Dear Event Doctor:
We recently won an event we have wanted for years, and now we’re transitioning our bid committee into a host committee. We’re struggling with whether the same people who served on the bid committee should by default serve on our host committee board, or whether we should consider a new process that will get others involved. What should that transition look like?
First, congratulations on your success. Enjoy it, but only for a brief moment; the hardest part of the job is still ahead. There is no rule that a bid committee should immediately be transformed into a host committee. Often, key host committee leaders are brought on board after the bid has been awarded. That’s because the best people to run the host committee simply may not be available during the long bid preparation period, or they may add too much cost at a time when the possibility of hosting the event—and generating revenues to do so—is still uncertain.
In my experience, however, if there isn’t some degree of responsible continuity between the bid and host committees, confusion will reign after the event is awarded. Simply put, the host committee will own the commitments contained in the bid. Unless the leadership of the bid committee will ultimately be accountable for the assertions of the bid, they may focus only on winning the business and not on the ultimate outcome of the event. The danger is obvious. The host committee and its leadership may be left holding the bag to deliver on the promises of the bid, which may not be realistic or even desirable for the host community. How or why a bid was developed in a particular way may end up becoming a mystery to those who have to manage it later.
That said, involving regional government officials in the development of a bid can be advantageous. They can help drive commitments from the communities they represent by adding a level of importance and engagement on behalf of the region. Their contribution to a bid also often adds authenticity and accountability in the eyes of event organizers. As elected officials may or may not be in office at the time the event actually unfolds, it is important to demonstrate that commitments are made on behalf of the community or region they represent.
The best scenario is to ensure that the leaders of the eventual host committee are involved with the development of the bid, either as members of the committee, as volunteers or as consultants. Whether elected officials continue to serve on the host committee after the bid is a choice to be weighed carefully. In my experience, having them serve in advisory or supporting roles is often better once the host committee is formed so as to distance the committee from unrelated political issues having any effect on the community’s support during the months leading up to the event.
This first appeared in Sports Travel Magazine and appears here courtesy of SCHNEIDER PUBLISHING COMPANY, INC.