Tips for the RFP Process

February 9, 2016

Responding to an RFP can be a daunting task, especially in the sports market.  Yet, tackling an RFP piece-by-piece can make the process easier and, hopefully, yield lucrative results.

The first thing you need to do is make sure that the requirements are a good fit for your destination. Read the RFP thoroughly to see if you have the items needed to place a bid.  The bare bones necessary are the venues, hotel space, volunteer availability, expertise of a Local Organizing Committee (LOC) and a plan to deal with bid fees.  If you have any questions, pick up the phone and call the planner.  A phone call will go a long way, and allows you to find out what the hot button issues are. In some cases, what you might think is important actually may be unimportant for the planner.  Always ask the question. For example, if a bid specifies that your fields need to have lights but yours don’t, ask the planner if lack of lights is a deal breaker.  Another example might be that a client prefers Hilton properties, but the bulk of your rooms are with Marriott. If this happens, let the client know, and check to see if this will be an issue for the bid.

One of the most important steps in this process is to check the history of the event you are bidding on.  The best way to do this is to talk to the CVBs or Sports Commissions in cities that have hosted the event in the past.  Ask them about venues used, hotel pickup and if there were any challenges with the event operator.  Make sure to find out if they had any overall problems with the event.  This information is very valuable, and will help you in the RFP process.  It is important to also check the geographical history of the event – has the event ever occurred in your region? Some events are a better fit to certain areas of the country- what works in the South might not work as well in the North. It’s fine to let a client know that you have researched their event.  It shows that you are thorough and helps keep them transparent and communicative.

Many destinations cannot afford – or simply won’t pay – bid fees. Many times, a bid fee can be circumvented by offering concessions instead.  A list of concessions is usually provided along with the bid fee. These can include complimentary hotel rooms, airline tickets, rental cars etc.   Only the sales person and the destination marketing or sports organization can determine if you can address their concessions.  Perhaps you can form a partnership with a local rental car agency to get a reduced weekly rate in exchange for agency being listed as the sponsor. Airlines can be a bit challenging, however contact your local hub, they may be willing to work with you. Utilize relationships with the hotels in the area to obtain comp rooms for the proposal.  Some events will require two or more hotels to fill the comps. Always make sure the comp policy is consistent across hotels listed in the proposal.

Once you have collected all of the information required for the bid, prepare to submit the proposal. If you have not been able to meet all the concessions, it is still okay to submit. Several things can happen at this point. One response may be, that, although the concessions were not completely met, the facilities may be a better fit for the event. Another response could be a flat out no, however the organizer now is aware what you are able to do and may come back for future events.

It is important to ask for decision dates as a part of the proposal submission. If it is not specifically addressed in the RFP, make sure to ask. This allows organizations to hold space at facilities until decision time. Some facilities will place the space on “hold” for a certain number of days and give the event planner the “right of refusal” for the dates. In that case the organization on “hold” will have to go to contract and send a deposit for the space. Some organizations will request a site visit as a part of the decision process. With years of experience, it is safe to say a site visit should typically last two days to include venue and hotel options.

John Gibbons, CSEE
Executive Director of the RI Sports Commission
JGibbons@GoSportsRI.ocm

Ron Eifert, CSEE
Senior Sales Manager
Dayton Convention & Visitors Bureau
reifert@daytoncvb.net

February’s Featured Member Benefit – Active Member Mentoring

February 8, 2016

Last week we introduced Member Mentoring as the Featured Benefit of the Month. This week we put the spotlight on how our Active Members use the mentoring committee. Mary Lee Malmberg is an Active member who currently serves on the
Mentoring Committee. She reflects upon her early experiences with her mentor and how Active members of all experience levels can use this NASC service.

“The Member Mentoring Committee is available to all members of NASC regardless of their years of experience in the industry! Many of our members volunteered to serve on this committee because someone else helped them when
they needed advice and assistance. The majority of questions we receive are from individuals new to the sports travel industry. Questions range from “what can I expect to get out of Symposium” to “who should serve on my
sports committee.”

When I was new to the industry I was mentored by Denny Gann, one of the founding members of NASC. I was preparing my first proposal for a national tournament and Denny kindly reviewed my work and made suggestions to make the
bid stronger. The story has a happy ending because Cedar Rapids was awarded the tournament! I have always appreciated the insight and help a fellow NASC member gave me!

The CVB and Sports Commission members serving on NASC’s Member Mentoring Committee have many combined years of industry experience. We are here to answer questions, provide advice, brainstorm or lend an understanding ear to
inquiring minds from small or large organizations regardless of years of experience!”

Mary Lee Malmberg
CSEE, Director of Sports Tourism
Cedar Rapids Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Whether you’re a brand new member wanting advice about the Symposium or you’re a seasoned veteran looking for a second set of eyes on a proposal, the Mentoring Committee is here to help. Take a look at the committee roster and reach out today!

Upcoming Best Practices Webinar – Register Now

February 3, 2016

Join NASC Mentoring Committee co-chairs John David, CSEE, COO, USA BMX and Mike Price, CSEE, Executive Director, Greater Lansing Sports Authority, as they share different ways the mentoring committee can help you get the most out of your NASC membership!

You don’t have to be a new member or new to the industry to utilize the mentoring committee, as many industry veterans still connect with their mentor to discuss ideas and share experiences. All three membership categories are represented within the committee, which consists of over 200 years of cumulative sport tourism industry experience and knowledge. Questions about the benefits and resources available to members, the NASC Symposium and industry related topics are just a few examples of how the mentoring committee is able to assist. There will also be time to ask John and Mike questions during the webinar.

Who should attend this webinar? All members! Whether you are a new NASC member, a new hire at an NASC member organization, new to the sport tourism industry or have been around for years, we encourage you to attend!

Date: Friday, February 26
Time: 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. ET
Register Now!

If you’ve missed any of our recent Best Practices Webinars, or would like to view them again, visit our Best Practices Webinar Archives (login required).

February’s Featured Member Benefit – Member Mentoring

February 1, 2016

Throughout the month of February, we will be highlighting how the Mentoring Committee can offer assistance in many areas of the sport tourism industry. The main purpose of this committee is to cultivate relationships with new members and help guide them through their first year of membership.

The Mentoring Committee educates members about benefits and resources that will help them make the most of their NASC membership. Both new members and those who have been in the game for years can utilize the Member Mentoring program.

One of the greatest assets of the Mentoring Committee is the wide array of background and experience on various industry topics, which consists of over 200 years of cumulative sport tourism industry related knowledge. All three membership categories are represented within the committee – Active, Allied and Rights Holder.

Keep an eye out for these blogs and sign up to attend our Best Practices Webinar, Mentoring: Not Just For Newbies on Friday, February 26 @ 2pm ET to learn more about how the Mentoring Committee can help you!

Check out the Member Mentoring page to view the committee roster and read each mentor’s bio!

DSC_8599Mentors, designated by their jerseys, meet with their First Time Attendee Mentees at the 2015 NASC Sports Event Symposium in Milwaukee, WI.

How to Successfully Prospect

January 26, 2016

Sporting events represent an opportunity to showcase and to make a significant economic impact on your community.  Where should you start in the process of securing events and meetings?

Strengths:

To be effective with your time, you need is to evaluate what events could work in your area, especially the resources that you have available for your use.  These resources are primarily facilities and people.

  • What types of facilities do you have available to host events? Don’t limit your vision to “major” complexes.  There are a variety of options that may work including city facilities, parks, colleges, public and private schools, open spaces, hotels and even your roads.
  • Who in your community has interest, expertise and understanding of sports? Do they have relationships with event planners and will they be an advocate for you?  Who has access to recruiting volunteers who are knowledgeable with sport? Who will help collaborate to bring events to your community and to insure that they are successful?

Opportunities:

The variety and number of available meetings and events is extensive.  There are events that will work for all regions and others that you should not pursue.  There is no reason to spend any resources on pursuing a downhill skiing event if you live in Florida.  Some other topics for event marketers to explore include:

  • What types of events could work in your community?
    • Which events have a significant fan and participant base in your area?
    • What sports have an interest in growing or breaking into your area?
    • What events work in your facilities? What events have similar elements to those events?
    • What events are the facility managers interested in pursuing?
  • Look at what similar towns/cities in your area and in the country are doing. What is your competition hosting?
  • When are there “holes” in your City’s calendar, where bringing in events would make the biggest economic impact? If you live in a beach community, perhaps a winter event would have more impact than a July event when your community is already busy.

Resources / History:

There is no need to reinvent the wheel.  As a member of the National Association of Sports Commissions, you have access to research, meetings and events that are available for bid and access to other NASC members.  Utilize these resources.

Part of the vetting process is to research the history of the events and event organizers.  Are the elements in their RFP realistic? Is bidding on this event and making an investment in time, and potentially money, going to have a return on your investment?  Does history confirm their claims of room nights and economic impact?  Do they pay their bills?  Use the internet as a tool and call the CVBs / Sports Commissions that have hosted these events in the past.

Many RFPs are a starting point in the bid / negotiation process.  Many event planners will ask for everything and the kitchen sink up front.  After vetting the event and deciding that it is something that you want to pursue, even if you can’t match all of the bid elements, feel free to counter offer and make your pitch on why the event would be successful in your community.

Bidding:

Make sure that the event makes sense for your community.  It may be okay to take a loss on an event if it helps you gain exposure, grow your event portfolio or lead to other events.  Take a long range view of event procurement.

Let the event planner know the strengths of your community including who will be involved in the bid and execution of the event if you win it.   Why should the event come to your community?  Can you draw spectators and participants?  What is your experience in the sport?  Can your community provide expertise, volunteers, financial backing?  Is there a legacy if the event does come?

Conclusion:

There are sporting events and meetings that will work for all communities.  Start by looking at your strengths and then match these with the available opportunities.

Bob Murdock
Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau
860-882-1103
robertm@ctcsb.org

CSEE Program Redesign – Video Blog

January 25, 2016

Have questions about the new CSEE program? Want to learn more about the first online CSEE course? Curious how the new program will affect your previous credits? Take a few minutes and watch this video blog where Don Schumacher, CSEE, Executive Director, NASC answers all your questions and more! If you still have questions after watching this video, let us know by emailing Info@SportsCommissions.org.

Mom Gets Back Into Sports through Mary Free Bed Program

January 25, 2016

Editor’s note: Leading up to the NASC Symposium this spring, the NASC is highlighting adaptive sports athletes. The proceeds raised for the 2016 NASC Sports Legacy Fund will go toward offsetting expenses for the Mary Free Bed and Adaptive Sports Wheelchair Tennis program, which provides equipment to individuals who are unable to afford their own. Each month we feature one of the adaptive athletes: This month we feature Suzanne Egeler.

Hi, I am Suzanne Egeler, a 44-year-old mother of four girls.  I have been involved with Mary Free Bed Wheelchair Sports for almost 14 years.

Suzanne photo

I got involved in the sports programs shortly after my third daughter was born.  I was really discouraged with my weight gain and asked my doctor at Mary Free Bed what he suggested I do to lose some weight; his immediate and enthusiastic answer was TENNIS!

I met with a recreational therapist and tried out a few different activities…swimming, wheelchair racing, basketball, handcycling, and (yes) tennis.

I purchased a handcycle, which enabled me to go on bike rides with my husband and children.  I’ve even done the 5/3 Riverbank 25k a couple of times. But tennis ended up being exactly what I needed to get motivated to exercise.  After one tennis practice, I was hooked.   Lots of cardio, great competition, and lasting friendships with other wheelchair-using athletes.

I was always involved in sports from a young age and had forgotten how much fun exercising could be, with a group of friends. I am so grateful to have Mary Free Bed Wheelchair Sports and all of the programs it provides.

Instructions for Registering for CSEE Online Course

January 21, 2016

Registration for our very first online CSEE course, Strategic Planning for Successful Sport Tourism, will open on Monday, January 18. This course is Core Course 1 as outlined in the CSEE Program Redesign document and is the first of three mandatory courses required for certification for those who enroll in CSEE from this point forward.  The course is open to ALL members enrolled in CSEE.

Registration will remain open until Noon ET on Friday, February 5.

To register, go to your My Account Members section of the NASC web site.

Click on Register for Events.

Click on Online CSEE Course(s).

All new students registering for a CSEE course for the first time will be provided with a copy of the NASC Whitepaper “Report on the Sport Tourism Industry.” This paper must be completed to get full benefit of the first course taken.

An orientation session will be required before taking your first course. After the close of registration each participant will be provided with a student ID and instructions on how to access Ohio University’s web site. It will take 10 days to process the student list and assign these numbers.

On February 15 the Orientation Course will open. It will lead you through what you need to know about using Blackboard, the online system that will be used for every course.

Each registered student will have seven days in which to log on, take the orientation course and be ready for the opening of our first core course on February 22.

This course will remain open until Friday, April 1. It will close at that time and all students will need to complete the course by then or lose credit and the course registration fee.

Timeline:

January 18 – Registration for Core Course 1 opens

February 5 – Registration closes

February 15 – Orientation course opens

February 22 – Orientation closes and Core Course 1 Opens

April 1 – Core Course 1 Closes. All students must complete course work by that time

Contact
Direct any questions to Don Schumacher, CSEE, Executive Director at Don@SportsCommissions.org.

Upcoming Webinars – Register Now

January 20, 2016

Mark your calendars now! We have a great line-up of Event Webinars that you won’t want to miss. Check out the schedule below, and reserve your spot today!
________________________________________

U.S. Quidditch Association
Event Webinar Sponsored by MGM Resorts International
Monday, January 25, 2016
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. ET

Register Now

Join Joe Pickett, International Location Director, U.S. Quidditch Association, as he discusses his current RFPs for the US QUidditch Cup, Regional Championships, and the 2016-2017 Season. and There will be time at the end of the presentation for questions. If you are unable to join us on the 25th, remember you can download the webinar recording from our webinar archives page (login required).
________________________________________

National Collegiate Table Tennis Association
Event Webinar Sponsored by MGM Resorts International
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. ET

Register Now

Join Willy Leparulo, President, National Collegiate Table Tennis Assocation, as he discusses their current College Table Tennis Championship RFP and what they are looking for in a host destination. There will be time at the end of the presentation for questions. If you are unable to join us on the 3rd, remember you can download the webinar recording from our webinar archives page (login required).
________________________________________

Strider Sports
Event Webinar Sponsored by MGM Resorts International
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. ET

Register Now

Join Ted Heuttle, Events Manager, Strider Sports, as he discusses his current RFP for the 2017 Strider Cup. There will be time at the end of the presentation for questions. If you are unable to join us on the 24th, remember you can download the webinar recording from our webinar archives page (login required).

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Webinar Archives
If you’ve missed any of our recent webinars, or would like to view them again, visit our Event Webinar Archives.

Winning Isn’t Everything..

January 18, 2016

We know that coaches want their teams to win. We also know that parents want to give their student-athlete the best chance to develop his or her skills to be the best players they can be.

Attucks basketball

Photo Courtesy of Indianapolis Star

So it’s interesting to see the cautionary tale being played out this school year at Indianapolis’ Crispus Attucks High School, where the head basketball coach has been reassigned and parents are outraged.

A bit of background: Crispus Attucks is the home of basketball legend Oscar Robertson and, despite falling on recent hard basketball times, has battled back to become relevant again in the sport that Indiana worships. A lot of that has been because of head coach Phil Washington, who was named city coach of the year last season in Indianapolis for leading Attucks to a 19-6 record and the Class 2A regional final. He also brought Attucks its first sectional titles, in 2014 and 2015, since 1973.

It’s obvious Washington wants to win. So it’s not surprising that winning would bring tighter scrutiny from the Indiana High School Athletic Association, which ruled in November, then upheld the ruling last month, that two transfer students playing for Washington were ineligible because the IHSAA said they transferred to Attucks for athletic reasons—which is a no-no.

Here’s the back story: Washington is from Anderson, Indiana, another basketball hotbed. Washington interviewed for the Anderson head coaching job this past spring, but wasn’t a finalist. The mother of one of the transferred players was a big supporter of Washington to get the Anderson job, but when he didn’t, that’s when the two players moved from Anderson to Indianapolis. Mom says that wasn’t why they moved..the IHSAA says differently.

While the players’ case will go before a Department of Education review panel, Washington remains suspended while his Attucks’ team is 9-2 and eighth in the state. Parents have delivered petitions to Attucks’ administrators, claiming his punishment is excessive. In the meantime, Washington has been transferred to another high school as a teacher only, and two student-athletes have their basketball careers hanging in the balance as the grownups try to decide what’s best for them.

2016 NASC Sports Marketplace Appointment Process

January 12, 2016

As reported in the September edition of the NASC Playbook, the Symposium Committee, based on member feedback, has created a new framework for the 2016 NASC Sports Marketplace. In this edition of the “Tips from the Mentoring Committee”, we offer the following thoughts on improvements to the appointment process and how all members can benefit from hitting the reset button on what to expect from the NASC Sports Marketplace in Grand Rapids.

Individual Appointments

Think “New Relationship NASC Sports Marketplace”

From its inception in San Antonio, TX in 1997, the purpose of the NASC Sports Marketplace has been to provide opportunities for NEW BUSINESS development for our members.

Individual appointments, which are 10 minutes each, offer destinations and vendor exhibitors the opportunity to share information about their community and/or products/services with event owners.  Ideally, individual appointments should be requested by organizations that are not currently doing business with one another.  Anyone who has attended the NASC Symposium knows the schedule includes ample time for current business partners to conduct meetings and network with each other.

For the first time, participating members will have an extended window to request, accept/decline, and prioritize individual appointments. The online appointment portal will open the first week of January and remain open until February 26, 2016.

Why the extended time?  Eight weeks gives everyone time to properly evaluate and research the organizations with whom they are requesting an appointment and organizations requesting an appointment of them.  The goal is to eliminate individual appointments taking place between a destination and/or vendor and event owner where there is clearly no opportunity to do business. For example, if a destination doesn’t have facilities required to host a particular sport and/or event, then the destination should not be requesting an appointment with that event owner.  With time to evaluate and research, these potentially embarrassing situations can and should be avoided.

Event Overview Appointments

Think “Learning & Listening Marketplace”

Event Overview Appointments offer event owners the opportunity to share information about their organization and what it takes to host an event with destinations whom they have not done business.  This is not a time to sell your destination or product/service to the event owner, but rather listen to the event overview and gather information about event requirements, future opportunities, etc. If your organization qualifies to host an event or provide a product/service based on what you learn during the appointment, then follow up after the Symposium.

How does this work?  Destinations, vendor exhibitors, and event owners will have the opportunity to request, accept/decline, and prioritize event overview appointments. These appointments will take place at tables in the Sports Marketplace, not at the event owner’s booth.  Up to five (5) destinations and/or vendor exhibitors will be seated at a table with one event owner. The event owner will provide information on what it takes to host their event and may allow a minute or two at the end of the 10-minute appointment for questions.

Key Dates

  • Week of January 4 – Individual Appointment schedule portal opens
  • Midnight PT February 19 – Last day to registered to be guaranteed appointments
  • Midnight PT February 26 – Individual Appointment portal closes
  • Week of March 14 – Individual Appointment schedules released and Event Overview Appointment portal opens
  • Midnight PT March 18 – Event Overview Appointment portal closes
  • Week of March 28 – Event Overview Appointment schedules released

It is important to note, registration fees must be paid in full before the first attendee from your organization can view the online appointment portal.

Direct any questions about the appointment process to your member services coordinator.

Active Members:

Meagan McCalla, Meagan@SportsCommissions.org or 513.842.8307.

Allied and Rights Holder Members:

Allison Deak, Allison@SportsCommissions.org or 513.250.4366.

Yours in sport,

John David, CSEE
USA BMX
NASC Mentoring Committee Co-Chair
John@USABMX.com

Mike Price, CSEE
Greater Lansing Sports Authority
NASC Mentoring Committee Co-Chair
mprice@lansing.org

 


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