Business Travel: Planning and Safety First

In today’s business travel environment, companies need transportation options for their employees that are not only affordable and reliable, but also safe and professional. With that in mind, we’d like to share some of the benefits of hiring private car service through Limos.com the next time you travel for business.

Cost-Effective, Reliable and Efficientairport_335x242_buildings-1

  • Enjoy affordable, flat-rating pricing
  • Easily book via web, mobile or app
  • Save time and maximize your work day
    • Work while you ride
    • Avoid long taxi lines
    • Forget shuttling to and from parking

Safe and Professional Service Every Time You Travel

  • Avoid getting behind the wheel of a car after international or red-eye flights
  • Never walk alone through an empty parking lot at night
  • Eliminate the need to hand over cash or a credit card
  • Ride with pre-screened, licensed and regulated providers
  • Take advantage of the benefits of $5 million in supplemental insurance coverage
  • Enjoy world class customer service providing 24/7 access to help
Posted in Limos News

Success With a Remote Engineering Team

By Nate Crosno, Sr. Web Developer

“Tech Company” might not be the first thing that comes to mind when someone hears the name Limos.com, but the truth is we have a great in-house engineering team (If I do say so myself). With Yahoo all over the news after revoking all remote working privileges, we want to share our success. As the company has grown we’ve experimented with various techniques and feel we’ve settled into a steady rhythm of deploying quality features at a very quick pace with an almost entirely remote engineering team.

Our team currently consists of all remote developers while our QA, DBA, and management works primarily in our SF office. We’re a Rails shop and have had much more success finding qualified candidates by opening up the possibility of working remotely.

Your mileage may vary of course, but here are some aspects that have been key to our success:

Daily Video Stand-Ups

I’m going to start with the biggest one right off the bat. I’ve been working remotely for over a decade now and daily video stand-ups have seriously changed how I feel about my job. From my own perspective I feel like I have gone from the lone cowboy wrangling code on the prairie to part of a cohesive team. Every morning at 10:45 we all jump on a Google+ Hangout for a quick 15 minute status update.  We keep it short-and-sweet and then regroup afterward if any more in-depth discussions are needed.

Pair Programming

Yes, it can be done with remote teams! About a year ago we started getting much more into pair/team programming and it has definitely made a difference. Not only has the quality of our code increased, but so has team morale and productivity. We have also been blessed with team members that really gel well together.  As a natural outcome of our team dynamic, most of our developers spend the majority of the day on Skype with at least one other teammate. Each sub-team works a little differently. Some spend almost 100% of the time screen sharing and working on the same task together, and some of us go back-and-forth between working together or on separate tasks (though usually as part of the same project). Even when we are not directly screen sharing, being constantly connected over Skype has improved our code by allowing us to quickly bounce ideas off one another and allow for impromptu code reviews — the same way you would in an office environment.  I can also attest that it personally helps keep me focused. It took a little getting used to, but there are no longer awkward silences, and a long period of quiet concentration is no different than it would be in the office.

In addition to Skype and G+, we also use a lot of IRC amongst the team for quick group conversations that don’t quite warrant a phone call but need more back-and-forth than email.  This is actually a more recent addition to the team and has lessened our use of other tools (sorry, Yammer).

Regular 1:1s

We all have weekly video calls with our direct boss. We all get busy and it’s important to have that reliable time carved out — even if there is not much new work stuff to discuss.  The time can be just as important to catch up on personal stuff, which helps build the bonds that are sometimes missing when compared to folks who are always in the office with more opportunities for chit-chat.  (IRC has helped with this as well.)

Staying Organized

We stay pretty close to most of the Agile Development methodologies with daily stand-ups, backlog grooming, etc. Our current task management system of choice is Pivotal Tracker. Keeping the backlog of tasks well groomed and ready for us to attack has gone a long way towards increased productivity from our team. Good communication between Engineering and the business side has been critical. As Engineers, we love being involved early in the idea stages of projects and having input, but we also really want the ideas to be fully baked by the time we actually start working on them.  This of course is nothing unique to remote employees and is key to the success of any team.  However, communication between in-office business folks and the remote Engineering team takes practice, which brings me to my final point . . .

A big, dedicated video conference system in the office.

The room we have reserved every day for our Stand-Ups has a big screen TV hooked up to a little net-top PC with a web-cam.  The first person in the room fires up G+ and invites the rest of the team.  This makes it so much easier for everyone in the office to participate and feel the remote people are there with them.  We use the same room as much as we can whenever there are meetings with people in the office.  I can’t stress this enough: video, video, video. We are visual beings and it really tricks our minds into thinking the person is really there and you’ve had a “real” interaction with them instead of just a phone call. Seeing facial expressions, hand gestures and the like is huge.

To sum it up, the key has been to keep our remote employees from feeling remote. The latest crop of VOIP with video, screen sharing tools, and nice high bandwidth connections make all of that so much easier when paired with a few simple practices. It’s a world of difference from when I started doing this 10+ years ago.

When you are disconnected from your team, you drift off and start doing your own thing (ala Yahoo, from what I’ve heard).  None of us are micro-managed but we are all constantly connected and have a real sense of a team community.  We want to see the team succeed.

Posted in Limos News

Join Limos.com, Sabre & Tnooz for a Free Webinar [UPDATED]

Thanks to Tnooz, Sabre and all those who joined us this morning for the “App Explosion” webinar. For those of you who were unable to join us, you can watch the full video of webinar here:

________________________

It’s no secret that smartphone apps are connecting travelers in new and rewarding ways. But it may not be as apparent that B2B apps are quickly reshaping the technology and service behind travel.

Join Limos.com and the Sabre Travel Network, on tomorrow from 11am – 12pm EST for a free webinar hosted by Tnooz, about the growing market for B2B apps and the technology behind the Sabre Red App Centre.

We’ll talk first-hand about how Limos.com, winner of the 2012 Sabre Red Appy Awards, is tapping new markets worldwide with an innovative new travel app for agents.

Space is limited, so reserve your seat at this webinar today.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted in Limos News

Best Little Black Friday Giveaway

Let’s face it, Black Friday can be a bit frustrating. There are deals everywhere you look, but are they really deals, can you find better deals somewhere else, do really want to wait in line with a bunch of strangers at midnight and do you even need another 32″ TV?

You Know You Want One

Limos.com is keeping it simple this Black Friday – no gimmicks, no confusing deals. Just some free gear.

Simply include @Limos in a tweet using #BlackFriday with a picture of your Black Friday ride (black car, bike, bus, pogo stick) for a chance to win a sweet Limos.com t-shirt (seen in this picture). That’s it!

And if you find yourself in need of a ride to transport that new 32″ TV home on Black Friday, give Limos.com a shot. It might turn out to be your best deal of the day.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted in Contests, Cool Rides, Deals, Fun Stuff, holidays, iPhone, Limos News | Tagged , , , , ,

Important Information Regarding Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast on Monday night to devastating effect. Many residents in the area are still without power and water and are just starting to pick up the pieces. This includes dozens of our valued operating partners. We currently have an estimated 20 percent of our regular private car supply available in the region.

As many residents return to work next week with limited access to public transportation, the demand for our private cars is greatly increasing.

Limos.com is working with our partners in the region to free up more cars, but this effort will take some time.

In the meantime, please be advised of the following:

  • If you currently have a ride scheduled between now and Wednesday, November 7th, please know our customer service team is doing everything in its power to fulfill the ride. If you have any questions or concerns about an upcoming ride, please call (toll-free): (866) 546-6726Due to the high volume of calls, you may experience longer wait times than usual. Your patience is appreciated.
  • Due to the strain this shortage has put on drivers, as well as a gas deficiency in the area, you may notice an increase in the cost of rides. As our team is able to pull more vehicles into the system, these prices should begin to decrease.
  • Although private car vehicles are currently exempt from HOV restrictions, rides are taking at least twice as long. Please plan accordingly and give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination.

Thank you for patience as we work through this situation. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Posted in Limos News

Ride Like an All-Star, Duh!

Guest Blog Post: Keith Lumpp & Astro Araujo, Limos.com

There are plenty of things to love about October, including harvest time, Halloween and most places are finally cooling off from summer. However, what excites us most here at Limos.com is the gluttony of sporting events we have to mindlessly entertain us.

Keith & Astro, Limos.com Resident Sports Experts

From the Major League Baseball (MLB) and Major League Soccer (MLS) playoffs, to the National Football League (NFL) and National Basketball Association (NBA) jumping into full swing, there aren’t many better months for sports than October.

With all of the different sporting events in October and throughout the year, we at Limos.com encourage you to consider taking a black car to your favorite team’s next game. Here are some benefits to riding in style:

  1. Relax – Taking a black car to a sporting event is the least stressful way to get there. And Limo.com makes is easy to book an affordable and trusted ride – both online and from your smartphone. By riding in a black car, you’re letting the driver worry about traffic and parking. You’re also avoiding the large, and sometimes hostile crowds associated with public transportation. So relax and arrive in style.
  2. Ride Like an All-Star – You might not be playing in the game or sitting court side with Jack Nicholson or Spike Lee, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get there in your very own “private luxury box”. You’ll feel like one of your favorite athletes pulling up to the venue without breaking the bank to get there. Go ahead, player, roll down the window and sign some autographs!
  3. Make it a Party – A game is the perfect excuse to gather a group of friends and have some fun. Start the pre-game celebration the moment you get into the ride. Have a few beverages during the game, and be assured that you have a designated driver waiting for you in front of the venue once the game is over.

Whether you’re a Limos.com regular or a newbie looking to book your first ride with us, October is the perfect time to join the #RideRevolution.

P.S. GO SF GIANTS!

Posted in Cool Rides, Deals, Fun Stuff, iPhone, Special Occasions | Tagged , , , , ,

Tips for How to “Ride It Right”

Guest Blog Post: Jessica Cress & Tres Steffler

The night has finally come. You’ve planned every last detail to ensure this special night goes without error. Your guests have RSVP’d, you picked the right outfit, you reserved the limo, and you’re ready to enjoy the evening. The guests begin to arrive, pictures are being taken and smiles are big. The limo arrives and guests begin to pile in. And that’s when you notice…

Ground transportation tips & deals

Your party of 14 doesn’t fit nearly as comfortably as you’d hoped in the 14 passenger limousine you reserved. Well, you may be cramped, but it’s nothing a few cold beverages won’t fix. NO ICE?!? You rented a limo and there is no ice? Now this has completely turned your night around. Just when you thought your night couldn’t get any worse, your driver rolls down the partition and asks you for directions for the itinerary you’ve handed him. This night is going downhill fast and you wonder to yourself: what could I have done differently?

Here are a few tips from the pros at Limos.com for getting the most out of your limo experience…

1. Book the appropriate vehicle for your occasion:

Your limo operator will prepare your vehicle and craft your experience differently for a wedding than for a bachelorette party. These are entirely different experiences and have different demands of your limo service provider, so it’s very important to help him or her make your event memorable by reserving the appropriate vehicle type.

2. Be aware of the size of your party when reserving your vehicle:

Be sure to confirm with your operator or your Limos.com Service Representative that the vehicle is the most appropriate for your passengers and your expectations. Just because your limo is legally permitted to fit 10 passengers doesn’t mean that it should! 10 teenagers may fit perfectly for their Prom, but 10 6-foot adults may not fit as comfortably in the same vehicle.

3. Ask Questions:

You may be surprised what your operator is willing and able to provide to make your experience memorable – but you need to ASK! Ice, balloons, flowers, red carpet – all these things and more may be very well within your reach. Your limo service provider is willing to meet or exceed your expectations, but needs your instruction to do so. Furthermore, do everyone a favor and email your operator an outline of your itinerary. No one wants to be stuck giving directions, and it may be unfair to assume that your driver knows the location of every new restaurant in town.

4. Look at Star Class:

Be sure to look at a company’s star class and read its rider reviews. Operators are given service rankings ranging from 3 to 5 stars, and will often be priced commensurate with their service quality guarantees. If you expect a brand new vehicle, you will likely need to pay for a 5 star operator. If your expectations aren’t as demanding, you may feel more comfortable saving money on a 3 or 4 star limo company. Also, do the community a favor and leave your own reviews of your experiences. Good, bad, or indifferent – your reviews will also help guide others’ purchasing decisions.

Follow these tips next time and you will RIDE IT RIGHT!

Posted in Limos News

September is Back to Business Travel Month – Save 15% Off All Airport Rides

It’s never easy exchanging flip-flops for loafers, but with summer ending, it’s time to get back on the road for business. To help ease your transition, between now and Friday, October 12th, we’re giving you 15% off all rides to-and-from the airport.

Back to Business Travel – 15% Off Airport Rides

Additionally, we’ll be awarding one lucky road warrior with a year’s worth of FREE airport car and limo services
(see official rules for prize details).

To be automatically entered in the drawing, visit our “Back to Business Travel” promotional page and simply book a ride. You’ll receive a 15% rebate on your credit card once the ride is completed.

To enter without purchasing, see the official rules here.

Posted in Contests, Deals, For Business, Limos News | Tagged , ,

Remembering Tom Mazza

Tom Mazza

Tom Mazza, an inspirational leader associated with the U.S. limousine industry, passed away this month from complications from ALS. He was 53.

Tom was deeply connected to Limos.com, and will be greatly missed. Our team took a few moments to share some thoughts and memories of Tom.

By Doug Anderson,
Above all, Tom’s heart and care for the industry and for the people in the industry always shined through. He touched so many of us in so many different ways that his positive contributions become almost immeasurable. Limos.com would not be who it is today without his help.

Tom consulted and educated our founding team (including myself, T.J. Clark, Todd Belfer and Jay Poplowski) and was instrumental in helping make our first key hires (Carlos Matos and Eric Schnieder). Last but not least, Tom introduced us to many of our best affiliates, even when he was starting a competing service (Limocart).

Tom’s legacy will live on forever in the limo world. To paraphrase the late Steve Jobs, Tom Mazza made a dent in our universe.

By Carlos Matos,
I can’t remember Tom Mazza without remembering all the contributions he made to countless members of the ground transportation industry, including myself.

Tom was a true friend, great leader and an individual fully dedicated to the growth of our industry. Tom was so energetic and passionate about the industry, he could walk into a room full of chauffeurs and keep them all on the edge of their seats for over an hour. He was so well liked that he was immediately followed by dozens of people whenever he entered the room.

Tom, you left us too early, but rest assured your legacy will live among us forever.

Posted in Limos News

Hey, You! Get Out & Do Some Wine Tasting

Guest Blog Post
Justin Falco, Certified Sommelier

Justin Falco, Certified Sommelier

Greetings cork-poppers!

August is a fantastic time to head into wine country no matter what region you’re closest to!  The rapidly growing grapes are on their way to peak ripeness, filling with sugar, acid, minerals and water that will soon be harvested and turned into glorious wine.  The vineyards are most lush during this time of year. So don’t miss out on booking a summer wine country tour today.

This month we’re excited to highlight four distinct wine growing regions and their AVA’s (American Viticulture Areas), which you’ll love to tour in August:

Napa Valley ~ Calistoga, St. Helena, Oakville/Rutherford, Yountville, Napa

In Napa Valley you will find many grape varietals being grown and used in wine making. Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon continue to be highly popular varietals here, but don’t limit your palate in this extraordinary wine region. The number of beautiful wineries and breathtaking views will seem endless!

Rocky Mountains ~ Colorado

Two AVA’s exist here, Grand Valley in Mesa County (near the city of Grand Junction) and West Elks in Delta County (near the quaint town of Paonia). The most popular varietals in this scenic region are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, Riesling, Viogner and Chardonnay. Here you will find 100+ welcoming wineries to choose from.

Great Lakes ~ 8 US States: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and the province of Ontario in Canada

There is an amazing amount of winemaking history in this region, and today it’s gaining more and more attention. This area is the home of America’s oldest wine industry dating back to the 1600s. Very interesting native grapes can be found including Catawba, Delaware, Norton and Muscadine. More popular varietals include Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Syrah. Ontario has a history of German immigrants bringing the art of making ice wine to Canada. The ideal growing conditions here offer visitors delicious ice wines to taste. Ice wine is made from grapes left on the vines to freeze in the winter.

Upstate New York Finger Lakes Wine Trails

In this region you will find 4 Wine Trails boasting many wineries in each. Canandaigua Wine Trail, Cayuga Lake Wine Trail, Seneca Lake Wine Trail, and Keuka Wine Trail. In the Canandaigua Wine Trail, you’ll find the New York Wine and Culinary Center that has gained much popularity, offering visitors the chance to taste wines from many Finger Lakes wineries in one place.

The best wine tasting tips I’ve offered friends and family for years are pretty basic.

  • Don’t overdo it. Only plan to visit 3-5 wineries per day. Take your time, enjoy the wine.
  • If your group has a small range of wines they like, familiarize yourself with which wines are made at the wineries you choose. With that said, the adventure of trying new varietals is a lot of fun.
  • Wine regions have a combination of small production, family run wineries along with the larger producers. Some are by “appointment only” and some require reservations for groups. It’s best to plan ahead.
  • “Tula, eat something!” Don’t spend your day wine tasting with no food and water. There are top-notch restaurants to explore in wine country and many wineries offer food themselves.
  • Don’t be afraid to spit. It may seem uncivilized but this is a very acceptable practice when tasting. You get to enjoy the wine without the side effects of alcohol. Just ask for a spit bucket.
  • Consider hiring chauffeured transportation like a town car or sedan service, a stretch limo, or a party bus for larger groups – so you and your friends can have a great time without worrying about directions and a designated driver. Limo and private car service prices can be surprisingly affordable. Ground transportation companies often offer special wine tour deals, so finding an affordable ride to a winery is easy.

I wish you wonderful winery adventures and discoveries this August. Gather your friends, family and coworkers, and plan the most comfortable, luxurious and safe way I know how to explore wine country, with us at www.Limos.com.

Cheers!

Posted in Contests, Deals, Fun Stuff, Limos News, Wine Tours | Tagged , , , , , ,