Whether you live in Houston or visit Houston often, you know getting in an out of the airport can be one of the biggest headaches in this otherwise pleasant city with plenty of accolades. In fact, Houston is the 4th most populous city in the US with a population of approximately 2,312,717 people as of 2017, which translates into one huge problem—TRAFFIC.
Yes, Houston traffic volume is on pace to rival Los Angeles traffic in just a matter of five years at the current rate of growth due to the inability to expand the roadways to accommodate even the current population. The problem is already a major eyesore for the residents of Houston, visitors to the two major airports, IAH and Hobby, as well as suburban residents that work in Houston proper.
One Houston transportation company is seeking to change the way people see our city when they fly in from other destinations be it domestic or international. Seeing that Houston is an international business destination with the ship channels and petroleum industry hubs here—it bothers local transportation company owner, Samer Nasser of Excelsior Transportation.
“I love this city; it’s given me so much opportunity and successes. It’s a shame to see the city I love, the city I’ve raised my children in; viewed poorly and missing out on opportunities like the Amazon HQ2 bid and Toyota Headquarters that we lost to the DFW Metroplex all because of our lack of proper infrastructure to handle the traffic load of such a large city. I am just a business owner but I have the fortunate advantage of being in the transportation industry, so I can actually help to soften the impact of our traffic problem on people’s perception of my city when they step out of the airport.”
Airport Traffic Giving Houston A Bad Rap
What Nasser is referring to is one of the most glaring examples of the Houston traffic vs. infrastructure problem that is evident when traveling to or from either Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) or the smaller, yet just as jam-packed, Hobby airport. Nasser is absolutely right about the impression it gives as one traveler we spoke with who is a frequent visitor to Houston and Belize via Southwest airlines (departing IAH) had this to say about Houston traffic:
“The traffic leaving and getting to the airport from my relative’s house only 20 minutes away and even airport hotels is an absolute joke. It literally takes over 30 minutes just to get out of the airport and on to one of the major freeways. It honestly makes me loathe traveling to Houston more and more, that’s why I use a private transportation service for any Houston airport transportation and getting around this huge city. I can let the driver deal with the stress of the traffic while I watch Netflix on my phone or just relax. I can’t control the traffic but I can control whether I deal with it or not.” – Walt M.
Many transplants to Houston have vented their frustration as well to council members, IAH and Hobby officials, and TXDOT due to the overwhelming traffic problems. Many residents feel it’s the reason why it takes such an effort to get events like the Super Bowl and lure corporations to move their headquarters here like the recent Amazon HQ2 bid, just as Nasser highlighted. When Houston bid for Amazon HQ2, it didn’t even make the top 20 shortlist of cities while Dallas and Austin did. Many residents cite the traffic and lack of a robust mass transit system that includes a widespread rail system to connect the major areas of Houston.
Fortunately, some residents like Walt have grown to accept that while they “can’t control the traffic,” they can choose not to deal with it and that’s one of the major reasons Nasser’s Excelsior Transportation is seeing such a boom in their overall client base and airport bookings. The other major reason is the approach that Excelsior takes with Houston airport transportation—billing itself as a destination management company, not just a car service as Nasser describes it.
“We are so much more than just a car service; we are a destination management company or DMC. We saw some needs in the transportation industry that weren’t being met, specifically, consolidation. What I mean is, let’s take a traveler coming from London to Houston for example. They already had enough hassle just booking their flight, but then they have to call one company to book transportation from the airport and then another to book a hotel, and then try to coordinate the two and possibly even a rental car for getting around the city. Why? Why don’t we handle the entire stay for them and that way the coordination between lodging and transportation from the airport and around the city is seamless and done with one company? These people have busy schedules, we should make things easier not more complicated.”
Why Excelsior Is Houston’s Premier Destination Management Company
With that mission in mind, Nasser and Excelsior Transportation took off on a growth spurt that saw them blossom to a tremendous fleet of well-appointed vehicles with no detail left overlooked and professional drivers available with a multitude of languages spoken. With drivers that are fluent in foreign languages that range from the common Spanish and French to more rare ones such as Farsi, Mandarin, Greek, and Portuguese. Just the diversity in languages spoken gives Excelsior an early advantage over their competitors who are slow to embrace the destination management concept. Nasser describes their approach that sets them apart among other Houston transportation companies.
“Many of our competitors want to just put cars at the airports, book limos for weddings and special events and don’t make the effort to add extra value to their service. We purposefully and strategically choose our drivers and focused on multilingual drivers that speak specific languages. We studied the data showing the percentages of travelers from specific regions and determined the demand for a familiar language when they visit our city. We want them to feel welcomed. We also want them to let us make their travel here much easier, that is why we focus extra effort on planning their stay in Houston and making things very simple. We are willing to go the extra mile such as booking their hotel, planning their itinerary, and planning leisure excursions when no one else will.”
Nasser isn’t just talking in marketing speak either, they have a huge following of average Houston residents, celebrities, pro athletes, and many local and national politicians as well. Nasser claims it is due to their commitment to the “Excelsior Difference;” the core tenets of values and services they offer that is responsible for their level of success.
The Anatomy Of The Excelsior Difference
A CULTURE OF SAFETY
Every employee at Excelsior goes through an extensive vetting process and background check that includes a thorough drug-screening which is also repeated randomly from time to time. From dispatchers and porters to drivers and mechanics—it is a policy that nothing is overlooked or allowed to slip by. Drivers undergo many hours of driver safety courses they must achieve certification on, and those courses are required annually as well. They’ve even thought of medical emergencies on the road, so drivers are also trained in first-aid and CPR and every vehicle has an up to date first aid kit. Vehicles are outfitted with all of the optional safety options from the manufacturers such as side curtain airbags, blind-spot notifications, lane assist, and full 360° cameras for safe parking and backing up. All vehicles are insured in abundant fashion with policies that cover up to one million dollars of coverage.
LUXURY SERVICE AT REASONABLE RATES
Excelsior has taken the unique approach to make all of their fleets feel like a luxurious ride with perfectly appointed interiors with features such as heated leather seats, captain’s chairs, plush party bus bench seating and more. These late model vehicles are inspected heavily for minor dings and dents, waxed and detailed at their on-site detailing facility and the availability of optional smart tech features like in-car Wi-Fi is the icing on the cake. Their vehicles make anyone from blue-collar to celebrity feel like a VIP and they feel that’s the way any transportation service should make you feel.
DIVERSITY IS KEY
As mentioned before, Excelsior Transportation purposefully seeks drivers of every nationality possible that can speak fluent English and either their native language or a multitude of other languages learned or native speakers alike. Houston is the third most culturally diverse metropolitan trailing just shy of NYC and LA with over 145 languages spoken in Houston alone—we are sensitive to that fact and want people from all cultures to feel a sense of belonging when they are in our vehicles.
PROFESSIONALISM IS PARAMOUNT TO PROFIT
One thing that many of Excelsior’s clients find refreshing about them is that they will not sacrifice ethical and professional values for profit. This means they are transparent with what clients are charged upfront, they don’t do hidden fees and other so-called “tricks of the trade” that the taxi and rideshare industry have become notorious for. You pay what you are quoted and that’s it. Drivers are professionally dressed in proper black-tie attire and are waiting at your terminal to assist with luggage and whisk you off to your destination.
Every vehicle in Excelsior’s fleet is equipped with GPS tracking and navigation software to ensure smooth detours to mitigate traffic jams and calculate the most expedient routes. Also, all of their drivers are seasoned professionals that are based locally in Houston and know the city inside and out.
Would You Like To Experience The Excelsior Difference?
If you are planning a trip to Houston for business or leisure or if you are headed to Galveston for a cruise, you can experience the Excelsior Difference by booking online or calling their 24-hour a day dispatch service.