There are plenty of options for traveling to and from the Hamptons and the North Fork, but arriving now is a new chauffeur service that is a reminder that service is key.
Dr Jens Wohltorf, co-founder and CEO of Blacklane, a global chauffeur service based in Germany, shared with Dan’s papers what sets the company apart, how it strives to be environmentally conscious and what’s next in the East End.
How did you get started in this profession?
I was a frequent traveler as a consultant, and I experienced the pain of business travel, especially with shopping. Driver customers received inconsistent standards, booking processes, billing, and terms and conditions. On the other side of the company, the drivers had seats open all day that needed to be filled.
Together with my friend and co-founder Frank Steuer, we decided to launch the world’s first chauffeur service. We knew we could help both sides. We’ve offered customers a consistent premium experience, guaranteed all-inclusive rates, and 24/7 customer service. At the same time, we brought in drivers from our global customer base, providing them with a new source of income.
What sets your business apart from the competition?
Blacklane was born to bring consistency, reliability and better rates to the global chauffeur service. We devote our full attention to high quality chauffeured trips around the world.
We combine the best of the world of traditional limousines and the ridesharing industry. We maintain the premium and premium vehicles that define the driver industry. But we’ve cut their prices in half and created an easy way to book through our website and app.
We also bring the ease of use of carpooling. It takes a few seconds to reserve a Blacklane. Customers then benefit from the safety and insurance of premium vehicles and professional drivers, as well as the overall quality that goes with them.
On top of all this, we are a carbon neutral organization. We were the first transportation service to offset emissions from all journeys and business operations around the world, starting in 2017.
Can you detail some of the services you offer?
Our main services are airport transfers, city-to-city trips and chauffeur-driven calls.
Airport transfers are the biggest part of our business, due to our reliability and the importance of comfort and discretion when people are traveling. However, the pandemic has revealed that we need to diversify our activities to have more trips outside the airport.
We therefore took advantage of the pandemic to innovate. The average distance traveled by our customers doubled once the confinements started. It was clear that people who needed reliable long distance service trusted us. The next step was to create flat-rate journeys between two locations. We have hundreds of routes in 32 countries, and the New York-Hamptons service is the busiest.
Calling the driver was our next innovation. We have brought on-demand rides to New York so customers can enjoy our quality and service over short distances.
What new trends do you see in the industry?
Sustainability is increasingly important. People want to minimize their environmental impact and use like-minded services. We are proud of our sustainability record and our future plans. More recently, we signed The Climate Pledge, launched by Amazon and Global Optimism, and targeted 75% of electric vehicle trips by 2025.
What particular problems do you face in the East End?
The obvious variable is that the Hamptons’ business is so seasonal. For one thing, summers are busy, even more so this year when international travel is limited. For two, demand comes and goes depending on the day of the week, with many people only spending long weekends before returning to town.
We expect the rise of the home office and remote working to increase activities outside of the summer. We saw this during the pandemic when many workers had to work from home. With so many companies allowing flexible working arrangements, we will see more commuting in the rest of the
The competition is also unique here. It is a rare place where people can pay for bus, train, helicopter, VTC and driver service, or drive themselves in their own car or rental. Therefore, we need to differentiate ourselves strongly and focus on what makes us unique: reliable, safe and premium service at affordable rates.
Would you like to add anything else?
New York-Hamptons routes have set the bar high for our city-to-city service. Customers appreciate consistency, cost certainty, and the ability to relax from the moment they get in the car. We are also seeing customers using us again when they need an airport transfer, to have peace of mind for their first flights after lockdown.