January 2007

Innovative Operator Profile: Catering to the Elite Crowd

by Alex Roman - Also by this author

Standing out amid the glitz and glamour that is Las Vegas can be quite a challenge, but AWG Charter Services sets itself apart by catering to an exclusive clientele with its fleet of high-end vehicles.

AWG started out as a destination management company, before slowly growing into a transportation provider offering a variety of vehicles, including motorcoaches and limo coaches.

The operation added its first limo coach as a way to more easily transport its customers to the airport and to help eliminate the need for subcontracting vehicles.

“You start to put your reputation in jeopardy when you subcontract, because it’s totally out of your control,” explains Alan Waxler, AWG’s president and CEO.

After being the first livery service in Las Vegas to use limo coaches, Waxler liked the way that the coaches enhanced the service so he began adding used motorcoaches as a way to transport larger groups to their various functions.

He explains that the used vehicles met his needs, but at the end of the day they were still older vehicles. Wanting to maintain the company’s image, Waxler began purchasing new coaches including two DaimlerChrysler brand Setras.

The operation has now grown to include 10 motorcoaches, 42 Krystal limo coaches (the largest fleet of its kind in the U.S.), and an array of other vehicles that fit the specific demands of its customers.

AWG also set itself apart from the competition by being the first transportation operation in Las Vegas to brand its vehicles by painting them black, a practice Waxler says that his competitors soon followed. AWG has plans to add six new 56passenger motorcoaches to replace some of its outdated models, grow the business even further and maintain its high-end image.

The company also staffs two people who are certified in the state of Nevada to perform CDL testing, which helps ensure proper training and allows AWG to find solid candidates for any open driving positions. Waxler says that providing their own training helps keep his field of potential drivers wide open.

“We’re not tremendously anxious of getting drivers from other companies that may have bad habits, because we retrain them anyway,” he says. “We’re also not fearful of bringing somebody new to the industry, and I think we appeal to drivers in other regions, because of our weather.”

Unlike other markets, Waxler says that business in Las Vegas is booming thanks to the area’s rapid growth and the large number of visitors — 44 million in 2005 — that constantly stream in and out of the city.

In addition, with transportation, destination management, corporate events and model and talent agency LLCs that operate under one corporate arm, AWG has built a strong collective that is able to provide business from one branch to another.

“We’re just trying to do what we do in a sensible way that will allow us to grow without putting added stress on ourselves,” Waxler says. “We don’t want to be the least expensive guy, because you get what you pay for, but we’re all about the service and commitment that’s necessary to give our customers what they want.” 

AT A GLANCE

Motorcoaches: 10

Fleet mix: Setra, Van Hool, Neoplan, MCI, Prevost

Employees: 26

Service area: Las Vegas and the surrounding area

Services: charter, tour, athletic, convention shuttles, corporate group transfers and employee shuttles

Drivers: 98

Year started: 1998

President: Alan Waxler (pictured)


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