First, Airbnb moved into the sports travel space, sponsoring the Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon. (This was after it unlocked tens of thousands of rooms in Rio during the World Cup.) It then elbowed its way into event planning with Airbnb for Business. Even Vacation Rentals By Owner (VRBO) has begun marketing to those who are attending sports events in resort cities in states like Florida. Now, the sharing economy is taking another step into event planning as ride apps Lyft and Uber have announced services that let event organizers, including meeting and sports planners, arrange transportation on behalf of their attendees.
Lyft Events, launched this month, is designed to make transportation easy and safe when guests will be imbibing, when parking is scarce, or when seamless transit is needed for clients to and from their hotel. It joins Uber, which launched UberEvents late last year.
Both services have tailored their apps accordingly. UberEvents works by allowing planners to create an event and for a small processing fee (estimated at approximately 2 percent of the total order), planners can set up discounted and/or fully paid ride passes for their attendees. Guests receive the passes (or codes) via e-mail, and can then use them via the Uber app on their smartphones.
Lyft Events works similarly; planners create an event on the site and choose a coupon code that can be sent to all attendees. Planners can add an event location to make ride credit available for pickups and drop-offs in only a specific area; an event time to make ride credit available only during a certain window before and/or after the event; and a transportation budget that specifies how much ride credit each guest will receive.
While Uber and Lyft have spent much time promoting their services in the convention and business sector, it remains to be seen how much influence they will have on the sports business marketplace. Certainly, Airbnb has already taken steps (the kind that pay) in that direction.