Lyft ramps up in readiness for SXSW partnership

Lyft is the official rideshare partner of SXSW this year through a paid sponsorship the company also picked up in 2016, but the ride sharing company’s activities at SXSW are part of a larger strategy to be well rooted in their customers’ interests. Its success at events relies on a combination of precise coordination and creative thinking.

Lyft expects its SXSW 2018 sponsorship will result in a 200% increase in ride demand. To ensure that they could satisfy those needs without a hitch, the company published a detailed SXSW driver guide which includes data from their 2016 SXSW sponsorship helping drivers predict peak commuting days and hours.    

A driver “Pit Stop” is also available throughout SXSW at the Doyle House, where Lyft drivers can rest, relax, grab some refreshments, play games and win prizes before hitting the road again.

Lyft also incentivised drivers via a SXSW contest.

The company boosted branding by encouraging drivers to get an AMP light for their cars in advance of the event, to help identify them clearly as Lyft drivers. The LED light can also change colours to match the customer’s Lyft app for a personal touch.

The Lyft VW Van was specially decorated for the event, and the company also commissioned local creatives IonArt, responsible for some of Austin’s most iconic brands, to create a themed display to greet visitors at the airport.   

Event brand alignment

Aaron Fox, general manager, Lyft Austin explains the importance of SXSW to the rideshare company:

“SXSW began as a music festival and provides a great opportunity for local musicians to play in venues across the city for a global audience. Lyft is very invested in the Austin music community through partnerships with the Heath Alliance for Austin Musicians and the Musician Rideshare Program, so our partnership with SXSW aligns very nicely.”

The company is coordinating a series of activities during SXSW including hosting a “Lyft House” at Native Hostel on Friday, March 16 and Saturday, March 17 which will offer a recharge lounge by day and a SXSW Best of Austin bands showcase. 

Lyft is also appealing to fans as the transportation provider to HBO’s Westworld Experience, which provides a behind-the-scenes look into the recreated town from the popular series. SXSW attendees can unlock a secret code through Twitter and ride their Lyft in “Westworld Mode”.

It also locked-in to the buzz around Warner Bros. and Steven Spielberg’s new film, “Ready Player One” which takes place in the virtual world of OASIS.

Fox spoke about how participating in this event fits the company’s overall marketing strategy. 

“Lyft’s mission is to improve people’s lives with the world’s best transportation. By reducing individual car ownership and sharing the ride, Lyft is building a future where transportation ushers in positive changes in our communities and cities. We encourage discussions about technology, innovation and the future of mobility, and we look forward to participating in these important conversations at events like SXSW.”  

Fox tells us that event hosting also offers an opportunity to better understand market needs.

“Lyft is always gathering feedback and data to improve our service, and large events provide us with opportunities to gather this information in high-demand environments.”       

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Marisa Garcia

About the Writer :: Marisa Garcia

Marisa Garcia is the tnooz aviation analyst. She has covered travel technology, design, branding, and strategy for leading publications, including Aircraft Interiors International Magazine, APEX Magazine, AirlineTrends, and Travel+Leisure. She also shares industry insights on her site Flight Chic. Fly with her on Twitter.





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