What 3 collapsed companies can teach corporate car service operators

In Chauffeured transportation by Mike Daly2 Comments

Networks transform industries, increasing business opportunity while improving customer experience.

Before the Internet, computers were basic logic machines limited to the contents of a hard drive. Connecting them to a vast digital network has made computers irreplaceable in our lives while creating a massive, still-booming internet industry.

Network-connected disruptive technologies have impacted virtually every industry since, offering organizations the chance to rise above and beyond what was once offered with traditional business models.

But not all companies have embraced the power of networks, and history has not been kind to those reluctant to disrupt a fading business model:

  • In 2000, Blockbuster passed up the opportunity to partner with Netflix. Executives failed to recognize the potential of connecting with a large network of online customers, effectively separating themselves from the future of video. Blockbuster went bankrupt in 2010, while Netflix is now the leader in the market.
  • Kodak engineer may have developed the first digital camera in 1975, but the company—whose bread and butter came from film—did not foresee the impact it would have in an online world, and missed the proverbial boat by not investing in the new technology. Instead of accounting for their customers’ desire to easily post and share photos with networks, Kodak failed strategically by stubbornly sticking with a film-based business model…and filed for bankruptcy in 2012.
  • Borders, the brick-and-mortar book chain that came late to the web and liquidated its stores in 2011, failed to recognize that readers wanted to be able to purchase books in electronic form and enjoy an enhanced shopping experience with network-based recommendations from fellow readers.

These were companies that were once strong, successful leaders in their areas of business. In many cases, they lost their markets almost overnight to upstarts that hadn’t existed just a few years earlier.

The up-and-comers couldn’t have done it all on their own. Their success depended, in part, on the complacency of the companies they replaced. Networking wasn’t a great secret; Blockbuster, Kodak, and Borders had to actively ignore market forces obvious to others. And they did.

Today, networks are disrupting the chauffeured transportation industry, and their impact can’t be ignored. Ride-hailing apps have reset consumer expectations for convenience, and executive car companies failing to meet those demands risk going the way of Blockbuster, Kodak, and Borders.

Delivering upscale service and comfort is no longer enough to win business all on their own. Black car operators must also match the booking ease and real-time responsiveness of more casual, app-based providers.

Networks put that within reach—at least for those operators willing to embrace their disruptive impact.

Chauffeured transportation providers can get in front of convenience-minded customers when you join a real-time, multi-fleet network. Online car reservation software can surface your company to riders who demand an app-based car hire and route monitoring experience, including clients booking through a GDS or TMC. Reservations that come through your network are seamlessly integrated with dispatch software for efficient fleet management and accounting—avoiding any “disruption” to back office operations.

Your biggest network impact? Joining forces with other corporate car service operators allows you to electronically farm-in rides from affiliates and increase business with the help of one-time “rivals.”

For chauffeured transportation providers, the lesson to take from network-resistant Blockbuster, Kodak, and Borders is a simple one: adapt or be surpassed.

Reach out to learn more about how joining a network of car service operators can help you avoid the same fate of these fallen corporate giants.

About the Author
Mike Daly

Mike Daly


As Vice President, Car Service & Travel at Deem, he is responsible for driving revenue both through the Travel and Car Service channels, via strategic partnerships with Travel Management Companies, Suppliers, Corporations, and Car Service Operators.

A 20-year travel industry & interactive commerce veteran, Michael Daly has long been considered one of travel’s leading experts, based upon his extensive strategic and tactical experience.

  • B2P Partners

    Nailed it. Nailed the network. It’s the human analog to the technology platform. Because we have created a world with reduced friction (i.e. we can communicate and connect around the planet in an instant vs. ‘just’ 500 years ago when no human had ever gone around the world), we not only have the ABILITY to create networks, Heather points out that we have the NECESSITY to join or create networks because it’s the new minimum competitive requirement.

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