Will Your Special Event Transportation Be Changed By UberEVENTS?
Last week Uber announced a new service for event planners named UberEVENTS. The concept is simple: anyone having a party or special event creates an event through the Uber app, and receives ride tickets to distribute to guests. The guest can then use the ticket’s code when requesting the Uber head to --and later from--the gathering. The host is later billed for the rides that are used by guests.
Question is - when and where will Uber’s new service be a good option for transporting attendees to/from your event or wedding?
I asked some of the transportation design experts here at Brilliant to weigh the pros and cons of UberEVENTS.
Uber has done an excellent job of taking a plain vanilla product and making it cheaper and more convenient. If your event transportation budget is tight and the number of attendees at your event is low then UberEVENTS will probably save you money. That said, it all depends on the circumstances of your event. For example, if all of your guests are departing to the same hotel then it still might be more cost effective to charter a luxury minibus.
In the planning stage Uber can save you time and energy to focus on other parts of the event. It seems extremely simple to set up the event on the app and distribute tickets/discount codes to guests. Billing also seems to be quite painless and I can personally attest that Uber’s customer service is quick and responsive.
McDonald’s built an empire by globally producing average food consistently. I feel that Uber is doing the same here. However, there is a ton of variability that Uber will always have a tough time controlling. Let’s talk about the things you can rely on Uber to deliver and the things you can’t.
Arrival time: When a user requests an Uber the estimated arrival time is pretty spot on.
Vehicle Type: Uber does a decent job at making sure the vehicles its drivers use are new
Cleanliness: Obviously Uber cars are reused throughout the day. Sometimes you’ll get in a spotless car, other times it’s filthy.
Knowledgeable/Professional Drivers: The vetting process for Uber drivers is light. You’ll never be able to guarantee all of your attendees receive a knowledgeable driver that knows where they’re going. In almost all cases you won’t receive a driver that has been trained in hospitality or considered a “professional chauffeur.”
While electing to use Uber will certainly save you time in the planning phase it can come back to cause a major headache on the day of your event. Two main reasons why:
Often times when I personally use Uber, the driver has a difficult time locating me once he’s in my general vicinity. This usually ends up with him having to give me a call and having me walk across the street to him. That’s not a huge problem for me, and certainly still worth the convenience. However, imagine 100 people waiting for an Uber, having to call the driver, and locating the vehicle among a sea of identical vehicles. This would certainly result in a logistical nightmare and it’s probably not the last impression you want to give your attendees.
No Central Dispatch/Point of Contact
Another problem with the scenario above is you would have no one to call and handle the situation. Essentially you would be going into the event with no backup plan of attack. Having a central dispatch will give you that peace of mind.
Uber is convenient, but definitely doesn’t enhance the event’s experience. If a service doesn’t add any value then people will default to whatever is the cheapest/most convenient. As an event planner you have probably found out transportation companies tend to be unreliable, not innovative, and not hospitable. It’s natural to default to the convenient option, Uber. However, a Transportation Design Agency can design transportation based on your needs so your guests have a remarkable first and last impression of your event.
I touched on this above but it’s worth noting that inconsistency with hospitality and cleanliness is something that should definitely be calculated when weighing the pros and cons. It all depends on the experience you want your attendees to receive at your event.
No On-site Coordination
This one is huge for us here at Brilliant. Often we see poor judgment caused by budget considerations whereby the planner will use multiple junior staffers to coordinate and dispatch all of the transportation. However, that is not their expertise and they are unfamiliar with the vehicles, the chauffeurs, the routing, difficult conditions that may delay the service such as poor lighting or one lane bridges, etc.
The problem with using Uber in this scenario is not only are the drivers flying blind, but they don’t even know the mission. To them, they see pickup and drop off. So even in a situation where you’ve hired a special event transportation company we highly recommend hiring an on-site coordinator, if using Uber, you’re really just hoping everything works out ok.
What do you think?
When, where, and how will UberEVENTS change your event transportation? Leave a comment below and let us know.
Also, if transportation is what keeps you up at night as an event planner then we encourage you to download our free eBook: “9 Reasons Why Event Transportation is a Nightmare (and how to fix it).”