The statistics are not wrong. The limousine industry is indeed a billion-dollar business. In the United States, there are over 4,500 limousine companies providing employment to some 44,000 people. Based on the forecast, the industry is set to grow bigger; aiming to reach about $6 billion in 2020.
With the huge potential for this industry, it is no wonder that there has been attempts to standardize it and to bring technological advancement and innovations into the rather conventional and traditional business.
In this article, I will take an attempt to analyze the most popular websites and online directories to provide an overview on why and how they failed.
This is a rather successful website even though the design is a throwback to the 90s. However, the usability is pretty good and every page sells; with the request form included in every page. It is hard to tell how many companies they actually deal with, since the pictures they use are the same for all cities and most are taken from this site.
This seems to be a good idea, as a company works as the liaison office between a client and a limousine company. However, the pricing scheme is really not in favor of the customers. Even in the comments section, limo companies urge clients to go directly to them and avoid Limos.com, so it seems like this is really not the best deal customers can get. Limosquick.com is an extension of limos.com.
I would say it is more of a directory, rather than a service that matches customers and limo companies. Yes, they do have a quotation request form on the website and even a few pictures of the vehicles, but it is lacking the usability and basic responsive web design elements. They charge limo companies per lead.
Another website that matches customers and limo companies. I think the fact that they do it for free for both sides, reflects on how much they spent on the creation of their website. The quotation form is not responsive and not intuitive. They tried to get away with the form and just use it as a directory, but then the number of limousine companies is rather limited.
This company, which operates only in New York and New Jersey, has a very limited form. Moreover, there is no messaging system between the customer and the limousine company. There is no automatic registration for the vendors and all the applications are manually reviewed.
This company is a content-heavy website. Even their request form takes some time to load. The form is rather complicated with lots of unessential information for a request form. These are information that are usually needed later in the booking process.
If all you need is a directory of limousine service providers, this will suffice. However, the number of limousine companies and the number of cities are limited.
This website has its own way of working. A client must select the city first before the list of limousine companies from which you can choose from is shown. If you need multiple quotes from different companies, you have to repeat the entire process for each company. This is not a very user friendly request form and website.
Some companies are offering an Uber-like limo software for limousine companies and independent chauffeurs, like Ridebits.com. However, the need for professional drivers are not the same as for quick rides. Luxury vehicles or specialized cars are usually booked in advance.
The big disadvantage that works against limo service providers is that the quotes from limo companies do not include a deadline. Effectively, there is no expiration dates on the quoted price. This is taken to mean that there is no actual offer made by the limousine company. This is risky because by the time the client decides to continue with the booking, the quotation might change without the prior notice and the client ends up back at square one.
At Limoscanner, there are several notifications that allow the limo company and the customer to communicate. First, the limousine companies receive notifications about the requests, based on the vehicles they have in their fleet and the locations where they operate. They can chose those settings in their dashboard. Then they reply with their bid, based on the vehicle they have that suits the request and sends the actual picture of the vehicle as well. This way, the client knows exactly what car he or she is going to get.
Every bid has an expiration date and time at Limoscanner. This is to protect vendors from holding the limousine indefinitely and for the client to make a decision before the time expires.This makes a bid a legitimate offer.
Limoscanner operates transparently, with no hidden fees. The vendor provides base rate, gratuity, fuel surcharges, taxes and any other fees, which are included or not included in the quote. The client knows the final price before booking the limo.