Transportation Planning Tips for Large Meetings and Events

The way that transportation is designed and executed can have a major impact on event success.

Here are some quick tips from Eric Hotard, CEO of ETS, for meeting planners who are responsible for executing large meetings and events in major metropolitan cities.

1. Work in partnership with your transportation provider
Building a relationship with your transportation provider is very important, especially if you have a multiple year contract. It’s always a good idea to involve your provider in meeting planning as early as possible so they can assist with selecting geographically desirable hotels. By working cooperatively throughout the planning process, you’ll hopefully build a long term relationship with a company that you trust and rely on for other transportation needs.

2. Choosing your provider
Experienced transportation management companies can negotiate the best rates for high quality transportation, and ensure attendees are transported safely and on time. For large events, transportation management companies are also most ideal because they will handle all the logistics related to your meeting, including designing shuttle routes; ensuring shuttle buses have the appropriate permits and comply with city parking regulations; hiring and managing staff;, and sourcing safe, new and environmentally friendly vehicles.

3. Do your research and check references
Convention and visitor bureaus, convention centers and industry associations such as PCMA and MPI, are great resources for finding reputable transportation management companies. Be sure to ask potential transportation partners for at least three references from organizations that have planned events of similar size and type.

4. Make sure the transportation partner carries sufficient insurance
Ask for a valid insurance certificate and ensure your organization is added to the certificate for the event duration. Transportation management companies should ideally carry at least $10 million in liability insurance.

5. Check to make sure that vehicles and drivers meet Department of Transportation (DOT) guidelines
All sourced transportation equipment and drivers must meet federal safety guidelines and must have the necessary permits and licenses to operate in the city where your event takes place. Be sure to check that your transportation provider is meeting these guidelines.

6. Read the contract
Read proposals and contracts thoroughly to ensure you won’t be surprised by hidden fees. Any additional fees such as fuel charges should be clearly stated in the contract.

Have more suggested tips? Please share them!