It’s not just a weekend sporting event, it’s a Sportcation!

Travel league sports are fast becoming a leading part of the make-up of athletes with an eye on obtaining “the next level.”  Many of those involved believe it to be not only a “proving ground” but, the place to be discovered by prospective coaches and scouts.  In some instances, athletes forgo a high school career, choosing league play combined with web based profiles in order to get recruited.

And of course, all these athletes and the families who travel with them need a place to stay.  Some tournaments, held over long weekends include a three night stay.  Just recently, the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area of Alabama played host to several events simultaneously.  The soccer tournament alone touted over 210 teams and over 10,000 spectators in attendance.  These are huge numbers and a whole lot of room nights.  Although the focus of the weekend is the tournament, many families try to combine the sporting event while exploring and experiencing the local flavor of the city they find themselves.

Hotels can quickly sale out with those kinds of numbers.  What can you as a hotel manager do to cash in and increase RevPar while creating a memorable weekend for your guests?  Glad you asked. There are easy ways to make your team families more comfortable as well as show them what’s happening outside of your hotel walls!

  1. Be sure you know about events happening in the area.  Hotels 20-30 miles from the venue are not too far away.

  2. Introduce yourself to tournament directors and see if you can get a booking link on its website.  Offer to be a “host hotel” for the event.  Let them know if you have free parking or places for oversized vehicles.

  3. Many hotels offer a free “hot” breakfast, which is a huge deal to families.

  4. Consider offering evening snacks and drinks.

  5. Laundry services and ice machines are important to these guests. Let them know upon check-in where they can find both and perhaps offer to make change or provide soap.

  6. Even small things like extra bedding in the rooms … many teams group multiple kids in a room and the pull out couch really does get used.

  7. Onsite computers are a bonus for players that also need to keep up with homework in between games.

  8. Work with restaurants close by and let guests know of any specials during the tournament weekend. I’ve talked to hotel managers who have great relationships with nearby businesses and welcome the opportunity to invite their guests to visit them.

  9. Work with area attractions and invite guest to take advantage of downtime in between or after games.  Maybe there’s a state park nearby you can offer as a retreat for a few hours.

  10. Continue to be courteous and friendly.  Making teams and families feel welcomed is a huge part of your identity.  Many of these folks will be back “next year.”

This is by no means a complete list of dos, but it’s a start.  If you haven’t already, get to know what sport travel leagues are in your city and if they host local tournaments.  Chances are if there is one, they’re hosting some type of event during the year.  We like to say that when families are able to incorporate family vacation time during these tournament weekends, they can take home more than just a game trophy for a souvenir.