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Going to talk today about some trends that we see in the industry in the coming year. And I think one of the most interesting trends for those of us that have been in the sports commission, and visitor and convention bureau industries, is the fact that park and recreation departments are becoming increasingly interested in membership in the NASC. I find that particularly interesting, personally because we’re discovering that many park and recreation department actually create, promote, and run their own events, which makes them in the final analysis perhaps even more similar to a sports commission in many cases than a convention and visitors bureau where in the latter case there may be a focus on room nights, which is something we are going to talk about in just a minute or two. But we welcome additional park and recreation departments to our membership. We are at something in the range of 20 departments now, and we will be taking some steps during the year to increase that number, because they bring a lot to the table in terms of the dialogue and they’re truly qualified as active members of our association, because they’re so involved with the production of their own events. So that would be a first trend.
The second trend starts with a question; I wonder how many of us think, what would be the case in terms of room rebates if we didn’t have a focus on room nights? I wonder if there isn’t a direct tie in between the emphasis that a destination places and the importance that a destination places on developing room nights through sports above and beyond all other considerations. And if by doing that, that doesn’t encourage event owners to feel that not only can there be room rebates, but the room rebates that could perhaps overtime and with a change in destinations continue to go up. I remember being surprised when rebates were in the five to ten dollar range; I am shocked that we have managed to get in the 30+ dollar range in some cases around the country. So I think a one of the cost on a focus on room nights could very well be increasing room rebates. And from that stand point I think it’s good to look back 20 years ago, when sports commissions were the primary way to bid on events. These was a tremendous focus on quality of life. Destinations were looking for events that were going to make something exciting happen in their communities, and yes television exposure was very important. But in the final analysis doing things like having the USA Volleyball National Women’s Team come to your destination and play another international squad with no visitor spending, was a real focus of a sports commission. And that kind of focus does not encourage event owners to pursue room rebates, let alone commissions. Now one the major event owners in the United States, the NCAA, moved to a commission on all room nights for all NCAA National Championships, across all divisions in 2014. That was a seismic shift and we’ll see how that works out for the NCAA and for the destinations. And importantly for the very people that are attending these championships, which in the final analysis are the people, all of us are supposed to be more concerned about.
And then I think finally, there is a trend in our industry that has come up at the latter part of 2014, there is a shrinkage and or consolidation of some of the events that take place every year in the sports travel industry. The United States Olympic Committee recently made a decision to assign the rights to the SportsLink congress to the Connect Sports people, and we’re have to see how that works out. That is a not-for-profit transfer of rights to a for profit, I rather suspect that that’ll be reflected in the cost of attending that conference, but it’s a market driven economy and we’ll see what happens.
So for the coming year, we see more park and recreation departments getting engaged in the industry, we see this puzzle about room rebates and commissions continual need to be something that we all have to focus on, and finally there some shifts and changes in industry conferences. I can tell you that the NASC has decided to keep its independence, but we are also going to attend each of the industry conferences this year. Thanks for your attention.