Archive for May, 2012

Message from the Executive Director

May 29, 2012

Perhaps you have had the opportunity to read the recent Report on the Sports Travel Industry. If not, I hope you will be able to take a look. You can find it on our web site. The overall purpose was to sketch out the roles played by the organizations making up our industry.

In Hartford among the dozens and dozens of conversations I found some confusion among event owners on the roles played by convention and visitors bureaus. I also became aware of the need for some of our newer members to do their homework.

There can be a very big difference between the help offered to event owners by our members. In the more than thirty years I have spent dealing with these issues it surprises me to find event owners or publications who think one host organization is the same as most others. Not true. Some of you do a brilliant job selling your destination but must partner with a local organization to make events happen. You are not in the sports planning and delivery business.

Event owners need to pay particular attention to the abilities of prospective host organizations.

Sports commissions have professional staff that can handle every aspect of the event. Convention and visitors bureaus do an excellent job marketing the destination and assisting the event owner in connecting with local experts. A small number also have event experts on staff that can follow-up on behalf of the event owner.

As to the homework issue, it is just not enough to take appointments at the marketplace and think magic will occur. I was talking with a member who was excited about a new running track at one of their high schools. The message to me was they have this new track and are looking forward to hosting events. No concerns about the number and width of the lanes, where the field events take place, or other important details.

What can the NASC do to help?  We will review with our Symposium Committee ways in which we may be able to segment our breakout sessions. This can serve to focus attention on the various levels of expertise within the membership. I think this is particularly important as we prepare for Louisville. Our purpose will be to address in the coming months the things to keep in mind before contacting event owners.

We simply want to find the best ways to prepare each member for success.

I would be pleased to hear your thoughts.

– Don

How to follow up after the NASC Symposium

May 3, 2012

You are back in your office after a great week at the NASC Symposium in Hartford.  Now what?

Here are some tips that we hope you find helpful:

You told your appointment you were going to follow up – do it.  Send the prospective client the information they were looking for in a timeline as described during the appointment.  Be sure to send it to them in the format they wish to receive it.  You should only bid on events that fit your community’s profile.  Make sure that the event matches up with the right time of year and in an appropriate climate setting.

Hopefully, you took good notes and are following up at the prescribed time.  If your appointment said they will be issuing RFPs in the fall, make yourself a note and follow up at that time.  Use your data management system or Outlook calendar to prompt you when the ImageRFP should be ready for distribution.

If this year or next does not work for either of you, let your client know.  Ask them when your area of the country would be considered again if you cannot bid on the next opening.

Follow up with phone calls and if you have to leave a voicemail, be sure to also send an e-mail.  People may respond better (and more promptly) to e-mail than voicemails, so multiple points of contact may be best.  When you leave a voicemail, let them know you have also e-mailed them and vice-versa.

OK, so you met with your appointment and you have agreed that you are not a good fit. It happens.  Still you will likely see them at another show and you should re-introduce yourself. You never know, maybe they have added events that are a good fit for you now.  If the event is not going to be a good fit, ask them if they have any other events that could work in your community.  Remember we are in the business of sports tourism.  This includes business meetings, in addition to competitions.  Ask if they hold business meetings or conferences, if you cannot assist them with an event.

Keep your account contact person or database updated.  People get promoted and people change jobs.  The person you met at this year’s Symposium may not be the contact person next year.  Be sure to ask your contact if they are still the key contact for a particular event.

Remember the key to selling is building relationships.  The more face time and personal contact you make with a prospective client will make the sales process easier over time and help you to succeed in the industry.

Good luck!

John Gibbons, CSEE                                        Ron Eifert, CSEE

Executive Director                                          Sr. Sales/Sports Manager

Rhode Island Sports Commission             Dayton/Montgomery County Convention and Visitors Bureau

Need more expert advice?  Register now for the upcoming webinar, “You’re Back From the Symposium, Now What” which is scheduled for May 22.