Benefits of Long-Term and Multi-Year Contracts
31 Dec, 2009By: Stephanie Gigliotti
Location, check. Facility, secured. Hotels, locked down. Attractions, discounted. Event successfully completed. Time for a break? Nope, time to start searching for your new event destination.
Selecting your exact facilities and location is exhausting and time consuming. Much time is needed and consumed to research, select and visit potential new hosts for your event. Choosing a host and ensuring it's a successful one continuously, is strenuous. Once you find this place, why not stay for a while; go back for a few years or host a variety of similar events at that same location?
One way to make this happen is by securing multi-year contracts with the location.
Going back to the same venue proves to be a major benefit. Working with a first year facility can be somewhat intimidating. You don't know what you are walking into, how the staff works, where to load in and out, or even know your way around the venue.
Alleviate those worries by going back someplace you are familiar with; event operations, set up, tear down, walk through and layout become easier. You have a better understanding and feel for the venue and the host community's atmosphere. You know your way around and can easily direct those in need. When it comes to planning for your next event, the scheduling of dates, vendors, suppliers, hotels and the venue will become less of a hassle.
Multi-year contracts assist the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) in the establishment and leverage of stronger relationships with all parties involved - facilities, hotels, restaurants and sponsors. Additionally, event operations and organization are greatly enhanced due to familiarity with the facility, community, volunteers and staff.
Multi-year contract events are appropriate and beneficial to all, taking into consideration a variety of factors.
Staffing & Volunteers
First, familiarity is a big component when considering multi-year contracts. Collaborating with the same people, organizations and networks lessens the stress of uneducated help. Having to retrain staff and volunteers can be exhausting and sometimes expensive, so working with an already knowledgeable staff builds confidence that your event can and will be successful each year.
The supporting staff within your organizations and in the LOC grows more knowledgeable and educated with each event executed. Having the opportunity to work with the same staff year after year, they have a growing understanding of your needs and expectations - along with experience working, running and organizing your event. They have proven to be reliable additions to the event and strengthen the confidence and trust you have in the LOC and host venue, city and hotel.
Although adjustments are made year to year and event to event, you can rest assured that the staff and LOC have the skills and capability to execute the changes. Continuing to work with the same staff or organization, you know what you can expect from them; you know their abilities, their strengths and weaknesses. Acquiring these attributes enhances the event time after time.
Relationships with event accessories like hotels, restaurants and attractions are also built and strengthened through multi-year contracts. Each has a better understanding of what to expect and how to prepare when your event comes to town. Even going one step further, creating event specific opportunities at each individual location. For example, the city could coordinate local festivals and events pre- and post-event dates, coordination of local restaurants to run event themed specials like the First Base Burger, Strike Out Salad, or Grand Slam Sunday. A discount day can be planned at the local amusement or water park.
With more time to plan and coordinate, just like the hotels and restaurants, the local vendors and suppliers used from the previous year can be prepared for you well in advance. Having them well equipped and ready to support your event creates a greater environment for all involved.
Strengthening relationships with the LOC, Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) or Sport Commission continues to enhance your event. Communication between all parties increases as new and additional ideas are exchanged about the enhancement and excitement of the event's atmosphere.
A financial commitment and support through local and national sponsors is another advantage to multi-year contracts. The guarantee of return business is very inviting to potential sponsors.
Many sponsors agree to opportunities that meet and support their needs and mission. Securing return business is one of those incentives. Sponsorship numbers can increase due to the return business the following year. This also gives you the option and flexibility to create more incentives or perks for sponsors.
Developing creative packages includes an added value for potential sponsors. With a variety of packages, attracting an assortment of sponsors is more feasible. Bonus items and recognition can include donations, discount coupons, welcome banners and raffle prizes. Go beyond the basics to develop flexible mutually-beneficial packages.
When considering a multi-year contract, expenses can increase quickly. Many events now require bid fees from potential hosts. With the advantage of agreeing to a multi-year contract, CVBs and Sports Commissions are more willing to help supplement some of these costs. They may have the resources to lower your expenses and complement these bid fees. Guaranteeing the returning business, rights holders, working in conjunction with the CVB or Sports Commission can figure out the best budget for the event.
With many events currently trying to do more with less, CVBs and Sports Commissions are helping to secure discounts from their members and assisting event operations - in turn creating additional multi-year contracts with local vendors. This multi-year partnership affects and impacts all event entities, including the local economy.
Creating an Identity
Creating a location identity can help ease the stresses of traveling, for your staff, participants, family and fans. Recognizable locations can help attract additional participants, fans and spectators.
Attendees have the opportunity to become familiar with the area. This helps increase the ease of travel stress. No more getting lost on the way to venues, hotels and airports, because they have been there before. Competitors, families and guests feel like it's a home away from home. Perhaps finding a restaurant to go back to upon their return, or participate in local festivities and traditions during that time of year. This builds a connection between the athlete and the community.
An example of a multi-year contract would be the U.S. National Target Championship with U.S. Archery. They continually choose to revisit the same location. They hosted the event for a few years in Michigan before moving to the home of the United Stated Olympic Committee, Colorado Springs, Colorado, where it stayed for three years.
In 2009 the event was held at Joyce Park in Hamilton, Ohio and will return to the venue in July 2010. With a proven successful event history at other sites, choosing the Ohio location helped increase athlete registration. Looking forward to 2010, participation is expected to increase.
"The City of Hamilton and Butler County did a fantastic job on our 2009 U.S. Target Championships." stated Denise Parker, USA Archery CEO.
Through the relationship that was built with USA Archery, by the local club, Cincinnati Junior Olympians, and the Butler County Visitors Bureau (BCVB,) along with constant communication, the event had to change locations in mid 2009 season to Hamilton, Ohio. By working together and keeping the lines of communication open through the process, the LOC and CVB really stepped up on short notice to help make the event a huge success.
Communication between all the organizations was endless. With the assistance from the BCVB the tasks and responsibilities delicate to them, were completed in a timely fashion. The BCVB support on this event ranged from financial, securing venders, volunteers, to working the week-long tournament. By knowing the needs and wants of USA Archery, the LOC was able to meet and exceed USA Archery's expectations.
Although the event is not until July 2010, the preparations and communications for the event have already begun. The brainstorming sessions are in full force. What improvements can be made? What can the park do to make the event better? How can the surrounding communities be more involved?
Knowing the benefits produced through hosting the 125th U.S. National Target Championships, the BCVB is very eager and excited to have the prestigious event return in 2010.
With the same staff at the BCVB and LOC, getting the ball rolling on the event in late 2009 proves that the event process will be simplified in 2010. The staff knows which vendors to contact and what volunteer groups to reach out to, as well as event time lines and expectations. Having previously organized and executed the event, gives the club and LOC a leg up in 2010 - freeing up more time to create and implement new ideas to make this a competition participants, fans and spectators alike, will never forget.
Although multi-year contracts have many benefits, they are not always advisable. For example, if you have a new or first year event and are uncertain as to the degree of success it will reach in the 1st year. Not having a track record for the event or the event being unable to find sufficient information on event history in previous communities, some facilities and organizations may shy away from agreeing to a multi-year commitment. Fear of the unknown, in this case, is a major obstacle.
Unfamiliarity with the event owner or event owner representative can also detour a host organization. Not knowing how well the groups will work together can decrease interest. So be sure to continually contact the host organization you are working with; the more comfortable they are with you, the better relationship you build and the more they are able to support your event with all of their recourses.
With the events industry continuously growing and providing successful numbers, host organizations, along with supporting communities, facilities, CVBs and Sport Commissions, are more willing and able to back and support a multi-year contract for your event.
Multi-year contracts are an excellent way to enhance your event. They are viewed more as a partnership between the LOC and rights holder. You get to build and strengthen relationships with many organizations and entities. Creating these partnerships brings about a multitude of new support and ideas.
The returning educated staff will help make your event run smoothly. They know and understand their duties. Undertaking the same role from the previous year or event creates consistency throughout. They have proven to be consistent and reliable. You know what to expect, eliminating any unnecessary stress about the staff.
Sponsors and other event support will grow.Providing potential sponsors with a variety of ways for organizations to become involved increases opportunity and strength of more sponsors.
The key is to try to understand each other's needs, expectations and abilities, and to work together on a common goal to enhance the event and attendee's experience. The CVB is there to help. Joining forces with them is a first-rate benefit and ally to have for your event.