Formerly known as the Market Segment Meetings, the 4S Summit occurred for the first time under its new name on October 9 – 11, 2017 in Detroit. This Summit was planned and hosted by the National Association of Sports Commissions and focused on 4 different areas that are important and relevant to the sports tourism industry – Sponsorship, Strategies, Services, and Sales.
25 sessions occurred over several days and were all an open discussion round table format that encouraged vibrant and active conversation. The content leaders were experts in their topics and provided great insights while facilitating discussion amongst attendees.
The format of these sessions was one of the things I liked the most. The groups attending could connect and discuss issues that directly relate to their everyday work and were able to take home applicable ideas and insights.
Keeping with the theme of 4 – here are four of my key educational takeaways from this conference.
Post-Event Sponsorship Reports
This session covered the do’s and don’ts of what should be included in a sponsorship recap report, as well their importance and the variety of formats they come in. One of the takeaways was remembering to start off the report with actual demographic information; Specifics on who attended and as much information about their demographic as you can provide. This helps sponsors make sure they are engaging with their target audience and assists in measuring ROIs. This was a reference website they provided with further information on key elements of a sponsorship report.
Services – an Open Discussion Session
In addition to the round table discussions, an open session on each topic was held. I attended the ‘Services’ open discussion. Being in a small group was beneficial as we had more time to discuss in depth the event services each of the participating CVB’s and Sports Commissions offered. My takeaway from this session was that although we offer set event services, it is okay to think outside the box.
Sales – Local Clubs and their role in a LOC
This session was attended by a mix of full service sports commissions and CVB’s and offered a unique perspective as the events differed from very large multi-day events to smaller one-day tournaments. One important recurring trend that was mentioned was the importance of having a CVB/Sports Commission staff member on Local Organizing Committees (LOC). Having this staff member be a part of the LOC helps to streamline many aspects of the planning process and provides one point of contact for local hotels, vendors, etc.
Services and Technology
It happens a few times a year – the super busy sports event weekends where the city is sold out and sports events abound. How do you help promote these events on social media without oversaturating your social media audience? The answer to this question was my key take-away from the Technology and Event Services session. One strategy for Facebook was to plan and strategize your posts. Stagger posts throughout the day and geo-target different parts of the city based on the post's content. By utilizing the geolocation tool, you can target attendees of a marathon downtown in the morning and then target a baseball tournament on the east side of town in the afternoon.
I can't wait to put these ideas into action here at the Eugene, Cascades & Coast Sports Commission and to assist on your next event.