Reinventing Our Hospitality Spaces In Sports and Entertainment Venues

hospitality 2

You have a picnic plaza that sells maybe 1/3 full on average for the year.  You have large suites for 35-100 pp that go unused many games.  You have unique spaces you try to rent, but find that it’s not often used.  What to do?

This is where brainstorming and creativity meet with analytics and demographics.  What demographics are you lacking? What appeals to those demographics?  What price point do they currently spend? What would they spend? How could you create that appeal?

I’ve worked with so many teams over the years and these are some of the questions we ask. From that, we create opportunities…sales opportunities.  For instance:

  • Millennials/women/ younger guys
    • Sell to groups of YPO’s or company YPO’s as well as organizations, women’s groups, singles groups, companies with women’s clubs, company departments male or female or both, etc. What to sell?
      • Craft beer tasting nights in unused suites/party areas.  Have a sponsor in craft beers? This can be a dream for them. Your ticket may include a craft beer flight.   Happy hour pricing all night along with happy hour pricing apps. This enhances a sponsorship and also introduces more clients to their product
      • Wine bar in unused suites/party areas. Have a wine sponsor? Great opportunity to introduce their wines.  First wine flight is included in ticket price. Happy hour pricing after along with happy hour pricing apps. Again, enhances sponsorship. Great to sell as bridal showers and baby showers too! Why not have it at your venue? Double sell as the spouses will be thrilled to be at the game while the shower is going on…or better yet, include the guys in it!
      • Margaritaville. Have a picnic plaza that’s no picnic anymore? How about turning it into a Margaritaville or similarly themed area.  Scale down the picnic menu and offer basics.  Have your lime-a-rita or margarita sponsor add their name to the area and the first tasty beverage will be included with the ticket price.  It’s a great place to mill around, have fun, and munch on a scaled back menu.
      • Champagne and … baseball / basketball / hockey / soccer / football / concerts …  how about Mimosa Mondays?  Can’t sell an area on Mondays…try Mimosa Mondays.  Online, there are a hundred different ways to create Mimosas.  Have a champagne sponsor? This could be all theirs.!  First tasty mimosa included with ticket or sampling of different types included.  Happy hour pricing for munchies, too. Can you imagine the showers/after hour parties/kick off the week parties you can sell?
  • Non profits:
    • Auctions / galas:  have a large space for 100?  Why not host a non profit to host their auction in the space?  Sell them a game ticket pricing for the space and they can charge whatever they usually charge. Give them an autographed item or better, a unique experience to auction off in their live auction.  Include tasty beverages, especially focusing on a sponsor beverage, and apps and you are on your way!
    • Have them auction off the space for their own event:  Just as diamond necklaces have a minimum bid (they have to cover the cost of the necklace); have the minimum bid start $100 higher than your cost.  Then pump it up with ideas it can be used for.  Remember, our clients (as well as us!) have been so used to seeing spaced used in only one way.  The sky is the limit…help them see it differently.  I did this once with a $3500 suite and it went for $11,000 because they included wine tasting and apps.  All in all, we sold it for $5K, they made $6K.
  • Focal groups:  
    • Chef classes:  baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey : sell a 6 game package. Once or twice a month.  This package includes:  breakfast sampler, appetizer sampler, dessert sampler, main course sampler, sandwich sampler, host a party sampler.  What does this do?  It enables the foodies in the community to buy an increased price 6 game package that enables one of your chefs to showcase the night…come in an hour earlier, watch the prep, get the recipe and how it’s done, then enjoy while watching the game/concert. Can be sponsored!
    • The wine connoisseur package / craft brew package.    A one night package for departments, groups, clubs, etc.that learn about wines and food pairings, while enjoying wine flights and apps. or craft brew education. Ticket price includes all. Can be sponsored!
    • Building your team.  Conversation and education about building a team…be it on the court/field/arts.  Express it in terms that are familiar to you and help them see we ALL have the same challenges…but how do we do it in our venue? Sold to a group of leadership from a company, organization, etc. Ticket includes education pre-event and food and beverage

Think about it:  Mimosa Monday space; Team Tuesday space; Wine Sampling Wednesdays, The Craft Beer Tasting Thursdays, and Foodie Fridays for chef classes!

Einstein’s definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.  Let’s ask our people. There are hundreds of other ideas. What can YOUR team create? Let’s have them brainstorm, visit the areas, and decide how we can repurpose them.  Remember…if they help create it, they will not want it to fail and will sell it. What have you got to lose if the space is not used well now?

Share your ideas in the comment section!

Kathy Burrows, SOS…Sold Out Seating

In person or 6 or 12 month web training sessions of developing your sales staff or leadership, contact:

Sign up to follow my blog and don’t miss an article at:

“Since I followed you yesterday I have been obsessed with your articles! There is great information in them and are all so insightful! As a Marketing/Sales manager for a small junior hockey team, I can apply so much of this to my everyday work! Thank you for doing this and I look forward to future articles!” TN  

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s