So here we are again, in the midst of another spectacular summer of sport. The World Cup is coming to the boil nicely, Wimbledon tickets have been as hot as ever, The Open Golf Championship will be getting underway soon and there is a series of test match cricket v India to look forward to?or get nervous about, depending on your perspective. The captain badly needs to score some runs!
Big sporting events, mean big hospitality opportunities.
Which client wouldn’t want to bask in the sunshine at Lords with a glass of bubbly, or take a stroll alongside the 18th fairway at Royal Liverpool before settling down over lunch to a fillet of beef and glass or three of claret? The answer: plenty.
The truth is that it can be remarkably difficult nowadays to get clients, and when I say clients, I mean genuine clients who fall into the category of ‘buyer’, to show up for hospitality events – no matter how attractive they might seem to the host. I’m not sure there are any reliable statistics on the matter, but I wager in the UK alone, millions of pounds are wasted every year on tickets for hospitality seats at major events that, come the big day, lie empty. Scandalous isn’t it?
Reasons vary but include genuine work pressures that mean time away from the desk is luxury that can ill be afforded, a realisation on the part of the invitee that acceptance of the hospitality invitation will be frowned upon by colleagues at all levels and maybe even against company policy and simple poor targeting and timing on the part of the host – didn’t they realise you’ve already been to their Wembley box twice this year already? It’s a waste that many organisations don’t even recognise the full extent of.
It needn’t be so bad. With proper processes and supporting technology, companies can play a much better game when it comes to driving a better return from their investment in sports hospitality.
In response to a major client request and after surveying the market to see what already existed, we have developed our own hospitality asset management tool, which we have chosen to call iHost. iHost allows client organisations to manage their Global sponsorship assets effectively, save time and reduce waste.
Features include ticket allocation, timely on brand invitation dispatch, visibility of uptake, records of attendance and the ability to link the information to a CRM system so clients can see exactly who has attended what and when and who within the host organisation is driving the relationship. Match this info to subsequent sales completed with the organisation or individual and you can get a sense of the value of the investment in that organisation/individual versus other customers who are not on the hospitality programme.
Information in iHost can be organised at a variety of levels including regionally and by event.
Like all systems, iHost benefits are only realised by solid behavioural processes that sit alongside. If these processes are absent or patchy, the system’s reporting will soon make this apparent. The game is up for the Sales Director who has a habit of filling seats with mates the week before the event is scheduled to take place. Recognise him anybody?
For the average sports fan, tickets for many of these prime hospitality events are referred to as Gold Dust. Isn’t it about time companies took a similar perspective and made greater efforts to get a return on their gold?
Now then. Who can get me a ticket for the Open?
Any comments? Email Paul Colston