As Columbus continues to grow as a city and as a destination, new transportation options are coming into play.
“Making it Easy to Get Around” is a key part of Experience Columbus' five-year strategic plan and private companies are joining the ranks of public transportation options to help visitors move safely between attractions and districts.
One example is UberBLACK, which entered the market in 2013, operating without permits or regulation. While Experience Columbus was excited about the tech-friendly, lux, transportation option, without a layer of basic safety oversight, it was difficult to recommend the Uber service to visitors.
Experience Columbus' public affairs team worked with Uber, Columbus City Council, Mayor’s administration and the local taxi commission to advance changes to City Code and allow UberBLACK to legally roll. UberBLACK drivers are licensed livery drivers, often looking to fill time between scheduled appointments, and carry commercial insurance, overseen by the city.
Today, Uber is an active member of Experience Columbus, joining 900 businesses eager to serve visitors and residents. Our team supports the business as riders, and also through social media, blog posts and web content.
Additionally, they're listed everywhere taxi companies are listed and special promotions are shared via our system with thousands. Looking to the future, we are working with Uber to help VIP visitors, travel media and meeting planners get from our airport gateways to their destinations in comfort.
Though there are challenges to adapting to the sharing economy, it behooves destination marketing organizations to work with these new companies as early as possible. The first goal is always safety and creating a positive visitor experience. Consumers are looking for new options in transportation, lodging, food and every other touch-point during their visit, and if we're not adapting to their demand, we'll lose relevancy.
About the Author
Joe is the Interactive Marketing Strategist for Experience Columbus, so he’s the voice behind EC’s Twitter and Facebook pages, and puts together the blog calendar. If there’s any information you’d like to see covered in the blog, he’s the guy to talk to! Joe has lived in Columbus for the past seven years, and really loves the city’s food scene and the walkability of the downtown neighborhoods. You’re most likely to find him walking his dogs in Schiller Park, at Cup o’ Joe or Pistachia Vera on 3rd Street in German Village, or at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. Sometimes, ice cream makes for a great dinner!