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Managing Ground Transport and Complex Itineraries: A Guide for Hotels


by Mike Fogarty
November 8, 2012

Hotel professionals often rely on meeting planners and other third parties to manage ground transportation and complex offsite itineraries for larger groups staying on property.

However in many cases, there is no meeting planner or DMC involved - and a hotel concierge, sales team or front desk manager can be required to provide support. In some cases, a group could require an itinerary as simple as transportation to or from a local entertainment venue or business district.

In other circumstances, the stakes could be higher -- and the hotel could be asked to support a key customer, like a CEO or company's senior management team, in the execution of a transportation program requiring confidentiality and discretion in managing logistics, complex itinerary execution, and specialty vehicles.

What are the keys to providing a safe, efficient, cost-effective ground transportation program in a hotel's local market? And how can hotel staff work directly with ground transportation providers to ensure a safe, seamless experience?

From our experience at Tristar, here are some of the keys to success:

1.  Strong logistical management skills, and experience in the market
 
Whoever your ground transport provider is, the provider should be familiar with local market conditions – weather, traffic patterns, availability of alternative routes -- and should be adept at managing a broad range of itineraries, ranging from the simplest to the most complex.

When speaking with prospective providers, ask them for information on the volume of local business they handle, and for specifics on the kinds of events they manage.
 
2.  Access to a wide range of vehicle types
 
“One size does not fit all” in the world of ground transportation, and not every type of vehicle is suitable for every group.

Check to make sure your provider provides a wide range of vehicles and has a flexible fleet, to accommodate your needs on short notice as well as in advance.

3.  Effective Communications
 
It’s critical that a ground transport provider be equipped to communicate and manage multiple pick up and drop off times, and be able to understand and communicate detailed pick up instructions.

Traveling is a complex business, with evolving and changing itineraries, shifting meeting times, and last minute scheduling requirements. Make sure your ground transport provider can respond quickly, and efficiently, to your changing travel needs -- and  can complete the communications chain necessary, to get the job done.
 
4.  Billing
 
It’s frustrating to deal with multiple billing sources, or receive separate, hard to understand invoices from transport. This can often translate into a waste of time, and an increase in administrative cost, for you, your staff, or for your guest.

Billing should be easy, and transparent. Make sure your ground transport partner offers one contact and seamless service – from reservations through final invoicing.
 
5.  Personalization

As in all areas of travel today, the watchword is personalizing the guest experience.

If the traveler prefers to be greeted in one location over another, or prefers special routings or another kind of offering, it is your duty, and ours, to keep him satisfied.

Choose a ground transport provider with the breadth and flexibility to offer the kinds of services you need, the way your guests want them delivered.

In doing so, you will have helped ensure the success of your customer’s meeting or program, enhanced their stay, and perhaps, helped your hotel acquire that most valuable of all assets – a repeat guest.

About the author

Mike Fogarty is the U.S. CEO of Tristar Worldwide Chauffeur Services, an international ground transport provider with owned operations and corporate offices in London, Manchester, Boston, New York and Hong Kong, Tristar delivered more than 500,000 trips in more than 80 countries in 2011, and employs teams of chauffeurs in those cities. It operates through a network of highly trained and qualified affiliates in more than 80 countries worldwide.  http://us.tristarworldwide.com/
.
Contact: 

Michael Frenkel, MFC PR – New York
For Tristar Worldwide Chauffeur Services
(212) 808-6559
michael@mfcpr.com

 


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