Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

March 30 2015

Will This New Service Transform The Way Convention Attendees Travel?

By David McMillin

Each year, more than 160,000 attendees come together in Las Vegas for the International Consumer Electronics Show to see the next wave of technology that will change the way people stay connected and companies do business. However, for the past two years, the innovative spirit hasn’t been confined to the show floor inside the Las Vegas Convention Center. It was also impacting one of the most important pieces of the attendee experience: the taxi line outside the center’s doors.

With so many attendees, waiting for a taxi at CES can be agonizing. Bandwagon, a Brooklyn-based alternative transit company, has been making some big strides in reducing that congestion by matching attendees who are heading in the same direction with each other. The service is simple. A user downloads the app, searches for people nearby who are heading the same way and meets the match. The riders can then easily split the fare, and Bandwagon suggests appropriate amounts based on the distance each of them travel.

“The lines at CES can be so long, especially at the end of the day,” Sarah Bacon, Strategic Communications & Marketing Director, Bandwagon, says. “The organizers really wanted to incentivize people to share rides.”

In addition to the convention center, Bandwagon partnered with McCarran International Airport and 20 hotels in Las Vegas in 2015. To ensure that attendees understood how to use the service, Bacon says that Bandwagon representatives monitored the taxi line and offered assistance to waiting passengers who needed help downloading the app and learning how to make their match.

SEE ALSO: Uber Looks To Cash In On Conventions

Other Venues Hopping On The Bandwagon

The attendees in the massive crowd at CES aren’t the only ones taking advantage of Bandwagon. Bacon says the company will be partnering with three upcoming shows at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, conferences at New York City’s Javits Center and the National Broadcasters Convention in Las Vegas. For many attendees, the convention center line won’t be the first time they see the Bandwagon brand, either. The company already operates at Newark International Airport, and Bacon says that plans to offer ride-sharing services at other major Northeast airports are in the works.

SEE ALSO: Convention Center Covers Attendee Transportation Costs

Answering The Need For More Networking

In addition to the clear benefits of saving time, money and carbon emissions, Bandwagon is built to help meetings deliver on the promise of networking opportunities in an environment that doesn’t feel as forced as a cocktail mixer. Attendees are always looking for ways to meet, greet and strike up casual conversations.

“People love it,” Bacon says. “You get to network with like-minded people, and that’s a real selling point for conferences. This is a way of connecting the community of attendees in a much more organic way.”

Have you used Bandwagon before? Think your attendees would be interested in using the service? Click here to share your thoughts on Catalyst about this transit alternative.

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