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Want to Increase Student Registration in Sports Events? Make it Affordable

14 Jun, 2017

By: Mary Helen Sprecher
New Statistics Illustrate the Need for Planners to be Cost-Conscious When Trying to Recruit Students from College Clubs, Intramural Programs

While much ink has been spread on the need to recruit Millennials to participate in sports events, one big challenge apparently remains: the price.

According to an article in Travel Weekly, the cost of travel remains the primary concern of students who are deciding where to travel – and how. And that is likely to affect their participation in sports events. Savvy planners should know, therefore, the concerns of this group.

A few numbers pop up immediately from a survey of nearly 5,000 student travelers released by StudentUniverse, a Boston-based travel-booking service.

90: The percentage of students who say price is their biggest motivator when it comes to booking travel

65: Percentage of students who would be willing to take a flight with one or more stops to save money when higher-cost direct or nonstop options are available.

60: Percentage of students who would fly to a less convenient airport to save money

71: Percentage of students who would sacrifice convenience for savings of between $50 and $100

64: Percentage of student and youth travelers who noted they pay for their travel themselves

This is also the tech-savvy generation, and you can count on it to leverage the sharing econoy:

25: Percentage of students who said they prefer to stay in Airbnb accommodations when traveling. In addition, students are likely to leverage other aspects of the sharing economy, such as Uber, particularly if they are flying into far-flung airports.

22: Percentage of students who will search for fares using mobile apps

72: Percentage who book using a desktop

While varsity sports programs in college will set up travel arrangements for student-athletes, those participating in sports through college clubs and intramural programs are likely to be the target group making their own plans and looking to save money. Planners can help by offering lower student rates, providing as much advance notice as possible, and by noting the presence and availability of app-based programs such as Uber, Lyft and more. This is unlikely to be the group who will be using a stay-to-play arrangement, so providing information on Airbnb, VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner) and more will likely be well-received.

One thing’s for certain, though: this is still sports tourism. According to the Travel Weekly article, “Once they get to their destination, 41 percent of students are looking for opportunities to get off the beaten path and have authentic experiences. Fewer than four percent of respondents said that checking out bars and clubs were their top priority when traveling. “

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