As any seasoned event planner will tell you, inefficient ground transportation is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to unforeseen event costs. If you want to mitigate costly surprises for your meeting or training event, securing a quote for vehicles is just the beginning. Fortunately for you, we've put together a list of ground transportation planning pro tips from our expert event planning team. Keep the following things in mind, and it'll be much easier to keep your transportation within budget (and significantly less stressful).
Group attendees by arrival time
Grouping arriving and departing attendees is without a doubt the best way to reduce cost and optimize the number and sizes of vehicles your group will require. Once all of your meeting or training attendees' flights have been confirmed, you'll need to compile a manifest. (Using a spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel is usually the most popular method.) With all of the itineraries in one place, you'll be able to identify travelers who are going to/from the same airport/location and have similar flight times. Armed with this information, you can begin grouping participants together based on the capacity of the vehicles and departure times offered by your prospective vendors. Also, be sure to inquire about passenger minimums and custom departure times, as many vendors will allow you to set your own schedule if your groups are large enough.
Track participants' flights
In a perfect world, flights would arrive and depart exactly as scheduled. Unfortunately, that's not the world we live in. People run late, severe weather can roll in at any moment, and planes can break down, resulting in missed, delayed, and cancelled flights. In fact, nearly 18% of all flights miss their scheduled arrival time by more than 15 minutes. These delays can quickly wreak havoc on your ground transportation plan. With this in mind, it's absolutely critical that you take potential delays into account and have contingencies in place when building ground transportation plan. Not only will this save you money in the long run, but it will also result in much happier attendees and a more successful event execution.
Select the right transportation provider
Selecting the right ground transportation operator is perhaps the most crucial piece in creating a successful and cost-effective ground transportation program. As we've outlined above, pricing and availability is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes selecting the right vendor. Some of the best transportation providers offer on-the-fly changes and real-time adjustment of “wait times” based on the arrival status of your attendees. In many cases, venues can assist you in creating your group transportation plan too. In addition to flexibility and planning assistance, you'll also want to confirm that your prospective provider can meet, or exceed, all corporate requirements for vehicle type and condition, driver qualification, safety record, and insurance coverage.
Reconcile all invoices
Once your event is over, you should be sure to reconcile your ground transportation invoices. You will want to make sure you were charged the correct amount for each vehicle type and passengers listed on your manifest. If there are additional costs for onsite staff, wait times, surcharges or other expenses, you will want to make sure they are approved charges that match the terms outlined in your contract.
If this all of this sounds like a lot of work, it is!
Fortunately, the team at MicroTek has been helping meeting and training professionals coordinate event and transportation logistics for nearly 30 years. Our dedicated team of planning experts can take care of all the details, leaving you free to focus on your event. Click here to learn more about MicroTek's event planning and management services.
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