If you’re like many, you might not have given transportation much thought in the context of events. Transportation is a means to an end, and most of us tend not to give it much thought until it’s 2 A.M. and the Uber driver is late (or right on time and won’t stop talking- even worse in our estimation). But mode of transportation actually affects the experience of an event in quite a few impactful ways. Statistical trends and data analysis in event planning tell us a lot about the culture of the generation we’re driving around.
Millennials make up the highest percentage of the event population for most event planning businesses. Unless you’ve been living in a cardboard box, we’re sure you’ve noticed that most have embraced the ridesharing trend. But have you ever thought about why? The widespread love affair with ridesharing actually tells us a lot about the cultural shifts that have occurred since the 80s and 90s. In recent earlier decades, going places in style meant cruising around in the trendiest, most expensive cars young people could afford. Now out with the Audis (or whatever semblance of luxury we could afford) and in with ridesharing. How did we get from there to here- and what does it mean for the event industry?
The Ridesharing Generation Cares More about Quality Experiences than Possessions
The rideshare generation cares notably less about acquiring possessions than having quality experiences. And ridesharing enables these experiences by making it easier to get around in brief amounts of time. In a massive survey curated by Lyft, more than half of riders said that they’re more likely to explore their city if ridesharing is an option. That statistic alone speaks volumes about how valuable an asset ridesharing is to the event industry.
Ridesharing also makes it easier to make spontaneous decisions to go out or leave one scene for another without the hassle of parking and traffic. Think about the last time you drove into the city or even navigated your way around downtown on a busy Friday night. Sometimes the parking process alone takes hours and costs up to $40 or more. If you can already feel the cozy warmth of your bed calling you just reading this paragraph, you’re in good company. Like we said, a reported more than 50% of riders are more likely to explore their city if they don’t have to deal with these hassles.
Ridesharing Lets Millennials Do Events on their Own Terms
That’s important for a number of reasons. It’s no secret that the current generation is the busiest yet. If millennials- and most of the working population- could collectively pick a superpower, it would be the ability to be in two (or three or four) places at once. Hands down. If that sounds exhausting, it’s because it is! That’s why so many of us would rather skip an event or a night out altogether than waste what precious free time we do have on traffic and tolls. (Not to mention the precious little money we do have, which most millennials want to spend on experiences that enrich their lives, careers, and yes- their social media profiles. In fact, for many millennials, the main reason to attend events is self-expression. What they’re out and about doing shows the world who they are and what they care about. Going to a variety of events-and sharing them with their friends and social media followings- is a way of connecting to the cultures and industries they want to be a part of.
Also, let’s not forget that this is the generation of entrepreneurs. More and more young people are breaking out of the old, limiting cycles of working for large corporations to create their own varied, exciting careers on their terms. Ridesharing makes it easier to get from event to event in the space of one day or night, which in turn makes networking easier. This generation also wants the freedom to opt out of one event and choose another at the last minute. And they don’t want to be inconvenienced in the process. Did you know that 4 out of 5 Americans have said they will ditch an event they’ve already purchased tickets to if the transportation is difficult? Statistically, that’s huge. Ultimately, millennials are doing their best to life on their own terms, and ridesharing is helping make it possible.
Because young people no longer care about status symbols nearly as much as they did in previous decades, they’re less likely to purchase cars- especially those who live and work in congested cities. A study by Arity, a Chicago transportation technology and data company just two years ago, showed that more than half of adults between the ages of 22 and 37 say a car isn’t worth the maintenance costs that come with it. Besides, the cost of living (and cars) has increased exponentially in millellennials’ lifetime. The truth is that this generation is increasingly unable to afford a car while paying off student loans and hashing out money for rent every month. Those of us do own homes have to contend with much higher home ownership expenses than previous generations.
Speaking of money, it goes without saying that ridesharing means you don’t have to carry cash to get around. That’s a major convenience factor for everyone who uses Uber, Lyft, or other ridesharing apps. But millennials in particular don’t like to carry cash, so they especially appreciate this convenience.
Ridesharing Helps Drunk Drivers Off the Road
Although statistics don’t give a wholly definitive answer to exactly how much ridesharing decreases drunk driving incidents, common sense and statistics show that the decrease has been significant. In Las Vegas, Portland, Oregon, and San Antonio, Texas, Uber launched, ceased operations, and then resumed again. Was the number of drunk driving incidents decreased during the time periods when Uber was in business? The results showed that alcohol-related crashes decreased when Uber resumed its services in Portland and San Antonio. In fact, in Portland, ridesharing has led to a 60 percent decrease in drunk driving incidents. Another study revealed a 25 to 35 percent reduction in alcohol-related car crashes since Uber arrived in New York City in 2011, in comparison with places where Uber does not operate.
An important, positive trend among millennials: They’re very aware of their health and safety needs, and are vocal about being unwilling to put themselves at risk by driving while intoxicated. And ridesharing has provided an option to those who still might risk it: A Lyft survey reported that nearly three quarters of rides say they’re less likely to drive when impaired because of Lyft. Evidently, people are proactively using ridesharing to keep off the road when intoxicated. This is especially important when you consider that accidents result from drivers who reason that they’re just “a little intoxicated”, and can drive safely if they just make an extra effort to be alert. With the advent of ridesharing apps, people are less likely to make this poor judgement because there is another option.
How to Make Ridesharing Easy at Your Next Event
Sure, your attendees can call for their own rides, but sometimes drop-off and pick-up spots get a little harried and confusing- especially at bigger events or in crowded areas. To avoid the madness for you and your attendees, it’s a good idea to designate a spot for rideshare pick-ups and drop-offs. Obviously, this spot should be within the shortest possible distance of your venue and other nearby attractions. These might include restaurants, coffee shops, or even other live events that attendees might want to jump to and from.
Making it easy to get from your event to others doesn’t take the spotlight off of yours and highlight the competition. Rather, it takes into account that attendees like to feel free to go from place to place at their convenience- and ensures that traffic from other events flows in your direction, too. Just be sure to keep the flow of traffic in mind. It doesn’t pay to set up your ridesharing pick-up/drop-off spot smack in the middle of traffic, even if it’s the closest location to your venue. The last thing you want to do is cause more traffic and make it harder for people to get into your event. Even if they’re travelling via Uber or Lyft, they’re not going to be happy if they miss half the event because getting in was like trying to climb the Great Wall of China.
It’s a good rule of thumb to ask someone at your venue about traffic flow in the area at the time of your event. More than likely, they’ll be able to suggest a conveniently located spot that isn’t too blocked by traffic to ensure a smooth ride. In busier cities this is more complicated, of course. But the venue owners, managers, and coordinators know the logistics of the area, and navigate them often for events; they should be able to make reasonable suggestions.
You can let your attendees know where the designated drop-off/pick-up spot is by creating custom ride codes with Uber or Lyft. When you use the Uber app, you’ll receive an email with a link or promo codes that you can share with your guests. What we like about Uber ride codes is that they’re easy to share with guests. Guests can claim their ride pass by clicking on a “Claim My Ride” link or by simply entering the promo code into their Uber app.
Uber and Lyft both accommodate very large events, too. If your event requires you to purchase more than $10,000 worth of ride passes, or your event will run on a long-term basis, you contact Uber to help you set up ridesharing. With Lyft Events, you can go to their website and be guided through an easy, step-by-step “Create Your Event” process. After you’ve entered your details and purchased your code, you can click on “Share Your Event” and be guided through a few simple steps to share your code with guests. On the day of your event, guests will be able to request a ride in just minutes by entering the code.