LCT contributing writer Bill Atkins raises some important questions about how the limousine industry’s longstanding practice of prioritizing value over price can be reconciled with the use of transportation apps. His comments below:

I strongly believe that apps are an important part of a successful company. More and more people are using smart phones as their main source of communicating and also finding businesses. The big problem is not the app. Apps are great and are another extra convenience for our customers.

However, apps that feature cheap price or price as the differentiated are a big problem. We are in the limousine business. This is a service business and even the word limousine causes someone to imagine top level, quality service. Too many limousine services are dumbing down their service to compete with taxi cabs and “transportation” companies.

I believe there is a big difference between a limousine and a transportation business. Why do operators come out with state of the art apps, only to feature cheap prices listed? I don’t see the Four Seasons, private country clubs and Mercedes-Benz marketing themselves as low price leaders.

Why do so many limousine services feature “guaranteed cheapest price” or list the service with a big cheap price number next to the service?

Instead, why not market your service in terms that will best suit your customer and the difference and benefit of being driven in a chauffeured limousine will provide? Why not let the taxis compete on lowest price and let them make no profit?

I say we in the limousine business sector need to start marketing the service level of using a limousine.

If the app on the cover of LCT Magazine showed a picture of the car, without a price next to it, it would be great, But once you feature cheap price, you can never expect and get full price.

Maybe operators aren’t confident in knowing what the differences are among a limousine as compared to an economy car service, and as a result, make the mistake of selling on cheapest price.

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