Archive for July, 2011

Room rebates: can’t live with or without them! What’s a reasonable person to do?

July 18, 2011

We fight this situation every year. With the costs of hosting and presenting an event being what they are, many events use rebates to help cover costs. A rebate, paid by the occupant(s) of a room on a nightly basis, must be disclosed to the customer prior to the booking. If the customer wishes to avoid the extra charge they can stay outside the block…unless steps have been taken to make that difficult or impossible.

“Stay to play” is the industry term for requiring everyone to stay in the block in order to participate. If registration within the block cannot be proved, those involved cannot take the field or court. Properly administered, it can produce the highest rate of capture. Proponents also believe it leads to lower room rates because hotels know they will get all of the event business.

Instituting this system is tough for an existing event that takes place year after year.

Another effective way to insure payment of rebates is for the convention and visitors bureau to use its own room booking system, one that requires all teams to book through the system. To work best, the bureau should also receive payment for the rooms, deduct the rebates, and send the balance to each hotel. This is more than many will do.

Allowing hotels to collect the rebates requires trust. It is unreasonable for any hotel to try to hide the rebates or deny they had anyone in their property from the event. Unfortunately this happens all too often. I wonder what hotels are thinking by holding back on the very people that attract visitors to their hotel?

I know the excuse that “they didn’t tell us they were with the event.” Why then, did they wear uniforms to breakfast?

Another issue relates to booking services. The use of a third party may not increase your rate of capture unless the booker is collecting all fees and paying you as they go. Actually this process can also lead to higher rates because the booker, the event, and your group may all wish to get a share. We know of cases where more than $30/night in rebates has been collected.

So much for “being in this for the kids!”

The NASC CSEE program is presenting a session on hotels and rebates at the TEAMS conference in October, and I will have more to say on the subject in coming weeks.

Kind Regards


Finding ways to become more engaged in international sport

July 8, 2011

Why don’t we hold more international sports events in the United States?  When you look around at what is happening your search takes you outside our country, and quickly! Why is this? I believe the primary factor is cost.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and each of the International Federations in Olympic Sport require significant commitments from prospective host cities. We read and hear a lot about the costs of both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. We do not hear nearly as much about the requirements from the international federations (IFs).

I was very fortunate to be president of the arena and a member of the executive committee for the 1987 World Figure Skating Championships. Figure skating and gymnastics have rotational policies that do insure that a U.S .city will get the chance to host a world championship. Cincinnati became the host by winning the competition among other U.S. cities. Once selected we then needed to work with through the United States Figure Skating Association to be certain the International Skating Union’s requirements would be met. We spent three years preparing for the event, and it was an experience of a lifetime.

Last year’s World Equestrian Games in Lexington was the first time for that competition was held in the U.S.A.  It required a very significant commitment from the Commonwealth of Kentucky to get the bid. It also required a world-wide fund raising campaign to find additional funding.

It is interesting to note that most international conferences on sport focus on the Olympic Games and world championships. Grass roots, or participant based events, receive little attention. In this country, these events account for 95% of the business.

Because we do not have the luxury of financial support from our federal government, and because it is very difficult to get help from states or even our own cities, most of you do not focus on the international market. It is possible to host a “friendly” from time to time in soccer or volleyball, two sports that routinely conduct international team competitions, but world championships have proven difficult to obtain.

Our neighbors in Canada do have the possibility of provincial and federal government support, and consequently host more major international championships.

We have made a commitment to explore with Canada ways in which we can work together to create or host more events. The world gets smaller and it is time to find ways to become more engaged in what is a very big world of international sport.

Kind Regards


Create a Winning Team: Forming an L.O.C.

July 7, 2011

July/August Tips From the Mentoring Committee
By William Knox, CSEE

Director, Hamilton County Sports Authority

When hosting an event of any size it is very important to put together a good team to make sure the event is a success. Naturally, you will look within your organizations for volunteers.  Many organizations have talented individuals within their group with the necessary skills to get the job done. In addition to searching within the organization, there may also be individuals within the community that have expertise in other important aspects of the event and should also be included. The individuals selected to serve on the LOC should come from a variety of backgrounds. This will help provide insight on the various committees you will need to put together for the event. Examples of these committees include: finance, marketing, hospitality, management and operations.

Seeking the assistance of outside sources will ensure more comprehensive coverage of the event planning process.  However, relying on a member of your Local Organizing Committee (L.O.C.) that cannot dedicate the appropriate amount of time could be detrimental to the success of the event.

All members of your L.O.C. should be able to dedicate their time and talents. Members of the team must understand the time commitment expected of them and be able to provide that time. Each member must also possess qualities that will promote success and, most importantly, not inhibit the group from reaching their goals. Individuals that have trouble working in groups or have a tendency to get the group off track should be avoided. Every event requires a lot of planning; therefore it is crucial that effective time management strategies are implemented. Finally, all members must be able to bring something to the table. Members should have something valuable to give to the group, whether it is through donations, cooperative marketing opportunities or basic knowledge of event operations. The formation of a successful L.O.C with dedicated and valuable members will create a strong base that will propel your event on the path to success.

About the Guest Contributor:  William R. Knox, CSEE William was born in Gary, IN. After becoming a four sport letterman at Gary West Side High School, he went on to receive his B.S. in Sports Marketing with a minor in Business from Indiana University in 1999. After completing his undergraduate career, he accepted a position as the Director of Sports Marketing with the Bloomington Convention and Visitors Bureau. Later, he became the Director of the Hoosier Sports Corporation.  William now serves as the Director of the Hamilton County Sports Authority. William is designated as a Certifi ed Sports Event Executive and was named to the National Association of Sports Commissions Board of Directors.