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The hard work that goes into making an event fun, relaxed and useful for guests can sometimes be blighted if their experience before and after the occasion is an irksome one.
This doesn’t mean you have to hand-deliver a hamper to every attendee. It does mean, though, that you should consider how people are going to arrive and leave. Besides that, taking care of transport means you’re doing your best to keep everyone safe – especially after a boozy event. Legally (for your boss) and morally (for your guests), this is a good thing.
In town, the obvious choice is taxis. No one likes hanging around in the cold. There are plenty of companies who offer corporate bookings, with the capacity to get even the largest parties back to their beds. The larger providers have event teams on hand, with a representative able to recce the venue before the event kicks off. This can remove the stress of having to organise things like pick-up points and traffic plans yourself.
Organising an easy-book service will make guests’ departure swift and painless, but don’t underestimate the benefits of taking care of the bill either. If footfall is a priority, putting on a free service will dramatically increase your numbers.
When taxis just don’t cut it, whether in terms of logistics or budget, coaches are a solid option. Corporate coach hire companies offer comfortable fleets in a wide range of sizes, from 12-seat luxury vehicles to small (29), medium (50) and double decker (74) coaches.
A good operator can advise on the best options for your event and will also help draw up routes and calculate travel times. It may sound obvious, but remember that the longer your journey, the more comforts you’ll need – refreshments, a lavatory and entertainment. If there is no loo onboard, you’ll need to schedule in stops every two hours.
With everyone facing the same way, a coach is an obvious place to hold a meeting – as long as it’s got the right AV equipment – so make sure you check what kind of kit is included. A PA system, DVD player and Wi-Fi capability are all worth looking out for, as are individual reading lights for night-time travel.
If you’re looking to shift a large group from one city centre to another, hiring a train carriage can be both a practical and novel way to travel. Most of the major rail operators offer a group-booking service. Aside from cutting down on travel time – London to Manchester in just over two hours – you can use the journey to good effect by organising an on-board meeting or informal drinks reception.
This article was first published in Square Meal Venues & Events Guide 2013.