Let's face it, most event planners aren't in the business of coordinating the actual logistics of shuttling event guests themselves. Ground transportation companies are hired to handle these logistics throughout a program. And if your event lasts several days, the details a tremendous.
A while back, probably around the early 1980s, transportation companies started working more closely with event planners, expanding the types of services they offer, and have evolved into what is now known as Destination Management Companies (DMC). These companies will partner with an event planner to develop and execute nearly every aspect of an event.
And even though event planners can do an effective job in managing transportation directly, it's a good thing to know that you are hiring a firm that manages transportation issues for all of its clients on a daily basis.
Why a DMC for transportation? Given their roots in the transportation business, most DMCs are excellent at arranging airport arrivals/departures, coordinating manifests, porterage, event transfers, and handling every transportation need. They will also recommend the most cost effective transportation options, including limousines, sedans, minicoaches, suburbans, vans, and motorcoaches.
Another reason to work through a DMC is because they focus their attention on knowing all transportation options in a given market. Most DMCs also know the drivers themselves.
Negotiating DMC transportation services. Following the flow of money, event planners will contract directly with a DMC who then subcontracts to various transportation companies. While the DMC views the event planner as his/her client, the transportation company perceives the DMC as its client -- even though the event planner and his/her organization is the ultimate transportation client.
Most DMCs are aware of the going rate for transportation services and provide their clients with a competitive and reasonable fee for services. Many DMCs structure their fees as follows:
- Flat percentage of total fees, between 15-20%.
- A minimum service fee plus projected transportation fees.
- Combination of both of the above.
Regardless, relying on a DMC is a wise use of time to assure that everyone is being transported appropriately and on time. Hiring a DMC makes sense whether your program is out of town or local. The investment also pays off by giving the event planner the gift of time to focus on their actual program activities.