One of the biggest challenges for corporate meeting planners is keeping attendees moving and on-schedule when there is a major event at a destination, or if they are part of a major event themselves.
While some destinations handle event transportation logistics around major events better than others, there are times when there is nothing anyone can do to avoid congestion. We frequently and successfully deal with these challenges in New York City, and that includes those generated by complex city-wide events, such as the UN General Assembly.
Your meeting or event does not need to suffer because of a transportation issue.
Here are 4 ways to combat event transportation challenges:
1. Work with a local Destination Management Company or DMC that has close relationships with local officials and law enforcement. Without a local expert, it makes it much harder to acquire permitting for vehicles connected to the event or meeting, and the DMC can make valuable suggestions on how to minimize delays for your event attendees.
2. Plan alternate routes and make sure the transportation provider is proficient with the latest traffic apps. GPS-enabled transportation may not be adequate if you are transporting a group during peak rush hour. We understand how data on apps can change quickly, especially in New York City, so local expertise in anticipating problem areas before they turn red on the app provides a huge advantage in major destination event and meeting cities.
3. Be creative with arrival transportation if attendees are flying in around the same time. If your meeting is in a location which is a draw for celebrities, major world leaders and/or major sporting events, even the most robust helicopter services will, at best, face compromised air space during some events, and at worst, be completely grounded. If attendees arrive at an airport like JFK or LGA, consider a water-based private transportation component from a nearby dock to Manhattan or Brooklyn. It is a great value-added luxury component with spectacular views and networking opportunities.
4. Consider unique staging areas if your attendees are attending a major event. Instead of facing rush-hour traffic or taking the subway to an event like the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament, consider a close, off-site staging area for car and limo bus services that easily connect to more convenient and faster regional rail.
Of course, event and meeting transportation is not always defined as a logistical challenge to avoid bottlenecks. It can also be a fun part of the event, or the event itself.
Transportation that enhances an amazing event.
What if your meeting wants to make transportation a key component of a major corporate event? We have found ways in New York City to feature transportation up the Hudson River, an area which has a myriad of different activity options to consider, from golfing, to wine-tasting. A cruise up the Hudson makes for an infinitely more scenic means of transportation than if using ground transportation. That is an hour and a half attendees will always remember.
When transportation IS the event.
In a company’s quest to find new and unusual venues to hold meetings and events, an ocean cruise or even a river journey aboard a vessel is definitely a memorable option.
For meetings, groups are given their own specific areas on cruises if they don’t rent the entire vessel, and generally the meeting, and food and beverage component complement each other in terms of location. However, a cruise provides a unique opportunity for guests to enjoy both the outside and the inside of the ship.
For large meeting and association groups, we recently orchestrated a 10-boat flotilla on the Hudson River for a destination meeting group that ended up at the Statue of Liberty, where attendees were treated to a customized firework show. We also organized a cruise from Lower Manhattan to Liberty State Park, which included character performers re-enacting life as immigrants coming to Ellis Island.
There is also a greater networking possibility with water and cruise meetings. The focus is not only on the event or meeting at hand, but also an opportunity for guests to enjoy some destination highlights. In New York City, we often incorporate a dinner or lunch cruise during an incentive or meeting. We believe it is important for clients to appreciate our city from all perspectives, and a perspective from the water is an important one that offers an appreciation of the scope and majesty of the city.
Carbon footprint sensitive event transportation.
For event or meeting groups that are looking to be sensitive to their carbon footprint, and global warming, most major cities have transportation vendors that provide major deliverables in this space that include: Greenhouse Gas Inventories; Environmental Sustainability Strategies; CSR and CDP Reports; Supply Chain Analysis; Environmental Software for event attendees; and Carbon Offset Projects as team-building ideas for attendees.
Transportation that leads to attendee and group prosperity.
If you are managing a real estate group meeting or event, you might want to consider including a tour of potential investment opportunities in relevant neighborhoods that may be the next big thing in urban housing. Even if your group is not real-estate centric, doing tours in up-and-coming neighborhoods is a value-added component for high-achievers who are active investors in new income opportunities or second properties.
Transportation for executives.
Transportation for executive retreats has evolved. Private yachts can now be used as conference rooms with celebrity chefs and opportunities for collaboration. The luxury helicopter market is also evolving, with many companies offering luxury amenities while on-board. And we are not simply talking about rides to and from airports. Helicopters in New York City are taking executives to upstate retreats, golf events at iconic courses, and to Eastern Long Island.
Adventure transportation that transports attendees between team-building venues.
Adventure transportation can be utilized for team-building ideas such as bikes for winery tours. Attendees love bonding while biking from winery to winery and enjoying spectacular scenery.
Overall, embrace your event transportation as part of destination meetings instead of dreading it. It might be the attendees’ favorite part of the entire trip.
What are your top event transportation tips? Add them in the comment section below, and please do us a little favor. Share this post with others, for there’s a good chance that it will help them as they go about planning their meeting and events.
Our guest author:
Founder, Shackman Associates New York, a Manhattan-based Destination Management Company