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Ever think there are never enough hours in the day? Or that you’re the only person who returns emails on a regular basis? Don’t fret, you’re not the only one who deals with those issues, and more. At the Meeting Professionals International World Education Conference August 2-5 at Minneapolis, a number of speakers offered tips and suggestions on how to put on great meetings, no matter what the challenge.
One of the highlights of the opening day was the keynote by bestselling author Deepak Chopra, discussing his concept of “wellness real estate” and healthy indoor environments at the home, the office and where we meet. Related to his speech was the session, “Serve This, Not That,” on what we as meeting planners order from food & beverage for our events and meetings. Just asking the right questions of caterers can make choices healthier for attendees and save planners money.
Also top of mind for many in the sports events business is best use of time. The Accepted Practices Exchange (APEX) initiatives helps meeting and event planners organize their responsibilities, and the WEC session on APEX Savings Time helped explain the best use of this industry standard.
Want to use more video but aren’t sure how to go about it? “Video=Euphoric Results” offered great tips on using videos in marketing plans in lieu of the unread email backup that frustrates both the planner, and the person wanting more information.
“The MPI World Education Congress is my go to event each year for education and best practices for the meetings and events industry,” says Beth Hecquet, CMP, CMM, Director of Meetings and Events for the National Association of Sports Commissions. “The 2014 sessions were exceptional and I have brought back to the NASC offices innovative ideas to try and information to guide us as we plan the 2015 NASC Symposium in Milwaukee next April.”
Let’s talk for a few minutes about Sports Event Marketplaces. The NASC developed the first Sports Event Marketplace in the late nineties and since then it’s become an intricate part of the NASC Annual Sports Event Symposium. And looking at the recent responses from our meeting in Oklahoma City, we can tell that your interest in the sports marketplace is as high as or higher than ever, and it turns out to be the number one reason why many of you attend the symposium and we understand that. One of the questions I would ask you though is to determine for yourself whether you’re prepared for the sports marketplace before you begin. And now we’re talking from the cities point of view, because one of the concerns, I personally have is, that many of you are relatively inexperienced in the industry are expecting to go to the Sports Event Marketplace and pick up business in 10 to 12 minutes, when you’re not even sure whether your destination can host the events you’re talking about. How do you fix that?
First, don’t go to a Sports Event Marketplace until you know the kinds of events you can host, and which age groups, and why. And if you don’t know that, you’re going to have to find somebody to help you determine what you can do before you talk to anybody. Because what happens is, a very simple prophecy is fulfilled if you don’t know whether you can handle the event or not, and you show the event owner in a sports marketplace appointment that that’s the case, what you’re doing is losing the business, rather than gaining the business.
What’s a proper approach to a sports marketplace appointment? Be prepared, be absolutely ready with what you can do and don’t take appointments with people who have events that you can’t handle. How do you find out where these events are? You go to the Rights Holder section of our database and you can find hundreds of event owners, and you can determine by sport which ones you ought to be talking to. And it makes common sense, to go ahead and do your homework before you go to the marketplace, at all.
Now, there has been some thought about restricting appointments at the marketplace to people who have been members and have attended the symposium for at least two years, and not have marketplace appointments with new people. That, of course, is not what we are going to do. Instead, I think you’re going to find the NASC to rely itself increasingly on Rapid RFP Review sessions; where an event rights holder meets with 10 or 12, or 15 of you at one time, “Here’s what we’ve got, this is what we’re looking for, go off do your homework. When you know you have it, get in touch with us, let’s talk then.” That’s a great way to do this. What is not a great way is to say to yourself before you arrive on-site for a sports marketplace series of appointments, is all I have to do to be successful in this business is to have a bunch of appointments, talk to a bunch of people, I’ll make friends and they’ll want to do business with me.” That’s not the way this business works, never has, never will, and it will be a waste of your time and a waste of the other event owners time, also.
I wish you well in all of your marketplace appointments, but I also, would wish preparation and the understanding that in 10 to 12 minutes you can lose a relationship faster than you can gain one. It is a terrific way to go back and say hi to old friends and acquaintances, and remind them that you are still interested in doing business with them. It is a terrible way to show people that you’re too new to know what’s going on.
Video blog: Don Schumacher, CSEE, Executive Director
National Association of Sports Commissions
513.281.3888 – http://www.sportscommissions.org
Published August 18, 2014