Over the last 20 years, the meetings industry has made a conscious effort to become sustainable and efficient. Just about everything meeting-related has been branded “green,” from convention centers and hotels boasting new LEED certifications to big-name hotels offering sustainability-focused CSR programs and team-building activities. Now the full-service DMC Just Right!, which is based in Orlando and operates in every major city across the country, is spearheading an effort to further reduce waste in the industry through a completely paperless transportation program.
“For a typical event, we used to go through reams of paper between signage and manifests,” says Scott Mifsud, CMP, the company’s vice president of operations. “Now, everything lives in the clouds, or to be more specific, in the iCloud. If a change needs to be made, the staff can make the adjustment onsite and it’s automatically changed on everyone’s devices.”
The program originally began as a way to reduce paper by using the iPad as a name board for arrivals; however, it quickly hit a snag, as staff members complained that it was difficult to hold the device and manage paper lists of passenger information at the same time. In order to alleviate the problem, the DMC found a basic event registration app on iTunes and used it to keep track of attendee arrival locations and times.
Staff members are given access to a universal list of arrivals and can make notes as attendees are picked up. Notes and corrections are then automatically updated on everyone else’s device, ensuring that attendees are accounted for and confusion is reduced when hiccups such as flight delays occur. Organizers can also receive alerts via text message or email when specific individuals, such as VIPs, arrive, enabling planners to prepare a personalized welcome.
Just Right! used the program in September for a large group attending a sales meeting, with great success. Aided by 10 staff members, the company transported all 450 attendees from Orlando International Airport to their host hotel via shuttles without incident. “The attendees loved the professional appearance of the signage on the iPad, while our staff appreciated the ease in which the entire team was synced by the corresponding app,” says Mifsud. “Bottom line—it saved us money and time.”
In terms of going green, the die is cast. Expect other companies to follow Just Right!, improving what’s already available in creative ways. As Mifsud says, “You don’t have to be a hotel to be green—we used current technology to give us that ability and save our bottom line.”