“They want to get out of their car, get to the gate and get on their flight,” said Michael J. Cano, president of Gateway VIP Services.
What passengers might not realize, however, is the number of services Cano’s Wood- side-based company provides to help expedite them through the airport. Customers who request a departure or arrival meet and greet will receive personal assistance to and from their gate; expedited check-in and boarding pass issuance; escort through security; access to VIP airline lounges; constant monitoring of flight status; assistance with seat assignments; re-booking arrangements; pre-boarding assistance; connection meets; and group check-in. In addition, Gateway’s concierge services include unaccompanied minor services, hotel bookings, luxury transportation, to-and-from airport services, and any special services request.
From high-level business executives and government officials to high-profile members of the music and entertainment industry, passengers are increasingly willing to pay for the conveniences Gateway VIP Services can provide. In fact, business is up nearly 35 percent this year, Cano said.
The ground services industry is doing very well, he added. While airline passengers will generally switch airlines in search of the cheap- est tickets, they are willing to spend more money for the services that can be provided on the ground, Cano said.
Airlines are recognizing the demand for these services as well as the potential revenue stream available. During the last few years, two major carriers recently began offering fee-based airport concierge services. In the near future, Cano predicts every major carrier will offer their passengers the ability to expedite their way through the airport, for a fee.
Rather than be concerned about the competition, Cano said he welcomes it. “As airlines start marketing the service, more people will use it and search for it and find me,” he said, noting he serves a percentage of the market. As that market grows, so will his business.
Moving forward, Cano plans to reach different markets which serve travelers. He is working to link Gateway VIP Services with members of the high end hotel market, as well as limousine companies. Servicing the airlines is another area which can provide massive growth for the company, Cano said. In fact, he is currently in the process of signing a contract with an airline to be one of their ground handlers.
Over the last 20 years, Cano has worked his way up from his first job as an airport greeter. “My company has grown organically, by personal referrals more than a lot of marketing,” he said. Today, he works with thousands of outside vendors and maintains great contracts throughout the world.
Cano is optimistic about the company’s future as a niche business in a growing industry. “Our expected growth is several hundred per- cent.”
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