This article originally apperead on go-brilliant.com.

I’m going to paint a picture for you.

You’re an event planner gathering all of your vendors for your next event. After discussing the concept and feel of the event to the vendors there’s one thing you’re still unsure about, event transportation.

So you go into the event day hoping the transportation goes well instead of knowing the transportation is taken care of.

This industry shortcoming seems to be a constant headache for experiential event planners like yourself.

However, there are ways to fix this problem and actually enhance your event 's transportation incorporating it into the overall feel of your event.


#1. Include Transportation Earlier in the Design Phase

Include is the keyword.

Often times we see event planners call transportation companies looking for certain vehicles to transport their guests. In reality, the type of vehicle is not the most important aspect of a successful ground transportation program. What’s most important is your attendees arrive in a certain fashion that’s consistent with the overall look and feel of the event.

“What does success look like?”

Typically other event vendors (photographer, band, venue, etc.) are included in the design phase and have a mutual understanding of what success looks like. From there, they’re left to execute on their own with oversight and checking in of course.

However with ground transportation there’s often a lot of insecurity or doubt and we think there’s an opportunity to build that relationship further.

This is a superior place to start.


#2. Plan for Variability

Every B2B partner you work with has some type variability, albeit it’s less obvious. With ground transportation the variability is extremely obvious (weather, car accidents, etc). However, all of these things can be planned far in advance resulting in a less stressful event day. Click here to learn about how Brilliant Transportation planned for weather variability at a large estate wedding in upstate New York.


#3. Understand Your Transportation Vendor

Typically transportation vendors are really good operators. Meaning, success to them looks much different than success to you and your team. Success to you is based on the experience, aesthetic, branding, etc.

Success from an operational standpoint is simply getting guests from A to B in time and within budget. While important, it leaves out a major piece of the puzzle - design and coordination.

So, when speaking with transportation vendors understand that their success may look different than your success and address is early.


#4. Don’t Consider Transportation “Behind the Curtain”

Generally, transportation is not regarded highly and associated with frustration. As such, planners like to keep it behind the curtain.

That can lead to problems because it sends the wrong message to your:

  1. Team
  2. Transportation Vendor
  3. Clients

If you partner with the right transportation company, then you can elevate it to the front of the house and make it a part of the event itself.


#5. Stress Hospitality to Your Transportation Vendor

As mentioned, most transportation vendors are operationally focused.

Don’t assume they know who your guests are or how important the event is. Be extremely transparent early on so all the drivers know who they’ll be transporting and how they should dress and act. If you sense any type of hesitation on their part then move on to the next one.

Even if they say all of the right things make sure you continue to stress hospitality and the importance in the upcoming days of the event.


#6. Don’t Plan for A to B Transport

If you’re blindly handing a manifest over to a transportation company to execute, that should raise a red flag. Just because a transportation vendor gets your guests to the venue doesn’t mean it was a success or great experience.

Imagine being at a restaurant and the food was bad. Now imagine the chef coming out to your table and saying “Well you’re full right? I did my job then.” It’s absurd, but we point that out because that’s essentially what happens with transportation.

Don’t just hand over a manifest to the transportation vendor that can get your guests to the venue at the lowest rate. Vet them, and find a vendor that is client focused or willing to listen to your design needs.


#7. Event Transportation is Not a Commodity. Budget Accordingly

Since transportation is typically thought of as “behind the curtain” as mentioned in point #4 it is looked at as an area to save money. If you look at the event or wedding transportation solely from a vehicle perspective then that should also raise a red flag.

When you select a videographer you’re not just looking at the type of gear they have available. When you book a caterer you don’t hire them based on the ingredients they have in their kitchen.

You book those vendors because of the service or product they create.

“You get what you pay for.”

We also see event planners wait until the last minute to book ground transportation and therefore most of the budget is already eaten up. We recently wrote a blog on why you shouldn’t wait to book transportation last - click here to view it.


#8. Hire Professional On-site Coordinators

Usually we see event planners assign someone junior within the agency to handle the on-site coordination. The problem with that is:

They’re just following a line item that’s been assigned to them

They don’t know how to communicate effectively with chauffeurs

Proper on-site coordination is one of the most crucial aspects to pulling off flawless event transportation. In fact, we feel so strongly about it that our President recently left his family vacation to fly out to Palm Springs California to be an on-site coordinator for a major wedding.

Brilliant Transportation has written about the importance of on-site coordinators extensively - click here to view a recent blog post “Why On-site Coordinators are Crucial to Your Experiential Event’s Success”


#9. Perform Dry Runs When Necessary

Brilliant Transportation recently wrote a blog post about when and where dry runs are necessary for an event - click here to learn more.

A dry run will eliminate a ton of questions before your event day. We find a dry run most helpful in a shuttle situation. Don’t make assumptions about how long the shuttle will take or you may end up in a nightmare situation similar to #Shuttlegate.

We recommend performing a dry run with the actual vehicles on the same day of the week as the event and during the same time. That way you’ll get an exact idea of how things will go on the event day and leave nothing up to chance.