How to Utilize Ridesharing for Your Events

How to Plan a Meeting

You're hosting a major conference or convention. Although most events take place at the convention center or at your host hotel, you've planned a special reception at an off-site venue across town. The program is spectacular, but you can't help worrying: Will people actually show up for it? After all, the forecast is calling for rain, and the venue's distance might persuade some attendees to just stay in their room and order room service instead.

It's a common conundrum at many meetings. But Eventbrite author Rachel Grate has a solution: ridesharing.

"As much as they love the promise of a fun event, people have no problem bailing last minute if they just don't feel like going," Grate writes in a post for Eventbrite's blog, in which she says 47 percent of Americans every month flake on events they had planned to attend. "If an attendee has to walk to public transportation in the rain or fight for parking by the venue, many won't bother."

Event-sponsored ridesharing makes it less likely that attendees will bail because it ensures they have convenient, comfortable and complimentary transportation. "For attendees, rideshare is preferable to alternatives like shuttle buses, because it gives them agency over their own experience getting to and from events," Grate explains. "They can come and go as they please, without having to stick around waiting for the next scheduled shuttle."

Both Lyft and Uber offer ridesharing for business events. Lyft lets planners set up a "ride code" in the Lyft app in order to subsidize attendee transportation.

"Through, you can set a budget and create up to 500 ride codes that last for a week," Grate says. "To make sure attendees only use them for your event, specify the start and end times and limit the pickup and drop-off locations with geotagging. You can also decide exactly who can use these codes -- all attendees or just VIP guests, for instance."

If transportation subsidies aren't in your budget, you can still promote ridesharing to events by establishing specific pickup and dropoff points at the convention center or host hotel. "Map your venue location on the Lyft app so it's clear to both drivers and riders where to go for rides," Grate advises. "And communicate all of this clearly via your email campaigns, website and FAQs."

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