The Best & Worst Times to Schedule Your Event
When thinking about the best time of year to schedule a tournament or event, there are a ton of factors to consider – venue availability, weather, school schedules, availability of staff / officials, you name it – the list goes on and on.
Often times, what might seem like a perfect time to schedule an event can turn into a nightmare for you and your out of town attendees if all factors aren’t being considered, including ones that might not be so obvious (like hotel availability)!
For nearly 20 years, we’ve been working with tournaments and events of all sizes and have seen firsthand the effects of both good and not so good scheduling. While each event is unique and should be considered individually, here are some guidelines to think about when deciding on a time for your next event:
The Best Times
During times of high “need” from local hotels
When hotels know they’re likely going to sell out regardless of whether or not they give blocks to your event, their ability to give the best rates and room types to you and your attendees decreases significantly. Conversely, if your event is during a time where there’s not a lot going on in the area, the chances of them giving you exactly what you need goes way up.
Simply put – more hotel availability = more rooms and better rates (and gives you more room for better rebates)!
Holidays & Breaks
This is a tricky one, as sometimes holidays and breaks can fall into the “worst times” category, which we’ll go into more below. However, under the right circumstances, these could be some of the best times for your event.
With more and more families turning their tournament travel into part of their yearly vacation planning, a holiday weekend or break can be the perfect time for your event, if the following conditions are met:
- Plenty of hotel availability
- Things for them to do outside of the event (like shopping, especially around the end of year holiday season, places for them to take their other kids, etc.)
- Proximity to other attractions (drive-able distance to family-friendly entertainment)
The Worst Times
During other major events
Even in areas where there are plenty of hotels, you’ll need to consider what else might be going on in the area that could limit the number of rooms available to your attendees and drive the hotel rates way up, especially if your event is a “Stay-to-Play.”
Some examples of other event weekends to potentially avoid are:
- College graduation weekends
- Festival weekends
- Large conferences
- Professional sports opening weekends
Peak season in resort / destination towns
While it may seem like a great idea to host a tournament or event in a destination town since many people would like to go there, if your event is during peak season (Summer in a small beach town, for example), it may be very difficult to find enough rooms for your attendees if you would like them to stay in event-approved blocks.
In addition to having limited room availability due to the high number of vacationers in these areas, many of the hotels or resorts are independently owned and operated, and the owners often rely on the vacationers during their peak season for the bulk of their business. As a result, many of these smaller hotels or resorts are not as willing to set aside an entire block of rooms for an event, unless you’re willing to guarantee the rooms up front.
As mentioned above, sometimes holidays can be some of the best times to plan your event, as families already have the time off from school and work. However, if there are competing events going on in the area that are already bringing in lots of out-of-towners or it’s during peak season in a smaller community (like 4th of July or Memorial Day weekend in a beach town), you may want to consider some other scheduling options.
The Bottom Line
When scheduling your event, you should be considering all the factors that will affect your ability to hold the event, to provide enough staff and vendors, to get the venues you need, to attract the most attendees, and have enough rooms at a reasonable rate for your attendees to stay in.
In addition to thinking through all of these factors yourself, our top recommendation is to work with the CVB or Sports Commission of the area you’re hosting your event in, as well as your housing provider. Here at PSE, we’re proud to work with each one of our clients to help them determine the best timing for their events from a housing standpoint, so they can ensure the most room nights and best rates for their attendees.
If you have any questions about the timing for your next event and are looking to get started, drop us a line below and we’ll be happy to help!