousine industry are crucial for networking, showcasing new technologies, and fostering collaboration among professionals. They provide a platform for sharing industry insights, discussing trends, and promoting innovation in the luxury transportation sector. Additionally, sessions contribute to the continuous education of industry stakeholders, ensuring they stay informed about advancements and best practices.
Robert Rodríguez, President/CEO
First Class Destination Solutions in Carolina, Puerto Rico
There are so many great things to learn at all the shows, especially Las Vegas. Each show, I get something different to bring home. I always make new connections and learn nuggets in some of the most unexpected places and times. Out of everything, I love the networking and getting to know new people—which also speaks to my personality type and the fact that I’ve been attending the shows forever.
Tracy Salinger, President
Unique Limousine in Harrisburg, Pa.
The education and sessions are always top notch; you are guaranteed to learn something new or interesting you can implement right away. Without a doubt, being able to visit with industry friends, new and old, is the best way to help you stand out in your market, as well as to meet operators in areas you may need assistance in. The Operator Mentoring session is one of my favorites as it’s a more intimate roundtable. With so much opportunity, the only way to lose is to not go!
Quentin Shackelford, Owner
AllClassLimo.com in Wichita, Kan.
The show is great for business: we enjoy the education, the State of the Industry, and the networking, but for us it’s more about connecting and spending quality time with our friends that we rarely get to see, and about making and hanging with new friends.
Ron Stein, Owner
Exclusive Sedan Service in Newhall, Calif.
As the affiliate manager overseeing global partnerships for our company, I’ve found trade shows to be invaluable. Participating in Affiliate Central has significantly expanded our network, fostering numerous partnership opportunities worldwide. They’ve also been a cornerstone for elevating our brand visibility across diverse markets. Attending trade shows allows us to stay at the forefront of industry trends while presenting our services to a broad audience. These experiences continually prove instrumental in our business growth and development.
Andrew Tighe, Affiliate Relations Director
RMA Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation in Boston, Mass.
We’ve loved hearing your answers to our benchmarking questions—but we always welcome suggestions for future topics, too!
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