MARLTON, N.J. — Destination management companies (DMC) who regularly buy transportation for their clients recently told LCT about some of the trends they observe in group transportation:
Ed Beeman, President, USA Host Florida:
"Groups, in general, are smaller. Transportation is still in the mix for our clients but they are using more buses and minibuses than previously. They also are booking the transportation much later. The windows for pick up also are expanding. What once was a 15-minute interval for pick ups is now 30-45 minutes. We still see VIPs traveling in Town Cars separately. We are also not seeing as much of a push on sustainability as we did this time last year. Many groups, rather than cancel, have postponed their programs until later this year."
Jan Zirkle, Operations Manager, Bring It On Dallas:
"A lot of our clients are telling participants to take taxis on the way in and consolidating the departure. This is especially the case for hotels which are close to the airport. Clients are coming forward much later than they have in the past. Because everyone is facing large penalties for cancelations of rooms in hotels, we see later bookings as planners try to refine their numbers before committing funds. The process in general gets pushed back. The number of staff is being well scrutinized by the clients. We need a good understanding of our airports in order to explain the nuances to the client. We have had to become much more creative with our staffing. Our business is down this year compared to the same period last year. The pharmaceutical market is still strong, but it is being more conservative and watching itself. We still have had the broad spectrum of clients but fewer and smaller groups. Incentive travel essentially has vanished during the past year. Tours also are down substantially. We believe that things will start going back soon. Clients still need to do the business. We think that we will end the year much stronger."
MORE NEXT WEEK. . . .IN DRIVING FORCE
Source: Linda Moore, LCT Magazine