Blacklane is an online portal and mobile App that lets users book chauffeurs and private cars in 143 cities across 49 countries. We caught up with Co-Founder, Jens Wohltorf, to find out more.
LM: What are your career highlights?
JW: Quitting my job as consultant and founding my own company has to be up there. With Blacklane, I had the opportunity to build something from the ground up and pursue an exciting market niche, where technology could make a real difference globally.
LM: When was Blacklane founded and how are you different from other chauffeur operators?
JW: Blacklane was founded in September 2011. Unlike other chauffeur operators, Blacklane has a truly global presence, available in 143 cities across 49 countries. We are the only service to give business travellers the convenience of organising premium chauffeur travel anywhere in the world from a desktop or mobile so that they don’t have to download local apps and find local operators when arriving in new countries.
LM: How large is your fleet of luxury cars and which models do you offer customers?
JW: Blacklane works with partner chauffeur operators in 49 countries and we distribute rides through their fleets. In the UK alone, for example, we work with more than 180 operators.
Our vehicles fall into three categories:
- Business Class vehicles (e.g., Mercedes E-Class, Audi A6, or BMW 5 series, Lincoln Town Car)
- Business Vans/ SUVs (e.g., Mercedes Viano and VW T5, Cadillac Escalade)
- First Class vehicles (e.g., Mercedes S-Class, Audi A8, or BMW 7 series)
All of our services are 100% compliant with local legislation and our drivers and cars are fully insured.
LM: Which countries and cities are your services available in?
JW: Blacklane is available in 143 cities across 49 countries. We cover all major cities, from Sao Paolo and New York to London and Shanghai.
LM: Who is your typical private and business client?
JW: It’s the connected business traveller who travels fairly frequently, is highly receptive to new technology and enjoys hassle-free, productive trips.
LM: What are the essential considerations for providing an exceptional level of customer care?
JW: Our customers require discretion and a certain level of professionalism. When they get into a Blacklane car, they can always expect a well-mannered, professional driver who respects their privacy.
LM: How does the Blacklane App work?
JW: Using the Blacklane app is simple. You select your pick-up location and whether you require a transfer or hourly service. Then enter the destination, time and preferred vehicle, as well as further information such as flight numbers and a preferred pick-up sign.
LM: What services do you offer corporate clients?
JW: Blacklane offers an individualised company account with linked accounts for individual employees. Corporate discounts are weighted according to the volume of bookings from a particular company. We also provide efficient, custom-made monthly invoices of the rides, as well as free customer service.
LM: What are your forecasts for the chauffeuring sector in 2015?
JW: According to the Global Business Travel Association, business travel spending is expected to increase by 8.2% this year and continue its ascent until 2017. This spending forecast is good news for the chauffeuring sector, which will continue to grow as a result of this. For us at Blacklane, bookings have increased at an average monthly rate of 20% so far this year.
LM: How are you looking to grow the Blacklane business going forward?
JW: Going forward, we will continue to expand internationally to support the growth we are seeing in multi-city bookings. We’ll also look to include more car categories and options available to our customers.