I have a confession. This morning I had a hard time getting motivated. So I thought I would try an interesting game based on a theory. My theory is that, with all things being equal (and, clearly, they never will be), an entrepreneurial web designer could jump into the luxury ground transportation and make a killing. The problem, as always, is money and time. With that being said, I can assure you that the luxury ground transportation industry has some of the most neglected and outdated websites of any type of business. This is not hyperbole... there is evidence to back it up. It looks like a neighborhood that flourished 15 years ago that has since been left vacated with a few blinking lights and the sound of static as the soundtrack.
Websites are not necessarily a profit maker but more a credibility measuring stick. As I once read somewhere, a business without a website is just a hobby. But what about a business with a neglected website? Not a great idea.
The good news is that there are some really great luxury ground transportation industry business websites out there if you look hard enough. Here are just a few I have found that I think are some of the best in the business, in order*:
* Disclaimer: There is absolutely no bias in this list. It has nothing to do with friendships or advertisers... in fact, I'm not sure I have any friends in the industry. Nonetheless, I digress.
1) Limousine Service of Westchester (www.lswlimo.com)
LSW won the 2013 Best Website Award and is still the standard in the industry, in my opinion. It's clean and easy-to-navigate, with hard-to-miss icons to get you where you want to go. The touch of green (I cannot deny my bias towards both green and orange) is a perfect compliment to the overall feel. Although I have stayed in Eastchester, NY, I have never been to Westchester. But the design and look of the website makes me think that if my travels were to take me there, I could count on LSW to deliver a smooth, clean ride. Mission accomplished.
2) Reston Limousine (www.restonlimo.com)
Here is a great example of a company that did its homework on branding. This website is beautiful and although it it chock full of content, nothing gets in the way and whatever you want is a click away. It sells the company so efficiently and gives the impression that they are a viable, trustworthy service. I love how they focus on Washington, DC and don't clunk up the branding with "worldwide" services, etc. Simply put, Reston Limousine appears as a juggernaut of top-of-the-line vehicles and a company that pays attention to detail. Nothing is overlooked in the design and it sells the company well.
3) Celebrity Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation (www.celebritylimo.com)
This one, to me, is super unique and corporate but not the corporate you expect. The choice of colors was a brilliant touch. The choice of colors do not seem to work well in theory, but the execution proves the contrary. The site is really easy to navigate and the design is clean and sleek, making a subtle yet direct correlation to what the end users want in their ride. I love the functionality and ease of navigation. Everything I need is a click away, and it really gives off an elegant, first-class impression.4) Grand Avenue Worldwide (www.grandavenueworldwide.com)
Again, my bias is showing. Grand Avenue Worldwide was one of my favorite logos a few
blog posts back, and the logo was the genesis for some of the best marketing in the luxury ground transportation industry. By creating a near perfect brand and building it all the way out, Grand Avenue took a huge risk by not playing it safe, and it pays off. The website is no exception. You can tell there was some real thought put into the choice of colors and imagery. The best way I can describe the functionality of the site is "inviting", especially with the custom icons that effective communicate options for the viewer without cluttering the website. A winner, all around.
TriStar Worldwide's website proves that a clean look with some bold color choices can really stand out as well. I love the palette of colors and clashing pastels that are sprinkled in just enough to give the site the look of sophistication without forcing it on the reader. From the logo on down (another of my favorites), the site is neatly packaged and cordially invites you to find out more without being too obtrusive. The scrolling news feed on the bottom is a nice touch as well.6) Leader Worldwide Chauffeured Services (www.leaderlimo.com)
I really wanted to put this one up higher because it's just an awesome site. Leader Worldwide Chauffeured Services went for a different approach and nailed it perfectly. The testimonials that jump out at you when you visit the site are an excellent touch. The rest of the site fits nicely around some powerful recommendations. I'm not normally a fan of having the president of the company being the "face" of the company, but the way it is presented on the home page works for me. It balances out the "we are too big for you" message some people might think when they see a Kansas City Royals coach's testimonial. .7) Boulevard Limousine (www.boulevardlimokc.com)
The great part about Boulevard Limousine's website is that everything you need is in the small window that you are greeted with upon visiting the homepage. I really love the logo and the design that they chose to build the website around. Their slogan, "travel confidently", is effectively on display with the choice of solid black and corporate red. With three main buttons upon arrival ("Our Vehicles", "Why Choose Us?", "Place a Reservation") and "Current Specials" and "Join Our Mailing List" all easily identified with an appealing touch of design, there is no confusion as to where you need to go. Like many sites, however, the blog needs some updating (but I will save that topic for a later date). Boulevard is not alone with dormant blog pages, trust me. But overall, this site is one of my favorites.8) Gem Limousine (www.gemlimo.com)
I have been in the industry a long time, and I have always know of a few companies that really worked hard at marketing their company effectively. Gem Limousine is one of them. Their website is just another example of some really powerful design and verbiage that drives home (no pun intended) the fact that Gem Limousine is BIG. They market themselves as a worldwide force and they do it perfectly. This site is just too good to ignore. It has app features, excellent social media connectivity and the corresponding pages, especially the About page, make for an easy read. A world-class site, indeed.9) Carey Worldwide (www.carey.com)
Carey is so good that they don't even have to brand themselves with anything but their name. When you can grab a url like www.carey.com, you are on the ball. Not only that, but Carey is marketed under the guise that you should know them already. They remind me of Rolex. And their site is no exception. Carey's website functions as a phenomenal salesperson, demonstrating visually and with just the right amount of perfectly chosen words why you should go with Carey. The photography is second-to-none, the verbiage near perfect and the blog is full of valuable content. Top-notch, for sure.10) Limousine Livery (www.limolivery.com)
Here are a few more worth mentioning as well:LimoCarOrlando (www.limocarorlando.com) santoslimousine.com)
This is one of the only sites that focuses more on leisure than corporate business, yet still manages to pull off a great look and feel. I stumbled on this site and something about it sticks out as a great example of a website for proms, casinos and the nightlife that still communicates top-of-the-line service.
Windy City Limousine (www.windycitylimos.com)
Well, there you have it—my favorite websites in the luxury ground transportation industry. As mentioned in the beginning of this post, there are more really poor websites in the luxury ground transportation industry than there are great, so there is work to be done. The above companies already have a leg up on their competition.
Like any list, it is up for discussion and debate. It was not an exact science—there may be some websites out there that I missed. What do you think of my choices? Do you think I missed any worth noting? I welcome your opinions!