The chauffeur industry is going through a unique time in history, with many operators taking the time to reinvent themselves, says former luxury coach and transportation magazine publisher Sara Eastwood-Richardson.
Former LCT Magazine publisher Sara Eastwood-Richardson’s inbox has been filling up lately with emails from chauffeur operators around the U.S. sharing how they are keeping busy during the pandemic.
“This is the first time in the history of transportation that we have had a suspension in times like this, so people are reinventing how they operate their business,” she said during a Blacklane Instagram Live session on Thursday.
“You are going to see a very, very different playing field when we are in full recovery and a much more sophisticated group of professionals.”
She said chauffeurs were trying to work out a “balancing act” between making guests feel safe and secure and not losing the personal touch that comes with hiring a professional chauffeur service.
“Our job, number one, is to make our clients feel good,” she said.
“We don’t want to over-emphasize these protocols and lose our natural human touch, people are really craving that.”
Many chauffeur operators have implemented chauffeur training in sanitation and upgraded their cleaning processes to help align with hotel and hospitality industry protocols, Eastwood-Richardson said, with the aim of creating a streamlined experience for their guests.
“The focus on the here and now is how can we ride along with the theme of the whole hotel…and travel industry, and have cleaning protocols that align with theirs,” she said.
Eastwood-Richardson said the chauffeur industry was at a great advantage compared to taxis and other ride-hailing companies in terms of sanitation, quality control, and creating a sense of calm for their guests.
“We own our vehicles…we employ our drivers and our dispatchers and our cleaning people, for that matter, (so) you know where to find us if anything goes wrong,” she said.
“We can sell assurance and mitigated risk much better.”
She said if she could offer one word of advice for chauffeur operators, it would be to focus on the positive changes happening in the chauffeur community.
“Focus on your business, focus on the mavericks, there are people out there who are really creative,” she said.
”Look for people that are making positive changes with their business, be part of your community, join your organizations.”