Most planners have a pretty good grip on their event budget. They know which areas they have wiggle room and what to negotiate down to stay on budget. Yet, when it comes to ground transportation there can be a great deal of uncertainty. Even with the best intentions, there are several things that can drive up transportation costs quickly if it’s not managed properly:
- Negligence for inbound flight tracking
- Multiple individual trips – without group formation
- A tangled web of a manifest presents early on implications for an unsettled production
- Contact overload and overlapped communication can present voids
Events tend to grow, in size and complexity over the years. When they do, event planners find it necessary to dedicate more time on the event experience, leaving logistics and transportation by the wayside. There’s no doubt, managing transportation requires the orchestration of a number of moving parts (no pun intended), including creating the itinerary, figuring out which vehicles will suit the number of passengers you have to accommodate and ensuring your drivers arrive at each destination on-time the day of your event, and you name it. Not only do these things take away from ensuring the event itself runs smoothly, but one wrong move and the event is over budget.
What to look for when you’re ready to ask for help.
A transportation management company can help control costs and ensure an optimal experience for attendees. When you find it’s time to hire the pros, here’s what to look for in a transportation management company.
1. A Logistics Plan
Gravitate towards a transportation provider that exemplifies a strong inner workings system. When scouting for a transportation provider, both parties should become better acquainted and ultimately come to an agreement on expectations. A range of qualitative and quantitative questions should be asked in the process. A sound logistical plan in transportation should identify an array of aspects specifically in management, implementation, control and effectiveness. Using the following scenario, your provider may manage a group of passengers by flight, terminal, and destination to eliminate the need for additional vehicles. Or in the scenario where efficiency is forward thinking, your provider may implement and control efficient routing and preventative measures to avoid traffic or delays.
2. Meetings and Events Team
Look for providers that use a dedicated team for events, seasoned specialists accustomed to creating seamless and reliable transportation programs to keep events on budget. Further, an onsite events manager to coordinate the logistic details, passenger manifests and have a proven process for updating the many changes/delays that take place during the event. Your provider should also be prepared to do walkthroughs and offer management on-site during the event.
3. Safety/Insurance Coverage
Safety and insurance- two pinnacle elements in ground transportation, yet each receives marginal acknowledgement. Surprisingly, there is no minimum requirement for insurance coverage (blatant red flag) for transportation providers, and many don’t require vetting and background checking of chauffeurs (cautionary implication). We recommend background checks be done at the federal, state, and local levels 7 years prior to employment, as well as insurance coverage of $5 million per traveler, per trip, globally. Another commonly overlooked concern is confidentiality – ask if the drivers have a confidentiality agreement in place to cover any uncertainty.
4. Variety of Vehicle Options
A robust fleet portfolio guarantees options, and the comfort of options presents an advantageous scenario. Your provider should offer an array of vehicle models to accommodate all event sizes and all preferences - a perquisite for any capable transportation provider. Ask providers if they offer a variety of vehicles such as charter bus rental, coach bus rental and motor coach rental solutions minimize cost and handle all your needs.
Organizing transportation can be stress-free by asking the right questions to ensure you’re selecting the right transportation management company. Some organizations have actually saved money by hiring the pros to manage ground transportation.
EmpireCLS works with event organizers to ensure they stay on budget and they enjoy many other benefits that improve the overall experience, including:
- A dedicated events manager as a singular point of contact for the duration of the program
- Strategically selected vehicles to match the needs of the event
- Logistically planned options to fit the event budget
- A team of expert events managers experienced in handling the many contingencies that accompany even the most carefully executed event
- On-site support, from walkthroughs to meeting and receiving vehicles to anticipating everything in between
- Centralized billing and one simple invoice, customized based on their specific needs
Aventri has partnered with EmpireCLS to provide managed ground transportation for our clients' events. They provide an event management team that will craft a seamless experience for your attendees, down to the finest detail. Whatever type of event you’re holding, they can ensure that your entire program runs seamlessly and successfully. More details about EmpireCLS can be found in the Aventri Marketplace.
About the Author
Seth Marcus has over 20 years of experience in the transportation industry and serves as Executive Vice President of Meeting and Event Sales for EmpireCLS. He oversees companywide sales and marketing initiatives, as well as managing large account relationships on a global scale. He has contributed his knowledge of enterprise meeting software to assist with the company's proprietary event software technology, which has made an impact on the industry landscape.