Many meetings offer airport transportation for their delegates. Arriving in strange cities, and in large airports in particular, can be very confusing at best. So from a meeting planner’s perspective it’s a nice service to offer airport transportation. And as part of that service most often meet and greet staff are included. In the past I’ve worked with planners who wanted to offer livery services but they didn’t want to budget for meet and greet staff. They argued that their delegates could make their own way to the airport limo. In my experiences that’s the recipe for disaster. And I’ll explain why below.
Meet and Greet Staff Are the First Faces Delegates See upon Arrival
On the surface there doesn’t seem anything wrong with providing airport transportation without having staff on hand. But what many planners sometimes overlook is that there are many factors that are beyond one’s control with airport transportation. Airline arrival and departure times often change and sometimes without any notice. And weather can also wreak havoc on a well organized flight manifest. And this is where the airport meet and greet staff can be most vital to a program.
Yes limousine companies do monitor the arrival and departure boards but quite often the information that is posted is not updated in a timely manner. Also many livery companies have policies that once a flight has touched down they’ll keep the cars on standby for up to an hour and then release them without notice. Without meet and greet staff monitoring and communicating with the livery company this can cause confusion and frustration for the delegates.
Meet and greet staff are stationed at the airport and can react, and rectify, situations quickly. It’s because of this quick thinking, and behind the scenes actions, that allow everything to run smoothly. Well as smoothly as possible when you’re dealing with large airports and multiple airlines. And with most major airports the transportation vehicles are not permitted to be parked curbside prior to the passengers’ arrival. There are designated areas for prearranged transportation where the passengers need to be escorted. It’s only then that the cars can be called up to the curb. That process alone can be confusing for inexperienced travelers.
The cost for meet and greet staff is nominal compared to the overall cost of offering Airport transportation. There are ways to trim budgets. But I strongly believe that cutting staff is not the way to do it. Group a couple of delegates together in one car, or several delegates arriving around the same time can be transferred in a minivan, etc.
Check out this related article on event staffing: Tour Guides and On-Site Staff: the Backbone of an Event