America's Challenge Updates
March Balloon Fiesta Update
March 29, 2019
Balloon Fiesta Guests,
So much is happening in advance of the 2019 Balloon Fiesta, it is hard to think that last year’s event was less than six months ago! Our board of directors and staff have been working behind the scenes to ensure you have a great experience at the 2019 Balloon Fiesta. In that spirit, we are excited to share news and new aspects about this year’s event.
As we plan for the Balloon Fiesta each year, it’s important that we analyze successes and areas that need improvement. In 2018, we had over 880,000 guest visits to Balloon Fiesta Park. While it brings great excitement to know that many people are attending this magical event, we are also faced with the concern of making sure all our guests can access and exit the park in an efficient manner.
On opening day of the 2018 event some of our guests experienced difficulty accessing Balloon Fiesta Park either by driving to the event or utilizing Fiesta Express Park and Ride. Those opening day issues don’t align with the guest experience we strive for and hope to provide.
As we thoroughly analyze the difficulties experienced that day, as well as reviewing guest feedback, we are moving forward with a variety of initiatives we hope will ensure an improved guest experience on opening day:
- Traffic Study:We are working with the Civil Engineering Department at the University of New Mexico, to conduct a traffic study. The work will result in development of an improved traffic management plan & Park and Ride service plan for the 2019 Balloon Fiesta. We anticipate that traffic study will be completed in May.
- Park and Ride Evaluation: Our team has identified ways to increase efficiencies at our existing Park and Ride locations. This includes an intuitive layout, enhanced volunteer training, increased signage and staffing. Based on the insights from the UNM Traffic Study, we may adjust Park and Ride bus access points. We are discussing Park improvements with the city of Albuquerque and the use of City transit buses to compliment the school buses already used. The City buses would provide greater seating capability and with more doors the load/unload times would decrease.
- Guest Communication:We’ve reached out to all guests who expressed concerns regarding their experience on opening day of Balloon Fiesta in 2018, listened to each, and have made changes to our Park & Ride locations for 2019. We are hoping those suggestions and our re-designs of the P&R lots will allow faster loading times and further enhance the guests experience in 2019 and years to come.
- Large Event Comparisons:Balloon Fiesta is not the first event to move large amounts of people to a special event. Balloon Fiesta has been making an effort to visit other large-scale events and attractions to identify, and possibly apply, best practices for the 2019 event.
Balloon Fiesta is also working on a number of initiatives that we look forward to sharing with you in the coming months. Ensuring you have a wonderful experience is the goal of our work. We will keep you updated through our website and newsletter as well as through our Facebook and Twitter social media channels.
Thank you for supporting the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. We look forward to seeing you in October!