As a seasoned international traveler, co-founder and CEO Jens Wohltorf was no stranger to taking airport chauffeurs around the world, keeping travel receipts, and juggling multiple currencies to pay drivers.
That was in the 2000s, when he worked for one of the world’s biggest consulting firms. Spotting a gap in the market, he and co-founder and CTO Frank Steuer set up Blacklane: a global chauffeur service designed to bring peace of mind to the highly stressful part of travel, between the front door and the airport. From day one, the service brought consistent high quality at more affordable fares to modernise the outdated chauffeur industry. The business quickly expanded, and Blacklane needed to find more suitable customers to accelerate growth. That’s when they asked Google for a helping hand.
How Google helped
Improving user experiences
In June 2013, the business operated in 30 cities. Within a 100-day period, that figure was over 130. Years later, they’d secured major contracts with global airlines. This rapid expansion created challenges, particularly in localising their eight websites. While online content agencies were fast, the results were terrible...and it was starting to impact their sites. Google worked closely with Blacklane to source new trusted partners and begin delivering a consistent global brand across its online platforms.
Researching new markets
After setting out an ambitious timetable for expansion, Blacklane needed all the help it could get to research each city’s potential and ensure a smooth launch. Google was able to provide relevant and up-to-date information, saving Blacklane the time and money of having to expand its own in-house team or hiring an outside agency.
Advising on user behaviours
Early on, Blacklane realised that past learnings gained from expanding into English-speaking regions weren’t enough to ensure success in lesser-known languages like Spanish, Italian, Russian and Japanese. This was another area Google was happy to help with, especially advising in areas like customer care and the booking process.
Working with Google helped Blacklane get a clearer view of its online activities and potential efficiencies. For example, in 2019 it reduced its number of foreign language websites from eight to six – while simultaneously enabling growth in a number of key markets such as China, UK, and France, by introducing new payment methods (PayPal).
“Google has proven to be one of our most important service providers over the years. Moving forward, we'll continue to trust and rely on their expertise.”
Sascha Meskendahl, Chief Revenue Officer, Blacklane