The general aviation services market in the U.S. is highly fragmented, with limited concentration in certain parts of the market. This is reflected in the main industry segments of Fixed Base Operations (FBOs), Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) and Aircraft Charter and Management. This is a factor of a geographically distributed business model across airports in North America. Many great service companies are extremely entrepreneurial and grow to meet customer demand at the airports they serve. Many are content to stay at one airport in order to have the greatest oversight of their businesses and deliver the best customer service they can.
There can be a natural downside to this model, however. While an aviation service business may adapt to provide what it considers premium service at is airport, the relative isolation of serving only one local market may prevent it from having insight as to industry leading best practices outside of the local market. Promoting from within is a great management process which rewards deserving and loyal employees and creates an aspirational path for achievement-oriented employees to follow. It does not, however, necessarily bring fresh ideas or management practices to the aviation enterprise that the addition of an external employee or manager could. That is one benefit from hiring an employee or manager from outside can bring to an independent operator. FBO chains, large MRO operations and large ACM businesses with multiple locations bring knowledge from across the industry, in terms of various geographies, different customer bases and multiple service offerings. Even more knowledge and diversity comes from hiring outside the industry from another premium service centered market—high-end hospitality and resort management can be reasonable comparison industries.
This is not to say that every process and practice which is necessary and important for premium customer service in a large organization is appropriate for a smaller, one airport service provider; many if not most are not. But some practices work across all sizes of FBOs, MROs and ACM providers and customers who have grown accustomed to a service level they consider part of the value proposition will eventually come to expect it across all markets. If an aviation service provider does not receive enough exposure to outside ideas and experiences through its hiring practices, it should consider using third parties to advise on industry leading practices they might be missing.