Five ways to grow your limo business

In the limo industry, holding your small business to a high standard is critical. As you look to grow your company, promoting your brand and incorporating technology into your strategy will help you provide a better customer experience and grow your customer base.

Create your brand

According to the U.S. Small Business Association, one of the most important things that small business owners can do to grow their businesses is to build a strong brand. A brand is more than just the visual logo or marketing strategies used by your company. It is the values, services and people that make your business what it is. Create a vision for your company and figure out how to set it apart from the competition. Once you know where you’re going and what you want your business to represent, promote that brand to build trust and credibility with your audience.

Build an online presence

While there was a time when people chose a company based solely on word-of-mouth or print ads, an increasing number of consumers are using the Internet to search for products. Make sure that you have an online presence so that your company comes up under limo searches in your area.

Take advantage of limo software

A simple way to grow your business is to use software to increase efficiency. Find an online limousine program that will allow you to manage administrative tasks more effectively and make your business more appealing to your audience. Using technology like this will decrease the time you spend on menial tasks, allowing you to dedicate more energy to growing your business.

Make connections

Despite advances in technology, there is still great value in putting a face or voice with a name. Attend limo conferences and small business meetings in your area to make connections and create a presence in your industry while you promote your brand.

Limo Conferences

Attending limo industry conferences will keep you in the know about new business strategies and connect you with other leaders in the field.

Listen to your customers

One of the best ways to attract more business is to listen to what your customers are saying. Consider using social media platforms to connect with your audience and get feedback on the services that you provide. By creating a Facebook or Twitter account, for example, you can post content and ask your followers to share their opinions.


 

Five ways to better protect your limo business from cyber threats

Don’t let the fear of cyber threats keep you from taking your limo business to the next level. These helpful tips can protect your company as you operate your business online.

1) Take passwords seriously

One of the easiest ways to protect your business is to create a strong password. It requires minimal effort on your part and is a line of defense against anyone trying to steal your information. Choose something that will be difficult to guess, is an appropriate length, and make sure to use letters, numbers and special characters. Business Insider also cautioned against using the same password for multiple services. If you do that, a hacker who gets one password gets them all.

2) Lock down equipment 

If you think that all cyber thieves attack through the Internet, think again. Entrepreneur magazine reported that some businesses that are hacked actually have hard drives physically stolen from the premises. While security systems and cameras are good deterrents, you should also consider physically locking your computer to the desk by running a cable through the metal loop found on most desktop devices and laptops. Place any company cellphones or mobile devices in a safe before you leave for the day.

3) Monitor your employees

Educating your employees is a huge part of protecting your business. According to the IBM Security Services 2014 Cyber Security Intelligence Index, 95 percent of all the security incidents examined involved human error. That means that the vast majority could have been avoided if everyone followed proper procedure. Even if you’re extremely careful about online security, make sure that you talk to your employees about the guidelines that they need to abide by as well.

4) Don’t send information via e-mail

While it can be convenient to send credit card numbers and other important information through an email, this dramatically increases risk. Hackers can intercept the message and access any sensitive information that the email contained.

5) Keep your systems up to date

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security reported that an important way to protect yourself from cyber risks is to make sure that your operating system, anti-virus and other software are up-to-date. Many companies frequently send out updates to their users for free. Take advantage of the upgrades, as they often fix bugs and other problems that could make the programs more vulnerable to cyber threats.


 

Cloud-based software on the rise in small businesses

It can be challenging to keep up with changing technology, but looking for new ways to update your business can help you to stay relevant in a corporate landscape that is being increasingly shaped by software innovations.

According to a recent survey by Intuit, 37 percent of small businesses in the U.S. have adopted cloud-based software. That number is predicted to rise to 80 percent by 2020.

What’s the cloud?

In its simplest form, cloud-based software is technology that stores data on the Internet rather than on the hard drive of a computer. When you store your information on the hard drive of your office computer, your data is easily accessed from your desk. But when you’re out of the office, you are unable to access the information that you need. That’s where cloud software comes in. By uploading data to the Internet rather than keeping it on a computer drive, the information can be accessed anywhere at any time.

How can it help my business?

Using cloud-based software allows you to operate your business remotely and more efficiently, and Forbes notes that cloud-based software is practically eliminating the need for small businesses to own expensive hardware.  As a manager, you are able to access business data while you’re traveling, attending a client meeting or working from home. Additionally, using the cloud ensures that your data is safely backed up; if all of your business information is saved on a hard drive, you run the risk of losing everything if the drive is broken or stolen. Lastly, cloud-based software offers significant flexibility benefits: capacity expands with your business needs, the software updates automatically without user intervention, and employees are able to collaborate seamlessly due to simultaneous user access capabilities and real-time data syncing.

As we said back in 2014, often cloud-based software is “just what the doctor ordered”.


 

 

How millennials are changing the limo industry

Millennials are emerging as a powerful consumer force. The largest generation in U.S. and world history, the demographic is expected to spend $200 billion annually by 2017, according to Forbes.

At the LCT Summit in May, a panel of young industry leaders discussed how understanding this demographic can help limo operators make changes to accommodate the needs of millennials and grow their businesses.

The panel was composed of Raphael Sousa, President and Founder of SF Limo Express, Rick Versace Jr., an executive at A1A Limo, Robert Xavier, President and Founder of Legend Limousine, and Ryan Hilberth, CEO of Rental Limo. These representatives focused on four main ways that millennials are changing the limo industry game.

Texting

For millennials, texting is a normal means of communication. In 2012, Time Magazine reported that the average American between the ages of 18 and 29 sent about 88 text messages per day, and that habit hasn’t gone away. Incorporating texting in your business will help create appeal for younger customers. Sousa shared that he uses Limo Anywhere to send texts to customers giving their chauffeur’s name, contact information and estimated arrival time.

Online Reservations

In the same vein, millennials like being able to complete tasks online. While the majority of your customers may still prefer to schedule their rides over the phone, the up-and-coming generation will likely be more attracted to your business if you offer an online option that integrates with your limo software.

Social Media

According to Entrepreneur Magazine, 71 percent of millennials are on social media daily. That means if you aren’t taking advantage of social media platforms for your business, you’re missing out on an opportunity to connect with potential consumers. The LCT panel emphasized that whether you outsource your social media channels to another company or do it yourself, it’s important to have a clear campaign, post regularly – at least once a day – and share content posted online from major hotels, airlines and other companies that cater to travelers in your area.

Website Analytics

Whatever kind of online presence you have, Xavier emphasized that it’s important to monitor your website traffic. Xavier said that he used analytics to figure out what keywords users were typing into searches that led them to his website. By better understanding the online habits of millennials, you can more effectively reach the demographic.


 

Text-to-customer is here

At the 2015 ILCT Show in Las Vegas, we announced that text-to-customer functionality was nearing completion, and would be released to the market in short order. And now, just three weeks later, it is available to all Limo Anywhere users.

What exactly are we offering? You have the choice of two products to enable text-to-customer functionality for your business.

Basic SMS

This product allows Limo Anywhere users to send one pre-programmed text message to customers upon the arrival of the driver. The text uses dynamic tags to insert your company name and the customer’s name. Pricing is based on usage of the module.

Scheduled SMS

This product mimics our scheduled e-mail functionality, allowing Limo Anywhere users to send free-form texts to customers with triggers based on time or ride status. There is extensive dynamic tagging functionality available here, including customer name, company name, driver name, and more. Pricing is based on usage of the module.

To have text-to-customer turned on for your business, give us a ring at 888-888-0302 or e-mail us at support@limoanywhere.com. Please note that this functionality only works for U.S. and Canadian customers at current.

Text-to-customer is just one of four major product updates we will be releasing before the end of the quarter; stay tuned for the release of our new online reservations system before April ends!


 

What can you expect from Limo Anywhere at the 2015 International LCT Show?

As we prepare for our annual voyage to Las Vegas for the International LCT Show, we wanted to give our customers a preview of what to expect from Limo Anywhere ahead of what we believe will be our most exciting show ever!

Who will be attending?

Limo Anywhere will have nine staff members present, including the full management team and members of the software sales, merchant services sales, DriverAnywhere(r) Network, customer support, and product departments.

What do you have to show us?

We will be unveiling text-to-customer functionality, as well as demonstrations of the revamped and rebuilt online reservations and DriverAnywhere(r) driver app products (due out in April, and May respectively). And of course, we’ll have our mobile product manager on hand to discuss design, functionality and features of the upcoming passenger mobile app.

When and where can I find Limo Anywhere?

Limo Anywhere occupies Booth 606 at the show; we’ll be immediately visible upon entrance to the exhibit floor. Our booth will be divided into sales and support sections this year to help customers and prospects reach the correct team member faster and more efficiently.

Additionally, the Limo Anywhere Annual Customers’ Meeting will be held at 5PM on Tuesday, March 17, in Ballroom B at the Venetian & Palazzo Hotel; be sure to RSVP via the e-mail we sent all current and active customers to ensure your spot is reserved.

Lastly, Limo Anywhere is a sponsor of the First Timers’ Orientation on Monday, March 16 at 10AM in Ballroom C at the Venetian & Palazzo Hotel. We will be distributing informational materials in addition to a short verbal overview of Limo Anywhere at the end of the session. If it’s your first time at the show, be sure to stop by!


 

Announcing passenger mobile apps by Limo Anywhere

We have a confession to make: we’ve been working on a secret project.

And today, in a travel market where mobile is as important as ever, we are excited to announce that Limo Anywhere passenger mobile apps for iOS and Android are under development and scheduled for release in May of this year.

Built in partnership with global car service provider GroundLink and based on their industry-leading mobile technology, our passenger apps will be branded specifically to each individual operator, and will combine mobile booking capabilities with status updates, GPS, and account management features. As a fully integrated app solution, operators will be able to offer vehicle and ride tracking functionality on par with the largest brands in the industry when used in tandem with our DriverAnywhere® mobile driver app.

We hope you’re excited to take advantage of all of the opportunities that mobile offers, and we look forward to working with each of you to create an industry-leading mobile presence.

Click here to sign up for our mobile notifications list to receive updates on our passenger apps.

Click here to read our press release regarding passenger apps.


 

Distance-based pricing is here

Limo Anywhere is happy to announce that distance-based pricing has arrived in our software.

Powered by our integration with Bing Maps, distance-based pricing allows operators to forgo the traditional zones and fixed rates structure by mapping customer routes and applying predetermined rates per-mile or per-kilometer, making for a simpler, easier pricing experience.

Distance-based pricing will be a feature in the fourth generation of our online reservation system, due out in March 2015.

To read more about how to implement distance-based pricing for your business, see the following explanation from our Knowledge Base: http://limoanywhere.uservoice.com/knowledgebase/articles/475189.


 

Limo Anywhere announces PCI DSS compliance

Limo Anywhere is excited to announce that we have achieved Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance, certifying Limo Anywhere as one of the only technology providers in ground transportation with compliance verified by the payment card industry. The chief security standard governing credit card data, PCI DSS mandates compliance with 12 core requirements ranging from physical security protocol to the encryption of data with the platform, and Limo Anywhere will continuously monitor and report on our status going forward with audits performed by Qualified Security Assessor K3DES LLC.

“In light of rapid growth in fraudulent credit card activity and the recent breaches of several major corporations, ensuring credit card data is appropriately handled and protected is a vital, baseline service for any technology vendor to provide to its clients,” said President Mark Gentry. “Gaining PCI DSS compliance provides a layer of security and insurance to our customer base that is nearly unprecedented for technology providers in the ground transportation space, and additionally provides a significant advantage to any Limo Anywhere customer when pitching new corporate business. Combined with the recent launch of our secondary disaster recovery site, we are extending our market leadership when it comes to a focus on business continuity and data security, and we believe these investments deliver significant added value to our customer base.”

To learn more about PCI DSS compliance, please visit https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/.


 

The Limo Anywhere API and our duty-of-care obligations

In the ever-changing world of technology, data access and usage is arguably the topic of the year. Businesses are only scratching the surface of the value they can create by properly using data to benefit consumers, and the pace of progress forward is expected to be swift. Using data as a business tool often involves using the Application Programming Interface (API) of technology providers to “push” data into the system, “pull” data out of it, or often, both. This allows the data to be used by your business, or more commonly by a third party, to create an ancillary product or streamline an existing business process – for example, to push ride information into QuickBooks, or to pull reservation details from a mobile app into your reservation and dispatch system.

For Limo Anywhere and other technology providers, offering API access is a crucial piece of the value proposition. But this access does not come without obligations, and significant ones regarding legal and technical frameworks as well as data privacy and security.

As such, Limo Anywhere is announcing several changes to our API and our policies, which will come into effect gradually over the next 12 months.

1) All partners using the Limo Anywhere API, existing and future, will be immediately subject to our API License Agreement, posted here: http://limoanywhere.com/apitermsofservice. This agreement contains standard legal protections for both Limo Anywhere and our customers, ensuring API partners are working with Limo Anywhere and with our customers in a responsible manner.

2) Limo Anywhere is announcing a progressive upgrade of our API, with a new version to be introduced gradually throughout 2015. This version will have significantly enhanced functionality from the current version, providing access to additional data points and streamlining the process of working with Limo Anywhere.

3) Concurrent with the release of our upgraded API, we will ask all third parties to certify with Limo Anywhere, ensuring only properly screened partners have access to our API. We will be conducting a full migration to the new API in 2015, ensuring all partners integrating with us are certified and approved.

In the ground transportation industry, duty-of-care is an accepted topic. Corporate clients want to know what their service providers are doing to ensure employees are safe, including questions around proper insurance, licensing, driver background screening, fleet quality, and more. For years, duty-of-care has been a major part of the business, and no one questions its value. The path to standardized duty-of-care obligations around APIs is a long one, and we’re only at the beginning of the journey. But we believe this is a great first step, and we are happy to be a market leader in protecting our customers’ interests while still providing high-quality access to the data and functionality that our customers need to grow their businesses.