The “Greatest Weekend in Sports,” highlighted by the NBA and NHL Playoffs, NFL Draft, Kentucky Derby and Mayweather-Pacquiao fight has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean that independent hoteliers are out of opportunities to leverage summer sporting events to generate bookings. Sports, from youth to professional, allow families, friends and communities to gather and rally behind their favorite athletes and teams. Summer sports also present great opportunities for independent hotel operators to connect with new guests, capture reservations and increase RevPar due to summer’s historically higher ADRs.
Here’s 3 ways independent hoteliers can capitalize on the upcoming summer sports season:
1) Don’t forget about the kids!
When targeting sports-related bookings, don’t overlook the potential of youth sports. Youth sports is big business and provides independent hoteliers with opportunities to “bring home the gold” every summer. When school lets out for the summer, kids, parents and coaches begin crisscrossing the country to participate in countless tournaments and competitions. With each trip, teams must dedicate a considerable portion of their budgets to lodging. If you operate a family-friendly hotel, particularly a property that offers free breakfast and amenities like a pool, you’re in great position to capture some of this business.
The first step is to explore building relationships with youth league and tournament organizers. If their lodging needs are already met, consider purchasing a sponsorship package to show you are serious about hosting them in the future. Youth sports are growing in popularity each year, so building goodwill now can help you secure year-over-year summer business that will help you achieve your future revenue goals.
2) Embrace the most loyal sports fans.
Baseball, soccer, NASCAR, tennis and golf are the summer sports that receive top billing on TV and digital media. And with this attention brings fans who travel to experience these events live and in-person. With some planning and creativity, independent hoteliers can leverage these events to generate bookings and increase revenue. For example, connecting with fan clubs and tour groups that are organizing trips via social media can lead to successful multi-day, multi-room bookings. Sports fans are viciously loyal, so delivering exceptional hospitality and service can lead to great, long-term relationships with a great group of new guests.
3) Get the locals involved too.
When major sporting events are in town, it stirs up excitement throughout the entire community. Of course, everyone cannot stop their everyday lives to attend in-person, but many people find time to squeeze in a few minutes to check out the TV coverage. Independent hoteliers, especially those with restaurants and lounges, can leverage local enthusiasm by hosting sports viewing parties. Depending on the level of interest, you can throw a major party or simply offer food and drink specials while showing the event on your TVs. With either scenario, you can provide locals with a place to meet, relax and enjoy an event that’s happening in their backyard.