When they return, sports leagues will overlap more than ever, and corporate sponsors will face the challenge of placing all their tickets
Hello and welcome to part two of our mini-series, The Big Push, as we explore the best ways to avoid invite fatigue. If you’re like me, and most of the world today, your Memorial Day weekend was spent inside, avoiding others, and completely sport-less. Maybe you enjoyed watching Tiger, Phil, Peyton, and TB12 square off on the green in Capital One’s The Match II, but that was nothing compared to the usual holiday weekend lineup of NBA playoffs, MLB completing almost a third of its regular season, the start of the French Open, and the beginning of the Stanley Cup.
… quietly wipes away tears…
BUT… Some good news pertaining to the return of live professional sports did surface recently with the NHL announcing preliminary plans for returning to league play with a 24-team playoff. The NBA is close to an announcement of the same nature and NASCAR has already resumed its racing season. With these recent developments in play, The Big Push is unfolding quickly before our very eyes. Sports are returning to form and corporate partners with assets in multiple leagues need to implement strategic planning around their allocation workflows before it’s too late.
Scheduling Phase 1: Planning
Last week, we dove into the practice of creating freshly designed invites to capture the attention of the decision-maker and ensure they accept your invitation over any others. However, before even getting to the invitation stage, a concrete invitation strategy and workflow must be developed. Ask yourself: what are the KPIs your company will measure the success of your hospitality program by? Will you use these assets primarily to reward existing clients? Convert new prospects? Cut employee retention? Or something else entirely. Whatever the case, identifying how your company, or your client, wants to utilize their sports assets is an imperative first step in creating strategic programming.
Then begin targeting specific games with priority departments. For example, if your company wants to focus on converting new commercial prospects, then identify early the high-interest games and block them off for this use. Weekday events are great for hosting businesses so utilize a Thursday or Monday Night Football game for a suite-wide networking or broker event. Weekend games are better for your top prospect to bring the whole family. Remember to pay special attention to holiday games as these are harder to fill with customers unless they can bring family members.
Scheduling Phase 2: Programming
Once you complete your pre-allocation process, it is important to maintain an optimized requesting workflow for the remaining event experiences your company owns. At this point, The Big Push (all sports resuming play concurrently), seems to be coming in mid- to late-July – now is the perfect time to start this process.
At Best.Day.Ever. we stick to a tried and tested protocol of approving business requests 30-days in advance of any event to provide enough lead time for an RSVP response, accommodation booking and logistics, and any contingency planning needed. However, with coronavirus, the Big Push, and invite fatigue, we will be extending this timeline for most of our clients.
The next step of this is to confirm all RSVPs 7-14 days before the event. This will give you and your team an accurate sense of the guest list and allow for prospecting and guest lists to be completed.
For less desirable games, have an “internal overflow” system in place for the week of the event. Another Best.Day.Ever. Trick of the trade is to poll department heads about their top achievers, combine those insights with an employee survey about fan affinities, and reward deserving employees with unexpected experiences they can enjoy with their family and friends. To date this strategy has worked exceptionally well, cutting attrition at multiple levels of the labor force.
If after this outreach you still have tickets unclaimed, have a list of company employees readily available to do an internal raffle where you either pick names at random, or send a quick email blast specifying the first responders will get tickets. In other cases, opportunities to liquidate unused tickets before an event may become available. The obvious reselling markets like StubHub and SeatGeek are great, but our technology partner TicketManager has developed a great market for this as well, passing more benefit on to their customers.
Putting It All Together
To avoid invite fatigue when all major sports leagues return simultaneously, a strategic program of allocation workflow must be created. Identifying key dates of events to be used by priority departments and then having a specific protocol for how you utilize the remaining assets will ensure nothing gets left by the wayside. In a world where John Smith, CEO of Smith Enterprises, gets invited to five different events from five different companies, you want to beat them to the punch by requesting, approving, and inviting him well before the competition does.
Remember – this allocation strategy is the same for any COVID-outcome. Whether fans are allowed in stadiums, or your company has developed an effective at-home engagement plan. First mover advantage is important here, you are competing against Netflix and Hulu more than ever before.
Need help putting your allocation program together? Contact Best.Day.Ever. for guidance!