I am currently working on a meeting in Las Vegas, Nev. — a destination where nearly all my attendees will be either flying or driving in for the event. Once they land, they will need transportation from the airport (and back again), to an offsite group trip, as well as options for exploring the city outside of the venue.
Another event I’m working on is a citywide concert in San Jose, Calif. Nearly all the attendees live locally and are looking to move around the city by alternative means of transportation. Either they will be driving to the downtown area, parking their car in one place and moving around the city in various ways or taking public transportation to the event and continuing to move around the city on the same system.
The two events require very different transportation systems as well as different approaches to achieving sustainability goals. Below are two sets of green transportation suggestions based on the previous examples that also can apply to your meetings and events, as diverse as they may be.
Corporate meeting transportation tips:
- Pick a destination that has a great availability of direct flights into its local airport.
- Work with travel partners to book as many delegates on the same flights as possible.
- Search for eco-friendly transportation providers that can handle your group.
- Ask about bio-diesel shuttles, hybrid sedans and fleets with newer vehicles.
- Establish, when possible, a “no idle” policy for trucks, cars, vans and buses.
- When a company already has a “no idle” policy in place, request information on how it is enforced.
- Provide public transportation information to attendees including passes, maps, and directions.
- Set up rideshare or carpooling sign-up options through the event’s social networking structure.
Citywide music festival transportation tips:
- Provide public and alternative transportation information on event marketing and website.
- Offer incentive programs for attendees using alternative means of transportation.
- Map out key locations and simple ways to get from point to point.
- Offer a “concert day pass” for savings on public transportation fares.
- Organize shuttles (hybrid or bio-diesel) to and from key sites to the event venues.
- Provide secure bike parking or a bike valet.
- Contract with a pedi-cab/rickshaw company to be available to attendees.
- Set up a bike share program for attendees to pick up bikes and drop them off at venues and select points.
The key to achieving your meeting/event sustainability goals is integration of systems specifically designed for your event that can be implemented seamlessly. A bicycle program or pedi-cabs may not make sense for your executive board retreat, but they could be a great sponsorship opportunity for a festival or concert. Plan what makes sense and is within budget for your green programs to be a success.
Johanna Walsh is an eco-event planner and consultant based in San Francisco and New York City. She is the founder and manager of Twirl Management, a firm that develops and promotes environmentally responsible opportunities for events. Twirl is a Certified Green Business by the City & County of San Francisco. Walsh sits on the Board of Directors for the Northern California Chapter of the Green Meeting Industry Council.