Sporting events are a great way to make your prospects or other VIPs feel valued. However, a little extra effort can go a long way. Invest a little extra time in your experience to set your company apart.
1. Hospitality can start before your guests arrive.
This is a simple concept, but it is often missed. You can do so much more than just mail tickets or have them at will call for a guest. Take care of their transportation or have them reach out when they arrive, then arrange for their very own concierge escort them to their seats or suite.
One idea that gets overlooked consistently is providing your guests the full guests list of who will be in their suite. Even the most social guests can have anxiety over having to be put in a networking situation, when they may just want to watch the game. By providing a guest list, it allows all your guests to appropriately network with pre-research time allotted. It’s not just about you selling your prospect but improving their business relationships across the board. So, give them the opportunity.
2. Have your suite basics down.
Your guest should never be the first one in a suite nor should they ever be left alone. This isn’t because they cannot be trusted; a good suite captain or host can make every guest feel comfortable. Help them pick their seat, chat about to what’s on the menu or simply kick off the conversation.
Having an OUTGOING suite captain is an important factor in proper suite hosting. So many companies place the admins of their c-suite executives into hosting positions. However, this is an important role that the admin may not be 100% comfortable filling. You know your team members’ personalities. Make the right decision based on the person, not their role in the company. Find a balance between someone who is the life of the party and someone who will sit in the corner staring at their phone. Finding someone who is social, but not a party animal, is typically your sweet spot.
3. Create memorable experiences.
Many rely on the lavish nature of a suite or the sporting event itself to create the memorable experience for their guests. However, there are small things you can do to take this on yourself.
Always check with your property to see if they offer benefits to suite holders. This ranges from field visits, VIP tours, and paddock tours to autograph memorabilia. You want to make sure you know the full extent of what is offered in the facility (and what you can take advantage of). Sure, some of it might come at a cost, but creating a memorable experience is what will keep you top of mind in your prospects mind. Not to mention providing them opportunities to tell their friends, and maybe your next prospect, about the experience you created for them.
4. Subtle sales messaging wins the day.
Your guest knows why they are in your suite. This isn’t the time to do a full sales presentation. This is your time to create a relationship and build a comfort level between your prospect and yourself.
Sure, lay out your sales materials around the suite but please keep it simple. There is nothing worse than being in a suite and having that worst nightmare come true: you are going to be sold the entire time and not get the chance to experience the event that you are there for.
Figure out your prospect early. Are they vested in the event? If so, back off of them more and don't interrupt during key moments, you will only annoy them. Share in their fan experiences and you will be rewarded.
Hospitality at sporting events doesn’t have to be complicated. The subtle touches and extra efforts can pay off.
For more information on sporting events, download our ebook, 20 Questions to Sponsoring Success!