The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has plunged the world of business into a period of real uncertainty, and the tourism and hospitality industry has been hit harder than most. As quarantine restrictions continue on new arrivals to the UK and other countries continue to flatten the curve, the future of travel seems unclear. As part of our remote series of interviews for the Business Leaders series, we sat down with Robert Craig, Founder and Managing Director of Diamond Chauffeurs Ireland to talk about the future of tourism & travel. Check it out!
Opening up the interview, Robert takes us on a brief walk through his personal and professional background before going on to establish Diamond Chauffeurs Ireland – one of the country’s youngest corporate transport firms. Married with twin boys, he established Diamond Chauffeurs Ireland last year after carrying out similar work for a number of other companies. But how has the budding entrepreneur separated himself from former employers and rival transport companies?
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Back to School
Robert has gotten the edge over his rivals by returning to education as a mature student to complete a college course in tour guiding – an experience he relished after 30 years outside of the classroom. “The age groups taking the course were really diverse, and the course was just fantastic. We all got really into it to the extent that we weren’t competitive with each other, but actually encouraging each other,” he recalls. “Going back to college was a shock – but a really good shock.”
How has business been for Diamond Chauffeurs Ireland since Robert decided to form the country? The founder highlights that the journey so far has been extremely positive, receiving positive feedback from clients who regularly rebook his services. Some of the company’s earliest successes have been achieved through referrals and exchanging business cards – something which really highlights that traditional marketing will always have an important role to play.
Robert shares that over 60 percent of his company’s business currently comes from tourism, with the college course offering real opportunities to develop skills in the sector. “The course put us in the shoes of the tourist, and helped us learn about what tourists really want. It confirmed to me that the experience is everything – you can take tourists to whatever location you want, but you need to get them involved. That means talking to the locals, getting more benefit from the tour – even if that means visiting a coffee shop or walking down the street.”
A Personalised Tourism Experience
What services do Diamond Chauffeurs Ireland offer? The company offers a range of services around executive travel, including corporate travel, airport, transfers, private tours and more. Private tours have emerged as one of the most successful elements of the company, prompting Robert to set up five of his own tours. The Country Estate Gin & City Tour involves travelling to Mount Stewart, taking the ferry across Strangford Lough into Short Cross Gin, where visitors are treated to a private experience that places your experience at the top of its priorities. “You’re made to feel amazing, and it’s a really interesting tour. With the remaining time we return to Belfast to do the city tour there.”
According to the executive travel expert, going that extra mile for the customer and offering them a more personalised service can create positive and ongoing relationships, whilst creating some truly memorable experiences. “We try to offer all of our customers a benefit, and they appreciate that. It also lets people know there is more to Belfast to see and experience. One of my regular clients, he jumped in the front seat last time and we chatted the whole way home. That is a great bond, and he will regularly refer my business to friends,” he explains.
Corporate events form another key element of the business, with horse racing in Ireland providing continued opportunities for business. “It’s generally Down Royal, but we’ve been down to Dublin a couple of times too. There’s a great party vibe the whole way there, and it’s great fun. We’re there waiting to pick our customers up whenever they want – that’s our philosophy, we’re here to look after them. It’s about giving the client the top service they deserve, and ultimately we want word to get around about Diamond Chauffeurs Ireland to grow the business.”
According to Robert, Ireland north and south offers rich tourist locations. He highlights that whilst many from outside Ireland love the green fields and rural scenery, many are attracted to the country for its Game of Thrones filming locations – a major element of Ireland’s tourism offering. “If people are getting a coach, they merely drive past these locations. With Diamond Chauffeurs Ireland, we offer that personal, extra touch. We give them all the options that are there, telling them what to look out for. That’s the benefit of a private tour,” he adds.
Irish Tourism Post Covid-19
Whilst the story so far for Diamond Chauffeurs has been one of success, the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has had its effects. One of the many effects of the virus was the cancellation of sporting events across the island – preventing the domestic tourism industry from capitalising on the momentum of golf and Ireland’s growing prestige in the sport. “We didn’t get to benefit from golf this year, but this business will certainly be there when we go back. “What we have here are some of the best golf courses in the world, without a doubt. I’ve been trying to put together a golf course tour, and selecting the best from the best is actually quite difficult.”
So, what is the future for Irish tourism and Diamond Chauffeurs Ireland? According to the Managing Director, the vast majority of business for the company has temporarily halted. With ongoing social distancing restrictions, Robert is laying down plans for a golf course tour that could possibly accommodate this. “I’m contacting businesses I haven’t worked with before, just letting them know that I’m there. They get that bond and confidence to know they can phone me and I will look after them. Tourism is up in there air at the minute, and that could be the case until we have a vaccine.
“I don’t want to build an empire. I want to build a successful company – having a fleet of ten vehicles would be a massive success for Ireland. I like doing things right, being in control. However, once you set things up right, you can begin to let others help. I see our business growing. So, roll on the future – I see only positive things!”
**Those wishing to learn more about Diamond Chauffeurs Ireland and the services they offer can visit the official company website. Interested parties are also invited to reach out to Robert Craig directly via LinkedIn.**
Our remote interview with Robert Craig from Diamond Chauffeurs Ireland joins our award-winning Business Leader series, recently recognised with the Best Content Marketing Award for a Video Series at the inaugural Irish Content Marketing Awards. To pitch your business to the series or to discover how content marketing can transform your business, get in touch with our expert team today.
Benefits of Luxury Transport for Business:
1. Conveying Professionalism and Prestige:
- First Impressions Matter: Arriving at meetings or events in a sleek, impeccably maintained luxury vehicle makes a lasting positive impression. It communicates an image of success, refinement, and attention to detail, setting the tone for productive and mutually beneficial collaborations.
- Elevating Brand Perception: When clients or partners associate your company with luxury transportation, it subtly but effectively elevates your brand image. It conveys a sense of confidence, stability, and an unwavering commitment to excellence, fostering trust and respect.
- Standing Out from the Competition: In a competitive business landscape, luxury transport can be a strategic differentiator. It sets you apart from companies relying on standard transportation, showcasing your commitment to exceeding expectations and prioritizing both image and comfort.
2. Ensuring Privacy for Meetings and Calls:
- Discreet and Secure Space: Luxury vehicles offer an enclosed and soundproofed environment, ideal for confidential conversations and sensitive discussions. Executives can conduct important calls, strategize with colleagues, or finalize delicate deals without worry of being overheard.
- Mobile Office on Wheels: Many luxury vehicles are equipped with advanced technology like Wi-Fi connectivity, conference tables, and multimedia systems. This transforms the journey into a productive workspace, allowing executives to stay connected, conduct remote meetings, and complete tasks while on the move.
- Peace of Mind and Focus: Eliminating distractions and providing a private haven allows executives to fully concentrate on important matters, maximizing their productivity and ensuring clear, strategic decision-making.
3. Enabling Work and Productivity En Route:
- Time is Money: Luxury transport minimizes wasted travel time, often offering point-to-point convenience and bypassing crowded traffic routes. This allows executives to utilize their travel time effectively, catching up on emails, reviewing presentations, or even attending virtual meetings from the comfort of their vehicle.
- Stress-Free Commutes: Luxurious amenities like spacious interiors, comfortable seating, and entertainment systems transform travel into a relaxing experience. This reduces stress and fatigue, enhancing mental clarity and preparing executives for a productive day of business engagements.
- Staying Ahead of the Curve: For global executives with demanding schedules, maximizing travel time is crucial. Luxury transport services offer efficient scheduling and itinerary coordination, ensuring seamless transitions between appointments and minimizing unproductive downtime.
4. Reducing Stress for Busy Executives:
- Unwinding and Recharging: The demands of corporate life can be overwhelming. Luxury transport offers a haven of respite from the hustle and bustle. Time spent in a comfortable, well-appointed vehicle allows executives to relax, recharge, and arrive at their destination feeling refreshed and ready to tackle new challenges.
- Prioritizing Well-being: Investing in executive comfort demonstrates understanding and concern for employee well-being. This fosters loyalty, engagement, and overall job satisfaction, contributing to a positive and productive work environment.
- Creating a Positive Experience: The exceptional service and amenities provided by luxury transport services elevate the travel experience, boosting morale and creating a sense of appreciation among executives. This fosters a positive brand association and strengthens ties within the company.
Features of High-End Corporate Vehicles
When it comes to luxury corporate vehicles, it’s about more than just plush seats and a high price tag. These vehicles are meticulously crafted to provide a seamless blend of comfort, productivity, and technology, transforming travel into a first-class experience for busy executives. Let’s explore some key features that set them apart:
1. Spacious and Comfortable Cabins:
- Stretch Out and Relax: Forget cramped legroom and headspace. High-end corporate vehicles boast generous interior dimensions, allowing executives to stretch out, adjust seating postures, and unwind during their journey.
- Executive Seating: Say goodbye to stiff, uncomfortable seats. These vehicles feature meticulously designed, fully adjustable seats with massage functions, heating, and ventilation, prioritizing unparalleled comfort and minimizing fatigue.
- Privacy Partitions: Discreet yet elegant partitions offer the flexibility to separate the driver’s compartment from the rear passenger area, ensuring privacy for confidential conversations or focused work sessions.
2. Premium Materials and Finishes:
- Luxury Embodied: Step into a world of exquisite materials. From buttery-soft leather upholstery to handcrafted wood accents and polished metal trim, every detail exudes refinement and elegance.
- Personalized Ambiance: Adjustable ambient lighting and climate control systems allow executives to customize the atmosphere to their preferences, fostering a sense of comfort and control.
- State-of-the-Art Technology: Integrated displays, touchscreens, and intuitive controls seamlessly blend into the luxurious environment, providing effortless access to information and entertainment systems.
3. Seamless Connectivity:
- Stay Connected, Always: Onboard Wi-Fi hotspots and cellular connectivity keep executives seamlessly connected to their digital world. They can access emails, attend virtual meetings, and collaborate with colleagues without interruption.
- Bluetooth Integration: Effortlessly pair smartphones and tablets for hands-free calling, music streaming, and access to personalized entertainment libraries.
- Charging Options: Ample charging outlets, including wireless charging pads, ensure devices stay powered up throughout the journey.
4. Entertainment at Your Fingertips:
- Immersive Experiences: High-definition displays, surround-sound audio systems, and even built-in entertainment systems transform the cabin into a mobile movie theater or personal music oasis.
- Personalized Choices: Access to streaming services and customizable playlists cater to individual preferences, ensuring relaxation and enjoyment during the journey.
- Work and Play Balance: This isn’t just about leisure. Some vehicles offer touch-screen workspaces and conference tables, allowing for productive working sessions en route.
5. Enhanced Productivity:
- Mobile Office on Wheels: Fold-out desks, document compartments, and convenient storage options convert the cabin into a functional workspace.Executives can review documents, prepare presentations, or even conduct meetings comfortably on the go.
- Noise Cancellation: Advanced soundproofing minimizes external noise distractions, fostering an environment conducive to focused work and uninterrupted conversations.
- Personal Assistants at Your Service: Some vehicles offer access to virtual assistants or concierge services, providing assistance with scheduling, booking appointments, or making travel arrangements.
Enhanced Service Offerings for Luxury Corporate Transport
Beyond the gleaming vehicles and opulent interiors, true luxury corporate transport lies in the level of service. When every detail is meticulously tailored to the individual, travel transforms from a mundane necessity to a seamless and stress-free experience. Let’s dive deeper into the enhanced service offerings that set premium transport providers apart:
1. Exemplary Chauffeurs:
- Masters of Professionalism: Forget impersonal drivers. These chauffeurs are meticulously trained in the art of discreet yet attentive service. They are masters of navigation, anticipate client needs, and prioritize smooth, comfortable journeys.
- Confidentiality and Trust: Executives can entrust sensitive conversations and confidential documents to these professionals. Their discretion and unwavering focus on client well-being ensure a secure and trusted travel experience.
- Local Experts: Knowledge is power. Chauffeurs possess in-depth understanding of the city’s traffic patterns, shortcuts, and cultural nuances. They recommend hidden gems, suggest efficient routes, and navigate with unwavering confidence.
2. Unmatched Flexibility:
- Tailored Schedules: Every executive’s day is unique. These services cater to dynamic schedules, accommodating last-minute changes, spontaneous detours, and unscheduled stops with effortless adaptability.
- Route Planning Expertise: Beyond simply following directions, these professionals understand the nuances of time management and efficiency. They plan optimal routes, anticipate potential delays, and ensure executives arrive on time, every time.
- 24/7 Availability: The world of business never sleeps. These services understand that. Whether it’s an early morning airport run or a late-night return from a client dinner, they are available around the clock for seamless transportation whenever needed.
3. Seamless Door-to-Door Convenience:
- No More Hassle: Forget the stress of parking, navigating crowded terminals, or battling traffic. These services offer door-to-door pickup and drop-off, ensuring a smooth transition from office to vehicle and back.
- Airport Meet and Greet: Skip the long lines and confusing terminals. Chauffeurs meet clients upon arrival, handle luggage, and expedite security checks, transforming airport arrivals into a hassle-free experience.
- Personal Touches: From pre-stocking the vehicle with preferred beverages and snacks to adjusting climate control settings and even remembering individual music preferences, these services prioritize personalized comfort and attention to detail.
4. Going the Extra Mile:
- Luggage Assistance: No need to struggle with bags. Chauffeurs are there to assist with luggage, ensuring a smooth transition between vehicle and destination, whether it’s a bustling airport terminal or a high-rise office building.
- Concierge Services: Beyond transportation, these services can arrange reservations, recommend restaurants, or handle last-minute errands, providing an extra layer of convenience and ensuring a stress-free experience.
- Personalized Amenities: Newspapers, tablets, essential travel-sized toiletries, and even aromatherapy options – these services anticipate every need and offer thoughtful amenities to enhance comfort and well-being throughout the journey.
Case Study: Transforming a Business Trip into a Strategic Power Play
The Scenario: Imagine a high-stakes negotiation happening during a crucial business trip to Japan. Two CEOs, accustomed to boardroom dominance, are set to finalize a multi-million dollar deal with a major competitor. But the typical airport-hotel-meeting room routine feels underwhelming.
The Solution: A luxury transport provider steps in, proposing a tailored experience. Instead of the standard car service, they suggest a helicopter transfer directly from the airport to a serene mountaintop resort with breathtaking views. Upon arrival, a fleet of custom-designed SUVs awaits, ready to whisk the CEOs and their teams to a unique tea ceremony followed by a traditional multi-course meal in a private bamboo grove.
The Outcome: The serene and culturally immersive environment fostered genuine connection and mutual respect. The CEOs, away from the usual corporate pressure, engaged in open and relaxed discussions, ultimately reaching a mutually beneficial agreement that exceeded expectations. The luxurious journey, far from just a means of transportation, set the stage for a positive and successful outcome.
- Luxury transport can become a strategic tool, setting the tone for important business interactions.
- Providing unique and culturally immersive experiences creates memorable connections and fosters trust.
- Going beyond the usual travel routine shows clients their value and commitment to success.
Bonus Anecdote: During a company retreat, a luxury van equipped with a mobile conference room and entertainment system transformed the journey into a productive brainstorming session. Executives used the travel time to collaborate, generate ideas, and present strategies, maximizing their time and arriving at the destination ready to implement their innovative plans.
Q: Is luxury corporate transport really worth the investment?
A: The value of luxury transport depends on your specific needs and priorities. If projecting professionalism, ensuring executive comfort and productivity, or creating a positive experience for clients is important to your business, then luxury transport can be a valuable investment. Consider the potential benefits against your budget and objectives to make an informed decision.
Q: What type of luxury vehicle is right for my needs?
A: The ideal vehicle type depends on your travel purpose, group size, and desired level of privacy. Sedans provide elegance and efficiency, SUVs offer spacious comfort and versatility, vans and limousines are ideal for group travel or meetings on the move, and helicopters and jets offer unparalleled speed and exclusivity. Choose your option based on what factors matter most to you.
Q: How can I be sure about the safety and reliability of the provider?
A: Look for providers with impeccable safety records, certifications, and late-model vehicles in pristine condition. Read online reviews, seek client testimonials, and inquire about driver training and background checks. Choosing a reputable provider with a proven track record ensures a safe and reliable experience.
Q: What additional services can I expect from a luxury transport provider?
A: Services may include airport meet-and-greet, luggage assistance, personalized amenities, concierge services, route planning, and even on-board entertainment systems. Ask potential providers about their service offerings to find one that caters to your specific needs and preferences.
Q: How can I get the best possible rates for luxury transport?
A: Compare quotes from different providers, clearly outlining your travel needs and requirements. Negotiate rates if possible, especially for long-term contracts or repeat business. Consider the overall value proposition, including service quality and additional amenities, when evaluating pricing.
Luxury Corporate Transport: Conclusion
Investing in luxury corporate transport can elevate your brand image, prioritize the well-being and productivity of your executives, and create a positive and memorable experience for clients. By choosing the right provider, with impeccable vehicles, qualified drivers, and personalized service, you can turn every journey into a seamless and impactful extension of your business success.
Remember, navigating the world of luxury transport requires careful consideration and research. Utilize the information provided, ask the right questions, and prioritize safety, quality, and service excellence to ensure you select the perfect partner for your transportation needs. With an informed approach, you can elevate your business image, cultivate lasting client relationships, and embark on a journey of success, one luxurious ride at a time.