Running coach travel for sports events is a great source of revenue, but it can be a lot more challenging than you think. Not only are you transporting large groups across the country (and beyond), you’re often doing it to a tight schedule. That’s why Sygnal put together this handy guide. If you’re already running services for sports events, what lessons have you learned? Let us know in the comments!
Hiring coach transport for sports events
So what’s different about coach travel for sports events as opposed to say, weddings, festivals, or corporate events? Well, that depends on the type of sporting event, and who you’re transporting. Transport for athletes is usually managed through the club or sporting body, while transport for sports fans is often managed by an individual or representative.
Both have their advantages and disadvantages. It’s down to the operator to establish the level of demand they can accommodate. It’s also worth remembering that vehicles will need rest periods for maintenance, cleaning and safety checks.
Pick up and drop-off
The secret to an efficient pick-up and drop-off process is in the planning. That means:
- Designate a pick-up-point well in advance
- Leave clear instructions on how to reach the pick-up point
- Set clear departure times
- Make sure both points are accessible to vehicles and passengers.
With the majority of sporting events held in urban areas, congestion can be a major issue. It’s vital operators take delays into account in advance – particularly as passengers who miss the start of an event are entitled to request a refund.
Most stadiums have their own designated drop-off zones. Operators must make sure their drivers know the location of these zones, and the process of drop-off and collection before and after the event.
With 38 games per season, running coach hire services to football fans is a great way to increase bookings. Building relationships with sports clubs could also lead to return bookings; a fantastic way of ensuring regular custom throughout the autumn and winter months.
Taking bookings for sports fans comes with its own unique opportunities. Whereas services for sports teams are usually organised on a contract basis, there’s no such guarantee with individual groups of fans. Offering deals to private passengers for booking multiple journeys at once (for instance, for all away games in a football season) can be a great way to gain return custom.
Seasonal sports events
Many, although not all, professional sports are seasonal. With the football season ending in May and beginning again in late August, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing – these off-months are also the most popular for weddings, overseas tours and corporate events.
Other sports have their own schedules. Get ahead of the competition by regularly updating your calendars with key dates and keeping an eye out for one off events. Running efficient and reliable transport services is all about managing demand, and that only works when you anticipate peak periods.
Overseas sports travel
Running international coach hire services can be a great source of revenue, but it also comes with added responsibility. If you don’t already, add an on-boarding process to ensure no passenger is left behind every time the vehicle stops. Likewise, clearly communicating boarding times keeps journeys on schedule.
International journeys also come with challenges in managing passengers over long distances. It goes without saying; driving long-distances without a functioning toilet is courting disaster. Couple this with the potential for passengers to consume alcohol on the journey and you have a recipe for angry passengers.
Additional revenue streams
Of course, where there are passengers, there’s an opportunity for additional revenue. Onboard advertising is a great way to boost income and develop new partnerships with local businesses.
Opportunities can range from advertising local bars and restaurants to official club merchandise. Of course, these partnerships are easier to establish when you have an official contract with a sports club, but that shouldn’t stop you from sourcing your own advertisers. You can also use the data from your onboard bus WiFi to make a case to advertisers.