The Backup Plan January 2015

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The Wedding Checklist

Posted On: January 22, 2015

The Wedding Check List


 

Planning a wedding can be exciting; it can also be overwhelming and stressful.   When the newly engaged hit the 12-month mark panic tends to set in.  Did I book enough rooms at the hotel?  Is the shuttle I got big enough?  Did I give enough options for dinner?  Did I include his favorite song on the playlist?  And on and on it can go. It’s important to remember that things have a way of working out, and that no matter how much planning and time you invest into the process usually something doesn’t go according to plan.  So what’s the best way to make sure you crossed and dotted as many I’s and T’s as possible without going crazy?

 

Make sure everything that needs to be booked is.  The music, the hall, the food, the ceremony, the dress, the tuxedoes, the flowers, the transportation, and the invitations, those are the necessities.

 

Then focus on the extras, do I need to reserve a hotel for my out of town guests?  Do I want to set up a registry?  Am I going to send out thank you cards?  Does the size and scope of my event require a planner?  Things like a photo booth or cigar rolling station fall into this category.

 

Then it is time to concentrate on the fine details.  The playlist for the DJ, extra rides or transportation for guests or extended family, the final touches on the invitations and the thank you cards.  The little things that sometimes make a good day great.

 

Finally you need to sit back and relax.  Most people miss something and that’s normal, remember the amount of effort and money that goes into your day and make sure you enjoy it.  In the end everything will work out.

 

All Star Limousine is a Long Island, New York based company with an extensive global reach; we provide expert Wedding, Special Event and Executive Travel services throughout the Tri-State area and the world. We have over 30 years of experience in the travel industry; our attention to detail, 2014 top-of-the-line vehicles and professional trained Chauffeurs set us apart from the rest!

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How An Executive Car Service Works

Posted On: January 21, 2015

How An Executive Car Service Works

 


 

We thought it was time to sum up for our clients the process involved from the time All Star Limousine receives a request for service until the time of pick up.  From a consumers perspective it may seem like a very straightforward and simple process, and for some companies it may be, but for All Star it is a far more involved.  At All Star Limousine we guarantee our service.  To do this with the volume of work that we do we need to take very specific and exacting steps involving checks and balances, confirmations and back up plans.

 

So a customer calls or sends an email and the request for transportation is entered.  The reservationist reads back every detail of the reservation once the information has been entered this is the first confirmation.  All of the calls and emails sent out and received by All Star Limousine are recorded and these recordings are checked daily, this is quality control.  Immediately after the ride is entered into the computer a confirmation email is sent out to the customer again going over all the details of the transfer, this is the second confirmation.  At the end of each day all rides booked for that day are checked by another reservationist (each ride is checked by someone other then the individual who booked it), this is the third confirmation.

 

The rides are then sent to dispatch where they assign vehicles and drivers.  Dispatch goes over each reservation, in detail, checking the information and double-checking everything done by reservations.  The rides or jobs are then electronically transferred to a driver via his iPad and that driver then checks the ride and the vehicle assigned double checking dispatch.  24-48 hours prior to the transfer reservations calls and emails the client again confirming the ride, these are confirmations four and five.

 

The driver then comes to the showroom to pick up the vehicle and again checks each vehicle along with the mechanics and detailer.  They check in with dispatch and confirm all the details of the job, filling out paper work both in dispatch and the garage attesting to a visual inspection of the vehicle.  Dispatch then marks the driver in route.   Each vehicle has real time GPS and drive cams and when the vehicle is about 15 minutes from the point of pick up the customer is notified, either via phone call, text message or email (it can also be a combination of these depending on what is specified in the account).  The driver then arrives and marks himself on location and dispatch is notified.  The driver will also reach out to the client if they do not make contact immediately.  Then the driver is marked in route with passenger and ultimately when the transfer is complete he marks the ride as finished.

 

This is a snapshot of All Star’s executive car service.  We hope that this gives you an idea of the level of security involved in one of our transfers and shows you a bit about how our checks and balances systems work. So the next time you book a ride with All Star Limousine you can rest assured then you are in good hands.

 

All Star Limousine is a Long Island, New York based company with an extensive global reach; we provide expert Wedding, Special Event and Executive Travel services throughout the Tri-State area and the world. We have over 30 years of experience in the travel industry; our attention to detail, 2014 top-of-the-line vehicles and professional trained Chauffeurs set us apart from the rest!

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How To De-Stress Your Life

Posted On: January 20, 2015

How To De-Stress Your Life

 


Stress, we all know it we all have it, the question everyone has is how best to handle it?  Stress is an unavoidable part of everyone’s day no matter what.  Weather it be in the work place, at home or during the daily commute, it is inescapable, or isn’t it?  The issues that cause stress will most likely not disappear overnight, although they can be mitigated and largely avoided if enough effort is put forth.  What is directly within everyone’s control is their perspective and their reaction to stressors.

 

Life is filled with challenges, not everything comes easy, and in truth most things that are worth anything at all are hard to attain.  The first step to de-stressing your life is adjusting your perception.  If you are constantly facing problems and everything seems to be a hassle then you need to view these problems differently.  Stop thinking of a difficult work situation as a problem and instead view it as a challenge.  This challenge will be something that, while difficult to solve or overcome, will not fill you with anxiety and negative energy while dealing with it, and instead when the issue finally is resolved you will feel a sense of achievement or accomplishment.  Accept the situation for what it is and then combat it to the best of your ability, there are moments in life that are unavoidable and some of these moments are not good ones, how you approach them and deal with them will be what determines your level of stress and overall satisfaction with life.

 

What can also be done is to attempt to properly navigate through life and avoid some of the more obvious speed bumps.  This is not to say take the easy way out, it is more a suggestion to be smart about the choices we make.   Initially it is vital to identify what is really important to you, is spending time with your children paramount, is making sure you have those moments to yourself to relax and read a book what is most important, what about security and stability?  These will be different for everyone because everyone is of course different, but once you sit down and have a deep and honest look at your values and goals you will be better equipped to approach your daily life in a more stress free manor.  Do you really need that “friend” in your life who is constantly guilting you into spending long nights at the bar, does your girlfriend put unrealistic expectations on you or does she always act like what you do isn’t good enough?  Is that nice expensive car you drive really worth all the debt?  Is that 60-hour a week job really worth it?  For some the answers to these questions are yes of course, for others it may not be so simple.  The important thing is to really take a hard look at your life and your daily routine and identify what really matters

 

Ultimately it comes down to two things, self-awareness and perspective.  If you understand yourself and your needs then you will not be overly concerned with the things that don’t really matter, in other words “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”  The second part of this is to approach life with the right perspective, things will not always be perfect and life is filled with challenges but that is life.  Don’t agonize over every little thing and constantly torment yourself with tiny imperfections.  Enjoy what you have and attempt to approach life’s curveballs with a positive and optimistic attitude, the results, I promise, will shock you.

 

All Star Limousine is a Long Island, New York based company with an extensive global reach; we provide expert Wedding, Special Event and Executive Travel services throughout the Tri-State area and the world. We have over 30 years of experience in the travel industry; our attention to detail, 2014 top-of-the-line vehicles and professional trained Chauffeurs set us apart from the rest!

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Gratuity (When, Who And How Much To Tip)

Posted On: January 15, 2015

Gratuity (When, Who and How Much to Tip)


 

The term gratuity and the act of tipping has been around for at least 500 years, and some experts speculate that the custom has been in effect since the medieval era.   The word itself either stems from the Latin gratuitas, or "freely given", or the French gratuite, or "free gift".  In many countries especially in the United States, tipping is expected in most service industries; in other countries, like Japan it is an insult to offer a tip.  In the US sometimes the expected gratuity isn’t exactly clear, nor is the expected amount.  “Do I tip the guy who just pumped my gas? What should I give him?”  ”How much is a good tip for the pizza delivery guy?”  “20% of this bill is like $400, is that really what I have to give?”   If you or someone you know has ever asked these questions read on.

 

First of all it is important to understand that the basic premise of a tip or gratuity is to reward a job well done, or to express the appreciation of a good service provided.  If you are sincerely dissatisfied with the services performed, do not tip.  Some restaurants build a gratuity into there pricing, if you are very dissatisfied with the service or the food talk to the manager about the included gratuities (in this situation I would not demand the money back, but I would at least voice my dissatisfaction).  For the most part however many service providers expect a tip and many, such as waitresses and bartenders, make their living off of their gratuities.  It is poor etiquette not to tip, and it is horrible to fabricate some reason to be dissatisfied with the service just so that you can get out of an expected gratuity.

 

In general here are the individuals who should be tipped unless specified otherwise by the company they are employed by (as in the case of a restaurant already including a %20 gratuity in the bill).  Waiters and waitresses, bartenders, bellhops, drivers and chauffeurs, concierge, housekeeping or maid service, delivery people (especially for food), tour guides, hair stylists, masseuses and movers.   When tipping a percentage %10 indicates dissatisfaction with the service, %15-%20 indicates the service was good, and above %20 signifies outstanding service.  Certain professions such as a valet or doorman a tip of $3-$5 is customary although it may vary depending on the cost of your accommodations.

 

Then we have a bit of a grey area, these are professions or services where some people tip and others do not, resources remain very much divided on the etiquette involved in tipping these individuals.  For repairmen or contractors, such as plumbers or electricians, tipping is generally not expected, as the hourly wage they make, especially when in a union, is relatively high.  However is these individuals go above and beyond and provide services not specified at the time of hire it is not unheard of to offer a tip (if ever in serious doubt you can ask them).   Sanitation, workers, mailmen and people like the paperboy or milkmen often receive tips and gifts around the holidays but again some people do, some people do not.   Finally when your car is being serviced, or the gas attendant pumps your gas and washes your windshield, these ladies and gentlemen sometimes receive a small gratuity.  This varies significantly from state to state and company-to-company but tipping in the range of $1-$5 is not unusual; again it is ok to ask, especially if you frequent the establishment often.

 

Ultimately a gratuity is up to you but for some services it is expected and it is considered poor etiquette not to tip.  In the United States tipping is very much expected for many service providers and we hope our little guide helps you the next time a gratuity is in question.  When in doubt it is OK to ask.  No matter what though it is always important to thank those that service you and to show your appreciation by being polite and grateful.

 

All Star Limousine is a Long Island, New York based company with an extensive global reach; we provide expert Wedding, Special Event and Executive Travel services throughout the Tri-State area and the world. We have over 30 years of experience in the travel industry; our attention to detail, 2014 top-of-the-line vehicles and professional trained Chauffeurs set us apart from the rest!

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Build Your Team For 2015

Posted On: January 14, 2015

Build Your Team For 2015


 

For any effective manager things like morale, strategy, production and culture are always top of mind.   Going into the New Year it is important to start things off right, and to hit the ground running.  Any good leader knows that this begins and ends with those he leads, or the team.  After all, the team is your hands and legs, they are your eyes and ears, they are the facilitators, the movers and the shakers, nothing happens without your people.  The team is always at optimum effectiveness when they are properly rewarded and motivated, appreciated and praised for their accomplishments and contributions.  Here are several phrases that will help to keep your people motivated and productive.

 

“Sorry, my mistake” or “You were right.  I was wrong” shows that you are confident enough in your position to show your team that you can admit when you were wrong about something.  It also shows them that you are not afraid to pay a compliment and give credit when credit is due even at the detriment of your own credibility.

 

“I understand” or “I understand you” shows that you are really listening.  This is further reinforced when you ad key phrases or notes from the corresponding conversation.  Even if you make a decision that is contrary to the suggestions that were made it at least shows your people that you made a well-informed decision.

 

“How would you deal with…” “Or what do you think about…”.  The best leaders surround themselves with people that know more then they do.  After all no one can be an expert in everything, and anyone who thinks that they are is in for a rude awakening.  Asking someone what they think about something, especially something important prompts growth and innovation.  Some people, even the very smartest of us, have a fear of voicing their opinions and looking foolish.  Giving your team moments in the spotlight and consideration of their expertise will help you get the best solutions for your problems and help them grow as professionals.

 

“Thank you”.  You all better be saying thank you to your people, your customers and your superiors.  Manners are important and even though you may act appreciative it is important to say it.  Sometimes all people want to hear is thank you, it indicates to them that the job is well done and it shows your quality as a leader.

 

“I believe in you.”  This might be the single most powerful phrase you can utter to a team member.  These four words carry with them a weight and a magnitude that is seldom matched, after all words are mighty things.  This shows your subordinate that you have faith and confidence in them and their abilities.  It shows them that they are in the right place and they are doing the right thing.

 

Remember these key phrases and remember to be humble and appreciative of your staff and team.   Actions often speak louder then words but sometimes words are more then enough, as long as they are the right ones.

 

All Star Limousine is a Long Island, New York based company with an extensive global reach; we provide expert Wedding, Special Event and Executive Travel services throughout the Tri-State area and the world. We have over 30 years of experience in the travel industry; our attention to detail, 2014 top-of-the-line vehicles and professional trained Chauffeurs set us apart from the rest!

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Mercedes Sprinter Road Shows

Posted On: January 08, 2015

Mercedes Sprinter Road Shows


 

 

For those of you unfamiliar with what a road show is I will briefly summarize; A road show is a high pressure, hard selling sales campaign in which top member of high end sales teams attempt to squeeze multiple sales calls into a short period of time.  Several top sellers will go out on the road and make sales call after sales call, one after the other, back to back to back.  These are high pressure sales calls as time is valuable and these are warm leads, parties potentially interested in the product, and often times these road shows will be a big contributor to the companies bottom line.

 

For the sales force every call counts and their entire year can be made in one or two days, the experience can be exhilarating and harrowing.  In addition to being able to sell the product and give effective presentations a very strict schedule needs to be maintained, hiring a reliable and experienced executive car service best does this.  The car service must have a dedicated road show desk.  A team of individuals on the inside that is able to communicate and facilitate last minute changes and adjustments based on appointments running late, being cancelled or extended, as well as traffic conditions and unforeseen events like extreme weather.

 

Most of the time a town car or SUV will suffice but when a large team is involved there is really only one choice.  The Mercedes Sprinter, these vehicles are large and spacious, comfortable and accommodating, but without any of the pretentiousness or opulence of your more traditional limousines.  Most of these sales teams abhor showing up in something like a stretch limousine as it often conveys to the potential client the wrong image.  Offering class, comfort and sophistication without the unnecessary glitz and glamour of the more traditional methods, the Mercedes Sprinter is the ideal vehicle for road show transportation.

 

So if your company has need for road show transportation think about the Mercedes Sprinter the next time you need to bring the whole team along.  The road show can be stressful enough, rest easy knowing that the logistics of the day are in good hands and that the image you are presenting to your potential client is the right one.

 

All Star Limousine is a Long Island, New York based company with an extensive global reach; we provide expert Wedding, Special Event and Executive Travel services throughout the Tri-State area and the world. We have over 30 years of experience in the travel industry; our attention to detail, 2014 top-of-the-line vehicles and professional trained Chauffeurs set us apart from the rest! 

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Accepting Your Failures

Posted On: January 07, 2015

Accepting Your Failures


 

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

 

Winston Churchill said both of these things, and it may sound to you as if this gentleman had a lot of experience with failure.  Churchill dealt with a great many problems that were not necessarily entirely within his control, but he is still remembered as one of the greatest leaders of all time.  One of the things that made this man great was his ability to except his failures and to grow and learn from them.  He accepted responsibility for his failures as readily as he did for his successes.   So many of us blame everyone except ourselves for literally everything and this, I believe, is a major contributor to why so many of us find success so elusive.

 

Think about it for a moment, the last time you were late for work what did you tell your boss?  I hit traffic, there was an accident, the baby kept me up all night, I had a family emergency, you certainly did not say I hit the snooze button one too many times or that I sleep unit the last possible minute then rush out the door with exactly enough time to make it here unless there’s a problem.  The lesson here is if our hypothetical employee admitted he had hit the snooze button ten times he would think twice before doing the same thing again the next time he woke up feeling a little tired.  You see if we never admit to our failures and mistakes we will never grow or learn.  When we paint ourselves as the victim we feel absolved of any obligation to change our behavior, and then we wonder why “these things always happen to me” and “Why do I have the worst luck.” No you don’t have bad luck and your not  fates punching bag, you just refuse to accept reality and the responsibility for your own failures.

 

The other major problem with blaming everyone except yourself for your problems is that you create adversity.  You draw a line in the sand and on one side is you and on the other side is them.  Them can be random drivers on the road, the faceless individuals at the post office or the bank, or they can be your friends and family, your co-workers and people that may actually matter throughout the course of your day.  If you are constantly blaming everyone else for your faults and shortcomings in your mind these people become the enemy and if you voice your issues and reasoning’s enough you will become theirs.

 

It could be argued that refusal to accept responsibility for your own failures is one of the biggest roadblocks on the path to success.  So many people that have achieved greatness failed so many times before they succeeded, they not only kept trying but they accepted the reality that there was something wrong with what they were doing, they then worked towards changing their process.  Blaming others for the bad things in your life will only hurt you, it creates adversity and it severely impedes your ability to grow and learn as a person.  Don’t be afraid to take a long hard look at yourself and what you may be doing wrong, admitting that we are doing something wrong is the first step to doing something right.

 

All Star Limousine is a Long Island, New York based company with an extensive global reach; we provide expert Wedding, Special Event and Executive Travel services throughout the Tri-State area and the world. We have over 30 years of experience in the travel industry; our attention to detail, 2014 top-of-the-line vehicles and professional trained Chauffeurs set us apart from the rest! 

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The Obvious (Sticking To The Basics)

Posted On: January 06, 2015

The Obvious (Sticking To The Basics)


Business today can get complicated.  Years ago things were much simpler; there was the right way to do things and the wrong way.  Most processes and business plans were implemented and created using a very straight forward process, something like A+B=C, and that was just the way things were done.  Today there are many things responsible for changing the game; chief amongst them is the Internet.  Undoubtedly the greatest invention of the 20th century the Internet has done so much for so many, but by far its greatest impact has been on the business world.

 

Where as years ago there was just a certain way that things were done and people just simply did not deviate from that process.  Today with information being so readily available to just about everyone, everybody’s an authority and everyone has their own idea about how things should be done.  It is easy to get lost in the jumble and too lose sight of the goals and values of what your business is all about.  We see so many startups fail as quickly as they arose for a plethora of reasons. 

 

One of the main factors in all this rising and falling is the deviation from the tried and true.  There was a reason that things were done a particular way for so long and this is because it worked.  When in doubt and even when trying to be innovative do not hesitate to go with what is obvious and to stick with the basics, after all they have been proven to work, even if you are looking to do something different start with what’s been done before.  Be careful of over thinking a problem and breezing right by the best and most obvious answer.

 

Business is more involved and more complicated then ever before.  Fifty years ago it was a simpler time where there existed a pretty straightforward formula for most enterprises, today things are a bit different.  It is important to remember that even when trying to stand out and be innovative start with the basics, never overlook the obvious.  After all there is a reason things were done a certain way for so long, sometimes the simplest solution is the best solution.

 

All Star Limousine is a Long Island, New York based company with an extensive global reach; we provide expert Wedding, Special Event and Executive Travel services throughout the Tri-State area and the world. We have over 30 years of experience in the travel industry; our attention to detail, 2014 top-of-the-line vehicles and professional trained Chauffeurs set us apart from the rest! 

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