WINNING CLIENTS, GROWING BUSINESSBY KEN TUCKER
Their high-end clientele are the artists and agents who drive the global touring business. So how do leading travel, transportation and production companies live up to the expectation of their customers, and how do they win new business? Billboard put that question to a select number of leaders in these sectors.
Justin Weaver, account executive
How we're winning customers: "In a business where 'deep pockets' can buy almost any product or technology in our industry, you need to look beyond the equipment at what's really important to maintaining a successful touring business: exceptional service and a knowledgeable, educated staff willing to do whatever it takes to satisfy a client's needs. Clair has always been a pioneer in the development of high-quality, industry-standard touring solutions. This, along with our lengthy crew-training programs and full-service office staff, has allowed us to position ourselves as the premier live-sound company offering global continuity to the touring production industry. By offering these value-added incentives, we're able to help our clients save time and achieve better results day in and day out."
Hemphill Brothers Coach
Trent Hemphill, president/CEO
How we're winning customers: "All of our buses' interiors are handmade and custom-designed. We create our buses with top-of-the-line materials such as genuine leather, hardwood flooring, granite, marble and onyx. The combinations of these items produce a gorgeous bus interior. We also go the extra mile with what you don't see to make the bus more elaborate. Hemphill adds an extra roof air conditioner to take the standard four to five for added comfort. We do all the wiring, plumbing and electric in-house in order to over-exceed the expectations and needs. We upgrade the sound system, the television and additional video equipment to install the top-of-the-line electronics. A few of our favorite upgrades are heated marble bathroom floors, steam showers, Apple TVs, Wi-Fi, air-pocket doors, iPads with complete control of the bus' A/V systems, lighting and power blinds, USB ports, HDTVs, bay entertainment and awnings. Every little feature is carefully selected to make the bus as elaborate and comfortable as possible when combined for a finished product."
J.B. Dolphin, president
How we're winning customers: "Introduced to the market last year, we have redesigned our crowd-control barrier to transport more efficiently--20% more barrier now fits in the same truck space. We also developed a new product called the Gatekeeper, which is a computerized turnstile system that maintains capacity within a given area and also controls access as a ticket, RFID [radio frequency identification] and bar code scanner."
Doug Rountree, president
How we're winning customers: "We are building new coaches and including our customers in the design process to ensure we provide what they want on the road. Some customers are traveling with family members and newborns, so we install custom baby cribs and 'pack-n-play' areas. Others are looking to record music on the road, so we convert the rear lounge to a studio."
PRG Nocturne Productions
Founded: 1982 (PRG); Nocturne acquired in 2011
Bob Brigham, president
How we're winning customers: "With PRG acquiring us in 2011, we can now offer all of our pre-existing and new clients global support as well as saving them incredible amounts of money in international shipping," PRG Nocturne sales executive/touring staff coordinator Todd LePere says. "Every year we are working on innovating new proprietary LED [stage lighting] products that will allow us to compete in all markets worldwide."
Hillary Nosbisch, marketing manager/Âcustomer relations manager
How we're winning customers: "Rock-It Cargo has built strong relationships with a large network of agents worldwide, which enables us to provide specialty freight forwarding to some of the most difficult locations for time-sensitive and fragile freight of live events. We also offer value-added services with our logistics expertise to allow the customer peace of mind when transporting with us, such as jet charters for the artists and management, in-house ATA carnets [international customs documents] and customs brokerage, along with insurance policies to protect freight."
John Aikin, executive VP
How we're winning customers: "We don't believe that it's so much about the newest gadget as much as it's about consistent, reliable service. That being said, we are constantly looking for ways to improve our customers' experiences on our buses."
SkyNet Aviation Group
Adam K. Hasiak, global private aviation Âdirector
How we're winning customers: "We take a customized approach to our private aviation offerings. Each client has different requirements for their private aviation needs, and we construct private charter programs that meet each client's individualized needs, whether it is on-demand charters, jet cards, leasing or an outright purchase of an aircraft. Having said that, we have recently opened up an office in Beverly Hills in order to gain continued growth within the entertainment industry."
Dave Davis, CEO
How we're winning customers: "TourJet is a boutique company that offers one-on-one service to discerning clientele. TourJet offers 24/7 worldwide service, sourcing from WYVERN- and ARGUS-safety approved aircraft and crews. [WYVERN and ARGUS are aviation safety consultants.] TourJet's founders are experienced leaders with backgrounds in worldwide logistics, tour management and motion picture industry production."