Blackpool Transport: a vehicle to event success.

Blackpool Transport, which operates the town’s bus, electric rail and Heritage Trams network, has been keeping the Lancashire coast moving on a day-to-day basis for the past century. The iconic electric tramway dates back to 1885 and carries almost five million passengers per year – but as Danny Atkinson, Head of Marketing and Commercial at Blackpool Transport, says, “we can bring so much more than basic transport to the table.”

The Hulk - Blackpool Transport

Image credit: Blackpool Transport

The public transport operator currently has some ‘revolutionary’ plans in the pipeline, according to Danny. In this blog post, Danny reveals more about how the group is currently enhancing experiences for the destination’s 50,000 annual business delegates, as well as their plans to keep giving an edge to the town’s meetings and events scene:

Collaboration and connection is our lifeblood

What makes Blackpool work is how its businesses are adept at collaborating. As a public transport operator, we rely on community engagement but it’s so refreshing having corporate support. This close-knit community of businesses in Blackpool gives event organisers a lot more to choose from because enquiries are always so well facilitated by the team at MeetBlackpool, who personalise each event by leveraging the destination’s great venues, incentive offerings, and transport links. We know the businesses on our doorstep and want to see them succeed, so we’re there to help in any way we can – whether that’s picking up 300 E-Gamers from the Winter Gardens Blackpool Conference & Exhibition Centre, or transporting Boris Johnson from one of the town’s great hotels to a political conference.

There’s been a boom in Blackpool’s bedspace over the past couple of years and we’ve matched this demand by extending our routes and liaising with venues to collect guests from right outside their doors. Because we’re so diverse, we’re more than just a transport service – we’ve now become a unique product that connects multiple Blackpool business together. We’ve worked with Blackpool Tower to transport guests as part of a package, we’ve worked with the Imperial Hotel to incorporate tram tours into afternoon tea events, and we’ve recently launched a real ale tour with a Blackpool-based brewery called the Brew Room. Guests go on the tram ride, have a couple of bottles of beer, and then they go to the brewery and do some do some work around there. We’ve even created a beer called the Crafty Conductor.

You can personalise a heritage tram tour

The heritage trams were such a successful operation that they almost became a museum on wheels – but they don’t just offer a ride up and down Blackpool for tourists. We can, and have, catered to business guests by personalising our product and adding in themes like ghost tours, illuminated tram and boat tours, and even hiring a comedian.

We also do a fish and chip tour. I don’t think you can get any more British than sitting on a tram in Blackpool eating fish and chips. It sounds simple, but incentive experiences like this contribute to the town’s economic growth as we leverage the fresh products of local providers and suppliers, and each of our tours comes with a guide to educate our audience on the town’s landmarks, history, and unique stories. We specialise in turning the ordinary into extraordinary and creating memorable experiences for delegates that they wouldn’t find in any other location.

Seamless experiences – before you event get here

The Blackpool Transport app has also revolutionised the delegate experience in more ways than one. As well as offering route options at the fingertips and live travel updates across the bus and tram network, the option to pre-book travel tickets has made the lives of event organisers much easier, especially for group bookings. This time-saving hack also means a better distribution of resources and contributes to the overall seamless conversations and experiences between event organisers, venues, and delegates.

We also offer delegate travel discounts, which has really opened some doors and incentivises visitors to make the most of public transport which benefits the environment. You can do so much within the town, but without having to go across to another district like you would on the tube in London.

We’re super sustainable and accessible 

The app also tells you your carbon emissions saving per journey, which is a great tool for event bookers and corporates looking to improve their carbon footprint. Our buses contain Enviro 6 Engines which are the cleanest diesel engines in Europe, but later this year, we’ll begin taking delivery of our fleet of electric buses, which will be a premium brand. These will be zero-emission, and this, alongside our electrified tramline, means that we’ll be very close to getting to Net Zero.

The Heritage Trams and the regular trams can both be hired for corporate groups, but we also have a fleet of really high-spec buses. Our Palladium collection is a premium brand of a bus with ‘vegan leather seats’ – which means plastic to you and me – but they’re also to available to hire and suit a corporate market.

All of our vehicles are fully accessible – apart from the heritage trams because they were built before disability regulations were in place – with level boarding throughout for wheelchair access and audio and visual announcements.

We’re more than just transport – “it’s all about the show”

We’re here as a support function, but we can bring so much more to the table than basic transport. We receive lots of enquiries from event bookers looking to incorporate the trams into their events, and this year there will be a lot of work with the heritage business manager to see how we can best adapt our services to the meetings and events market.

For businesses looking to make their mark on the town, branded tram wraps are an option, leveraging the 11 miles of coastline to get their brand in front of the 18 millions of people who visit Blackpool each year.

The best tram stunt we’ve ever worked on was a life-size replica of the Hulk, who was lifting a 147-year-old tram in the air. There were fireworks and sparklers and a lot of visual effects to portray that he was holding it up to save everyone, but it was spectacular. In Blackpool, it’s all about the show – and we sure know how to do that.

For more information on planning your next meeting or event in Blackpool, visit meetblackpool.com.