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PHOTO/ILLUSTRATION: RON RENNELLS, LCT ART DIRECTOR
Picking up a CEO at the airport is simple enough, but when he’s followed off the plane by 40 to 50 of his people on their way to a convention taking place in three different locations, with everyone staying at a different hotel, you want to make sure you have properly planned for every scenario. And there are many ways to do that.
We recently had the privilege of working with Plaza Limousine and the Boston Red Sox on the gala event surrounding the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park. We had to coordinate pickup and delivery of 150 former Red Sox players, take them from the airport to the numerous hotels they were staying at, then over to Fenway Park, and then the process had to be reversed. Add into the equation the fact that every player had a Red Sox representative shadowing them and you could see the potential for a logistical nightmare. At one point we had more than 60 vehicles in motion around the city at the same time — pretty much creating our own mini rush hour.
Still, everything ran like clockwork. The Boston Red Sox, an incredibly organized corporation, enabled us to see the big picture as much in advance as possible, thus eliminating any surprises. Dealing with large groups takes precision, organization, and exact planning.
Get the big picture
For starters, know what’s going on in your area that might warrant your services. One of the best ways is to be in constant contact with the local convention board, visitors’ bureau and chambers of commerce. Usually nothing of any significance comes into the city without them knowing it first. And if you are a member of any of these organizations, there’s a good chance you will have the opportunity to present an RFP for services.
The key here is to make sure what you offer is what you can handle. Know how many vehicles you can provide and have a back-up plan ready in the shape of reliable contractors who can quickly pick up the slack. Measure twice and cut once, because chances are if you mess up with this client you are going to get “cut” out quickly the next time.
The best way to get a handle on a particular job involving a large incoming group is to try and deal directly with the travel agency handling the incoming flights. That way you will be able to obtain from them a complete itinerary of who’s arriving and when, on what airline, and where they are staying. If you can do this, and are able to import it directly into your ground transportation software, you are way ahead of the game. The alternative is that your contact information is given to the incoming guests who will be calling you, not a scenario you want as you have no control over how many people you are picking up, when they are coming in, etc.