Is your limo reservation system like a cold-dead fish handshake?


 Imagine you are meeting someone for the very first time and you are about to give them your business.  You go to shake their hand and they give you a cold-dead fish handshake.   Or even worse, they hold on to your hand 10 seconds too long.  Limo Reservation taking is the initial handshake you get before doing business and often times, the first impression of your company.  If that handshake is broken, I promise you, you are losing clients.

There are many aspects that we, as limousine companies, must constantly be improving.  One detail that gets overlooked quite frequently is one of the most important, taking reservations!  Many limo companies have great service, great vehicles, and great pricing but are losing clients from the gate.   Here are 5 ways to help you improve your limo reservation taking system.

1.  Ask your clients how They like to book trips?

Every client is different.  Some clients prefer the standard phone call while others try anything to avoid speaking with anyone at all.  Ask your clients what they prefer.  It’s very simple.  If you find that the majority of your clients would prefer booking through a downloaded app, well it’s time to get an app.  If you find the majority prefer speaking with someone on the phone, find a way to get them to a customer service rep faster.

2.  Offer multiple ways for clients to make reservations…

Communicate to your clients that you have multiple ways they can book trips.  Create an online reservation system, a template they can download and email, or even a web based app.   At our company, 9Seven Executive, we have a dedicated cell phone that stays with our reservation department because several of our biggest clients prefer to text.

3.  Become a secret shopper for your own company. (Or hire a company to do it for you)

Have a friend call your customer service to make a reservation.  See how long it takes to complete from start to finish.  (You may be surprised)  If it takes longer than 5 minutes to make a reservation, there is something very wrong.  Restaurants hire secret shoppers to get true feedback all of the time, why aren’t limousine companies doing this?  Hire a secret shopper to give you a review of their entire service from reservations to billing.

4.  Review, audit and streamline your reservation Process…

Procedures and protocols are a necessity for every limo/car service company.  They are what keep a company organized and efficient.  Unfortunately some companies can tend to over complicate those procedures that can waste a clients time.  Take a line by line look at your reservation procedures to see if there is any information you can streamline.

5.  Create a quick and simple process for repeat clients to book trips…

I understand there is quite a bit of information to obtain during the reservation process.  But would anybody use Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn if you had to enter your email, telephone, address, city, state, zip, mothers maiden name, username and password Every Time you logged in?  Probably not.  So why do you make your regular clients do the same thing?  Simplify the process for your repeat clients to give them ease of access.

Remember that taking reservations quickly and efficiently is like the first hand shake of your business deal.  Make sure yours isn’t the cold dead fish.

What is garage to garage billing?


In the limousine industry, questions about billing tend to be perplexing for customers.  Making sure you fully understand the way your limousine or car service company is billing you, can help you decide if you are getting the most for your money.  While no two companies are exactly the same, most limousine companies follow many of the same rules when it comes to billing.  In this article we are specifically looking at garage to garage billing.

What is garage to garage billing?

Well, simply put, it is where the customer is charged from the time the vehicle leaves the garage until the time it returns to the garage.  (Also known as “drive time”)

When does garage to garage billing apply?

In most cases, limousine companies charge garage to garage billing when the pick-up or drop-off address is outside of that company’s standard operating radius.   (The average tends to be about a 30 mile radius)

Now, that being said, most companies tend to have different opinions of where the center of their radius is located.

– Some companies count their “garage” as their center starting radius

– Some companies count the “center of the city” as their starting point

– Some companies use the closest “airport”

– And unfortunately, some companies use the starting radius that benefits them the most

So two good questions to ask when being billed garage to garage are:

1.  How far away do you start charging Garage to Garage?

2. Where is the starting point of your garage to garage radius?

If one company bills from their physical address and another starts from the closest airport, one company may charge you garage to garage while the other does not.  Knowing this may just help you save the cost of paying for an extra hour.

Another common question on garage to garage billing is:

1. What if the chauffeur leaves early, gets stuck in traffic on the way back, or stops to eat?  Will I be billed for that unnecessary time?

*Answer:  No, garage to garage billing should be a predetermined drive time that you are fully aware of at the time of booking.  You should never be charged for a chauffeur taking extra time or unforeseen elements when it comes to garage to garage billing.  Upon receiving your trip confirmation/reservation, good companies will tell you up front what they are charging for drive time.

After all, everyone hates hidden or surprise charges.  We hope this clarifies your garage to garage billing questions.

Nashville Executive Limousine


                  First Class Concierge Service

Nashville Executive LimoAfter a 3 hour flight you are ready to simply relax after arriving at Nashville International Airport.  Your chauffeur has met you in baggage claim and has taken your luggage directly from the carousel to the vehicle for you.  After stepping into your vehicle, you are greeted with an ice cold bottle of Fiji water.  Your chauffeur loads your luggage, makes sure the air temperature in the vehicle is perfect, and away you go.

You realize you’ve made a great decision by calling 9Seven Executive Limousine for your airport transfer.  There’s no waiting in rental car lines, no need to look up directions, and no need to worry about traffic, it’s time to relax.  You were emailed your chauffeurs picture and profile 24 hours before your trip so you knew exactly who was driving you.  The last time you were in Nashville you opted for a Taxi, which ended up costing more because the driver, supposedly, got lost.   “Never again”, you say, “never again”.

Nashville and Executive Limousine Highlights

Music City is becoming the “It City” for business executives and travel pleasure:

  • Nashville Music City Center, Nashville Convention Center
  • The Hermitage Hotel, Loews Vanderbilt Hotel, The Hutton Hotel, and the Downtown Hilton
  • Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium, Country Music Hall of Fame and Music Row
  • Tennessee Titans at LP Field and the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone arena
  • Tootsies, Robert’s Western World, Exit/In, and the Schermerhorn Symphony Center

9Seven Executive Limousine provides you with first class service that other Limousine companies only attempt to replicate:

  • Our clients range from world class entertainers and high profile executives, to first time Nashville visitors
  • 9Seven Executive features an “on-time” guarantee.  If we are even 1 minute late to your pick-up, the trip is on us
  • Our full service Concierge staff are available 24 hours a day to assist with finding tickets to events, errand running, or making dinner reservations at Nashville’s finest restaurants
  • Your chauffeurs profile and picture are emailed to you 24 hour prior to your trip so you know, Who’s Driving You.

Our priority is to Exceed Your Expectations, Every-Time!

Your first-class experience is our reputation.  So relax and know that your transportation needs will not only be met, they will be exceeded by our highly trained chauffeur staff.

9Seven Executive Limousine features daily tours of Nashville, including tours to the Jack Daniels distillery and Arrington Vineyards.

Our chauffeured transportation service not only features extraordinary vehicles, such as brand new Rolls Royce and Bentley sedans, but exceptional service.  Our chauffeur staff live by the motto “We are professionals serving professionals”.  After all, the world’s best steak is just a cold steak if the service is terrible.

9Seven Executive Limousine Service: It’s our Pleasure to Serve you

Music City Limo


Nashville LimoWelcome to Music City.  Whether you’re a visitor, Nashville native, or fresh off the bus with a guitar in hand, Nashville has a ton to offer.  From local culture, sightseeing, restaurants and entertainment this up and coming city has been growing at an exceptional pace.  Nashville, or commonly referred by locals as “Nashvegas” has just over 1.6 million folks in the metro and surrounding areas.  The Music City capital is home to such professional sports teams as the Tennessee Titans (Football) and the Nashville Predators (Hockey)  Both of which have gained a tremendous following over the years.

Besides the nickname “Nashvegas” Nashville is also touted as the “Athens of the South” for the 35+ colleges and universities it has within about a 30 mile radius.  Located in the heart of Music City is the largest and one of the most prestigious schools, Vanderbilt University.  Vanderbilt is a private research university, founded in 1873, which enrolls approximately 12k students a year.

If you’re interested in music, you’ve come to the right place.  While most people attribute Music City as being just a country music town, this is far from true.  You can find just about any genre of music that fancies you.  (yes I said “fancies”)  From jazz, rock, classical, pop, and rap, Nashville is truly a diverse musical city.  Many don’t realize how Nashville actually earned the nickname Music City.  It can be traced back to 1874 where the Fisk Jubilee Singers from Fisk University performed for England’s Queen Victoria.  She was so happy with the performance that she stated “These young people must surely come from a musical city”.  The name finally stuck in the 1950’s when David Cobb of the Grand Ole Opry radio station, WSM, started using the nickname regularly.

While music is one of the top economies of the Music City, surprisingly it’s not the top industry.  The top industry in Nashville is actually health care.  Nashville has over 350 health care companies which have operations based here.  Other Nashville industries that rival the  music business are the banking and financial institutions, as well as transportation/logistics.  Nashville has become a center hub between such cities as New York, L.A.,  Atlanta, and Miami, and is quickly becoming a “meet you in the middle” city, for industries worldwide.  This is the reason Nashville is close to completing the Music City Center, a 1.2 million square foot convention center in the heart of downtown, scheduled to open early 2013.

Navigating Music City is not very difficult, although you will find several roads that change names a few times before returning to their original street name.  (Not sure why this is)    So again,whether you are a visitor, Nashville native, or fresh off the bus with a guitar in hand,  Music City Limo is here to help you navigate, sight-see/tour, or simply get to and from Nashville International Airport.  Music City Limo operates 24 hours a day with a vehicle to fit every type of need.

 

CMA Awards 2012: Parking tips


     The CMA Awards are upon us yet again on Nov. 1st, 2012 in Nashville Tn.  The Bridgestone Arena will be packed with Country Music Stars and fans alike.  Every year this event sells out with approximately 18,000 people at the show and another 1,000 or so working behind the scenes.  Needless to say, you’re probably not going to find a parking spot up front.  (Unless of course you’ve hired a car service for the night.)
So, here are a few tips on parking.

1. Wear comfortable shoes (or at least bring them along)
-Ladies and Gentlemen:  Plan on walking a ways.  With all of the construction surrounding the Bridgestone Arena, many sidewalks/paths are temporary and not made for beautiful footwear.
2. Make sure you park in a safe/legal place
-If you tell yourself, “I hope I don’t get towed here” it’s probably a good idea to move your vehicle.  Tow trucks are out in full force this night.  Paying $20 now is cheaper than $75 tow fee plus a $25 cab ride to your car.
-Make sure you give money to the right parking attendant.  There are quite a few bums and scam artists walking around collecting money for parking when they’re not authorized.

3. Put anything you don’t want stolen in your trunk
-The parking attendants will probably leave before the show is over.  Don’t let your car be the one that gets its windows broken out.
(I’ve seen windows broken out just to take loose change someone saw in the center console)
4. Charge your phone before hand
-In the past, at the end of the night, I hear people saying they wish they had charged their phone more before hand.  From start to finish the show will last about 3 hours.
-Tip – in the Bridgestone Arena’s Patron Club there is a “Go Charge” station which is a rapid charge phone charge system with hookups for about every type of phone.  (Unfortunately, you must be a Nashville Predators club seat ticket holder to access the club.)
5. Remember where you parked.
-This is not Disney world with tram service to Donald Duck Lot F.  Take a look at cross streets and landmarks so you can find your car at the end of the night.
6. If you plan on leaving your car overnight…

-When you park, make sure you double-check whether or not your vehicle will be allowed to stay overnight.  Some parking will be day of event only and you can run the risk of being towed the next morning.

Most of this is common sense but sometimes forgotten.  I hope this helps and we at 9Seven Executive hope you have a safe, wonderful night.

Training Chauffeur Confidentiality


 

One of the easiest ways that limousine companies lose clients is by not consistently training their chauffeurs and staff to keep “Client Confidentiality”.  As a chauffeur and chauffeur trainer in the Nashville Limo market, I’ve seen first hand how this can cost a company money.

Many chauffeured transportation companies barely break the surface when it comes to client confidentiality.  It seems that it becomes just a paragraph, buried within legal jargon, in a chauffeur’s handbook.  And when it is brought up, it’s almost as if it’s only meant for celebrities. When training a class of new chauffeurs, I like to ask “What type of client is most important for keeping Client Confidentiality?”  And almost every answer involves celebrities or entertainers!  The answer I’m looking for is, Every Single Client!  Here are 3 different types of client confidentiality and reasons why your chauffeurs should be trained, re-trained, and trained again to keep you from loosing clients and money.

1.  Celebrity/Entertainer Privacy

Yes, this is one of the first things that comes to mind when we talk about confidentiality.  The celebrities or entertainers that use your company expect their privacy maintained.  Far too often I’ve seen chauffeurs, dispatchers, and even owners post who they were driving on Twitter, Facebook, and their website.  While it may go unnoticed, the one time it doesn’t can be costly.

In many limousine markets, chauffeurs get approached by autograph collectors and photographers that pay chauffeurs for the Who, When, and Where of celebrity information.  Many limousine employers don’t realize this is even happening.  How many times will a celebrity continue booking trips with your company when every time these groups know their exact movements?

2.  Client to Client Privacy

Training chauffeurs not to talk about clients they’re driving or have driven is also very important.  It doesn’t matter if they are celebrities or not, it can still effect you.

True Story:  A husband and a wife had booked 2 separate airport transfers going to the same hotel.  They were both arriving on different flights but with flight delays, they were landing 5 minutes apart.  The chauffeur decided to ask the wife if she would like to ride with her husband since he just landed as well.  As it turns out, the wife was there on business and the husband was making a surprise visit for their 25th wedding anniversary.  She was surprised and so was the limousine company when the hotel sent all of their business elsewhere.

 

3. Client to Other Chauffeur’s Privacy

All too often, chauffeurs from different companies see each other at the same events, hotels, and airports.  We must all be friends since we’re in the same business, right?  Wrong!  I’ve heard chauffeurs brag about clients they’ve driven, how much they tip, and how many times a week they book trips.  That’s great, now you’ve just given inside information that would make for an easy sales pitch.  Make your chauffeurs aware that when they don’t keep client confidentiality, they lose money because the company loses clients.

How much to tip your chauffeur?


  As a chauffeur for many    years in the Nashville limo market, many clients, friends and family ask “what should we tip our chauffeur”?

 

If you are looking for a quick answer, standard tipping is   between 10%-20%.

If you want to look at this a bit further, there are several factors that you may want to consider.

1. Does the limo company you’re using include automatic gratuity?

– It seems to be split down the middle with companies who include automatic gratuity vs companies who leave it completely up to the client. So, make sure to read over the confirmation/reservation agreement sent to you by the company.

– If a company does include automatic gratuity in your total, it is acceptable to give additional gratuity if your service was exceptional. (Like restaurant servers, chauffeurs work hard for tips.)

– If a company does not include automatic gratuity, most provide a way to add gratuity to your credit card or cash will do just fine.

2. Did you receive excellent service?

– Was your chauffeur on time or early?
– Did they know how to get you to your destination?
– Was the vehicle clean, inside and out?
– Did you feel safe as a passenger while you were being chauffeured?
– Did they meet and/or exceed your expectations?
(Just to name a few)

3. What type of trip were you on?

– Was it a simple airport transfer or all night hourly trip?
– Did the vehicle require any special certifications (like a CDL) for your chauffeur?

These are a few things you should consider when calculating a chauffeur tip.