Planners Can’t Control Everything … Like Traffic

Many planners have experienced being called a magician by a client.  We can often make things happen in mere seconds or make things appear almost instantaneously.  But, I have yet to meet a planner who can make a bus that is still 45 minutes away arrive any faster or clear the traffic jam that has claimed our VIP’s ride to the airport.

Vehicles and traffic are immune to the superpowers that planners possess. Well, mostly immune.  We do have some tricks at our disposal that will usually help us triumph.

Idle Hours

If you need a vehicle from 7:00 am – 10:00 am, and then again from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm, and then again from 8:00 pm – 12:00am, it may be tempting to book for exactly what you need so it doesn’t feel like you are paying for idle hours. 

Resist the temptation to do that. 

You never know when you may need a vehicle for a last-minute transfer or a VIP who said she would rent a car but didn’t and now needs a ride, and having a vehicle at your disposal may be your saving grace.  On that note, if you know that you have some high-profile attendees in your midst, having a vehicle on standby for your entire event may not be a bad decision (of course, if budget permits). Speaking of budget, hiring a vehicle for the entire day instead of for multiple small trips may also be the more cost-effective option.

Hire the Best

When you are planning for your transportation needs, find a partner that is willing to talk through your detailed plan and make the best recommendations for your group and event needs. 

You typically aren’t providing the shopping list to your chef or telling your AV company exactly what equipment to use, so don’t work any differently with your transportation partner.  You should outline when you need people or your entire group to move and where point A and point B are, and then allow them to create a plan that best accomplishes your goals. 

If you transportation company expects you to tell them exactly what to do and when to do it, and they are basically just ‘fulfilling your order’ instead of acting as a partner, it may be time to find a different company.

Who Wants to Be Surrounded by Bus Fumes?

Not many of us, and especially not event volunteers who aren’t familiar with the intricacies of moving busses around a large city.

Event volunteers are great for so many staff positions needed at any event, but aren’t always the best choice for transportation management.  This is an area that really needs experienced transportation coordinators.  We get that staffing budgets can be tight and that you may need to rely on a mostly volunteer staff, but having an event professional skilled in managing transportation will go a long way towards ensuring that people are getting to the right places at the right times, and that there is not chaos and congestion in your transportation staging area.

Your Turn

What are your best practices for managing group transportation? And, what best practices have you seen your top ground transportation providers utilize? 

Image courtesy of ziptrivia