Dear Event Doctor:
We are looking to invite some sports-event organizers to see our city and tour our venues. It’s been a while since we’ve tried this approach and are excited that some are willing to take us up on our offer. What’s your advice on how to craft a successful site inspection for these event organizers? What should we show them, and what should we leave off the agenda?
Think in terms of taking these event organizers on a shopping trip. Not every shopper is looking for exactly the same items. There are some things that every event organizer will want to see and others that will be specific to the type of event.
If you are bringing event organizers together for a visit at one time, start with a brief general session that introduces the community in an exciting and dynamic way, a place that will attract competitors, attendees, sponsors and media. Have an authority on the region with some prestige there to welcome them. The mayor, governor or celebrities associated with the area can add excitement to the session.
Present case studies of past events that have generated success for their organizers. If possible, include video as well as graphics with relevant numbers on attendance and revenue. How many people visited and for how long? What kinds of venues did they use? How did the region greet and leverage these past events? What did the media say about the way they were hosted?
Almost all will be interested in visiting potential headquarters hotels—properties that will embrace the event and work cooperatively with the organizer. The depth to which organizers will want to explore the property at this early stage, however, will diverge. I would recommend hosting the general session and housing the group at the hotel most likely to emerge as the headquarters. After that session, break up into smaller groups with similar needs. Some will want to see the region’s best arenas, gymnasia, convention centers or stadiums—but not everyone will want to see all of them. Some will need to see a variety of hotels—some for hosting VIPs, others for accommodating media and still others for competitors.
Guide your event organizers through the things they most want to see in your particular destination. Then bring them back together for lunch or a late-day reception to allow them a little time to process what they’ve encountered, ask questions, investigate options and begin the dialogue. Good luck!
This first appeared in Sports Travel Magazine and appears here courtesy of SCHNEIDER PUBLISHING COMPANY, INC.