Events could be the next sector to get shaken up by the ‘sharing economy’. Should established players be quaking? We investigate
Words: Stuart Derrick
San Francisco-based transport app Uber has become a poster child for the sharing economy since it launched in 2010, with the remarkably simple idea that you can summon a cab through an app, then have it billed direct to your credit card. Now it has locked onto the meetings industry with the Uber Events service.
Event hosts can purchase rides for attendees, in the form of guest passes, ahead of time. They can then customise the guest passes with a date, time and promotion code. Guests enter the code into the Uber app and request a ride to or from an event. The tool also allows planners to set up restrictions, such as limiting the amount of spend per ride or geofencing – meaning they can only travel in certain areas.
Uber’s main competitor, Lyft, also offers an events service. The company has not yet entered the UK, but there are rumours that 2017 is its year of international expansion. Lyft Events offers a similar service to Uber, and can return unused credits to planners.
For those who don’t want to wait for Uber or Lyft, there are car alternatives, such as Addison Lee, which has an events department. Organisers who book more than 15 cars are assigned a dedicated events transport planner, so there is a named person to deal with. The company also says it can develop a bespoke service plan for any type of event, and provide on-site coordinators to direct traffic and pedestrians – a feature that you won’t get from a sharing-economy player.
London taxi marshalls are another option. These are licensed taxi drivers who help to flag down black cabs for events. In advance of the event, they publicise it to cabbies, so that there should be plenty of cars available on the night.
APP WATCH: SHOWSLICE
A one-stop approach to creating small, budget-conscious events
Organisers of smaller-scale events can lack the knowledge and experience of more established event professionals, and their budgets are also tighter. Step forward Hiroes.
Co-founded by Raphaël Scemama and Salomé Houta (pictured right), the site is a one-stop shop for event organisers, automating venue finding and sourcing other skills such as catering, entertainment and photography. Many of them have passion rather than huge amounts of formal experience, admits Scemama, and prices reflect this.
‘It’s aimed at individuals organising parties, as well as small businesses who don’t have huge budgets. We’re starting to get a lot of start-ups using us for networking and entrepreneurial events. We hope that we can grow with them.’
Click here to find out what the sharing economy means for venues, and here to find out what it means for catering
This article was first published in SquareMeal Venues + Events, Spring/Summer 2017