You’ve spent months putting all the pieces together for an outstanding tournament – you’ve selected the perfect venues, gotten support from local sponsors, set up agreements with local vendors, and all your teams are registered – you should be in pretty good shape for a successful tournament, right?
The good news is that yes, all of these things you’ve accomplished are essential to a successful tournament, so you’re on the right path. However, one of the key elements missing from this equation is something many tournament directors take for granted, or don’t work on until it’s too late in the planning process – where all their out-of-town teams are going to stay and what that experience will be like.
Why Is My Tournament Housing Strategy So Important?
Where your attendees are going to stay may not seem like a high priority at first – after all, aren’t there plenty of hotels in your area and don’t teams just want to handle their own accommodations? Not necessarily. While this approach may work for some, it also leaves much of your attendees’ experience up to chance.
Considering the fact they could be spending just as much time at their hotel as the tournament itself, where they end up staying can shape their view of the event just as much as the tournament itself – which is why it is so important to make sure they are provided with a world-class travel experience every step of the way, from their initial booking process to the minute they check out and head back home.
By setting up group blocks with the hotels in the area ahead of time, you’re not only ensuring that your attendees will be able to get the best hotels with the rest of their group at the best rates, but you’re also opening up a whole new opportunity to generate funding for the event you’ve worked so hard to pull off.
How Does Tournament Housing Affect my Bottom Line?
There are a number of factors that can affect your bottom line when it comes to tournament housing. You should never have to pay anybody or sign an agreement that makes you financially liable in any way for the rooms that end up being used / unused, but there are plenty of opportunities for you to make money through offering housing to your attendees – here are a few of the most common ones:
- Rebates: Most hotels will offer a set “rebate” per room night booked for your event that will be paid out to you directly once the event is over (ex. 100 room nights @ $10/night = $1,000 paid to your organization). You can technically request any rebate amount you would like, but it’s best to choose one that will still allow for the rates to be lower than the standard rates for your attendees.
- Complimentary Rooms: Another thing worth asking for are complimentary rooms for any out of town staff or coaches you may be needing to put up. Some hotels may offer what is called a “flat comp” with the block, which is just a complimentary room being offered in exchange for hosting a block there, while other hotels may require a specific number of rooms to be booked before awarding a comp – 1 per 10, 1 per 15, or 1/20 are all considered industry standards, depending on the hotel’s availability.
- Time Saved = Money Earned: Should you decide to use a third-party housing provider, the time you will save in not having to organize the hotel blocks, answer questions from teams, get the information out to parents, etc. is often worth just as much as the rebates or comp rooms you may receive. Since these services are often completely free of charge (like they are here at Pse!), the decision to use a planner is usually a win/win situation for tournament directors.
- Increased Likelihood of Returning Attendees: While this one may not be as immediately noticeable after your event, we know that it costs about 5 times as much (or more) to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one, and the same holds true for your attendees. If the teams you’ve worked so hard to bring to your event have a great experience all around – including with their housing – that’s less money you will have to spend next year to bring them back!
If you’d like to learn more about any of the items mentioned above or discuss your current housing strategy with one of our knowledgeable staff members, please feel free to contact us here.
Or, if you’d like to read more about creating an effective Tournament Strategy, including some tools for building your own “Winning Action Plan,” download our playbook by filling out the form below!