As we wrap up the first quarter of 2021, our industry can finally feel the tide turning and we can begin approaching the rest of 2021 with palatable enthusiasm. The pace of vaccination is accelerating in the U.S. and some states are starting to reopen, easing gathering restrictions and making many business leaders optimistic about planning in-person events in the fall. Many events have transitioned from “how are we going to make it another year without an event?” to “how are we going to pull this off with just a few months of planning?”. We promise you are not alone. All aspects of our industry are feeling the same pressure. We felt that we would take some time to offer some of the following advice in regard to transportation.
No doubt, the busing industry landscape has changed due to the pandemic and while many operators are eager to return to business as usual and begin the recovery process, some challenges are bound to affect the decision-making process for both the bus operators and clients alike. Below are a few things to consider as we explore the return of events in 2021.
- Condensed scheduling and resources
Many events originally planned for the first half of 2021 are currently being moved to the fall – which we are thrilled to see. And existing events planned for the fall time frame are moving forward with in-person gatherings. This means a very busy fall season for destinations, hotels and trade show venues.
If your organization is planning to host an in-person event this fall, don’t wait to make transportation arrangements. Put out an RFP as soon as possible to select vendors who meet your availability, budget, and safety requirements. Bus companies and other event vendors need plenty of advance notice in order to finalize insurance plans, organize operations, and manage driver re-hiring and training programs.
- Protocol Planning
At TMS, we understand that there is still uncertainty when it comes to budgeting and planning events as it relates to COVID-19 safety protocols. It is very important to begin these conversations early with your vendors. Many protocols have extensive budgetary implications, and it is very important to have discussions to explore both practical and optical implications. Not only do some of these decisions impact the buses and passengers, but the onsite footprint required for many of the safety protocols will impact other aspects of the event. While the guidelines remain fluid, we have continued to update our COVID-19 safety protocols and continuously update them as we gear them to the event space.
- Flexibility and Budgeting
Have discussions with all your prospective vendors. Each vendor finds itself in a distinct position as we begin to make our way out of the last year. Get creative and ask questions. Many vendors are willing to work with you and stay within the confines of a mutually beneficial partnership. As an example, we have also developed a transportation “Planning Pledge” for 2021 that is designed to offer you as much flexibility and peace of mind as possible including:
- Flexible deposit and payment terms
- Budget consultation for both full and partial attendance
- Covid-19 mitigation consultation (current testing techniques, social distancing scenarios, and additional FF&E requirements)
Are you planning an event for later this year? Get in touch with TMS for more information.