by Liz DeJesus, Marketing Manager
Part of my job as the Marketing Manager is to manage the company’s social media efforts. This means that I spend a great deal of my time reading articles and trying to stay up to date with what is relevant to our target audience – meeting and event planners. Every day I sort through about 30 event and meeting-specific blogs and online publications and I’ve noticed something – there is virtually no discussion about transportation. Now, to be fair, my job consists of a lot more than social media so it’s entirely possible that I’ve missed something, but I can’t help but feel like event transportation is the red-headed stepchild of the event & meeting planning world.
If there is a sexy part of the event planning process, I know it’s not transportation. I know that everything associated with what we do – buses, routes, charter orders, permits, bus signs, traffic flow, staging logistics, not to mention migraine-inducing diesel fumes – doesn’t exactly stack up well next to the menu selection, the VIP gifts, booking the right speaker and securing the absolute coolest venue for the opening reception.
Woe is me, right? No. The way I see it, we’ve got a pretty cool opportunity to influence the conversation and get planners thinking about transportation!
It’s not that I think planners don’t think about transportation at all. Of course they do! They just don’t think about the fact that good (or bad) transportation can make or break an event. They don’t think about how transportation technology can streamline events and influence how the event is planned for years to come. That’s the stuff they don’t think about and that’s the stuff I know about.
The fact is, you can plan every single detail, and have an absolutely flawless event inside the conference center, stadium, hotel, amphitheater, etc., but the moment your attendees walk out those doors, their amazing experience can either continue or it can take a drastic turn for the worst.
If you haven’t given transportation much of a thought, it’s entirely possible that you’ll end up with a long line of folks, waiting for transportation back to their hotels. There are few buzzkills as mighty as the act of waiting in line. What if it’s raining? What if it’s cold? What if it’s 100 degrees? What if you didn’t book enough buses? What if there is confusion about where to catch the bus? The departure times? Trust me, an attendee who feels inconvenienced and frustrated by the transportation service, is an attendee who quickly forgets about the incredibly valuable session they attended only 5 minutes prior. Your post-convention survey responses will look like this, “The opening session was great, but I had to wait for 40 minutes for a bus to go back to my hotel! I missed a luncheon and I never even got to the reception on time. What a waste!”
[I’d like to refrain from being too sales-y here, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t say – we’re pretty good at making sure your survey responses DON’T look like that.]
Did you even know how valuable transportation data can be when it comes to planning your next event? Imagine if you could check your smart phone and know in real time exactly what time and how many attendees departed from Point A, on their way to where you are at Point B to attend the opening General Session? Would you potentially be able to make more informed decisions about what attendees find valuable, what they don’t? Could you potentially and more accurately determine your F&B needs, your venue size based on how many people attended the reception last year? What if you had the data at your fingertips to determine if there was high (or low) demand for transportation? Was it worth the added expense? Or did it add value for your attendees? What if you lived in a world where you could have that information? [Good news, you do live in that world. You can have that information. We can give it to you.]
So, I’m writing this post in part to illustrate the value in our service (of course), but partly to pose the question, what do planners think about when they think about event transportation? I am genuinely curious and interested in starting a valuable conversation for both you and us.