Most industries are transactional in nature. One party buys or sells a product to or from another party. In the sports tourism and events industry this is also true. One event owner awards or “sells” an event to a destination. The most successful destinations we work with make sure that not only does the event comes off well, they also make sure that the relationship with the event owner stays strong. If those two things are in place (solid event support and a great relationship) what do you think the chances are that the event returns in the future? Exactly.
By continuing to build what we like to call “relationship bridges” with your stakeholders, a long-term foundation can be built to enhance the efforts of both parties. That foundation can also serve you well when the stuff hits the fan. It’s rare that everything goes as planned, right? A foundational relationship can be a “bank” of sorts to draw from if things go sideways at some point.
So how does this apply to the sports tourism and events industry? Three takeaways here…..
Renewals – It is easier to keep the clients and partners you have than it is to replace them. Where solid relationships exist, high renewal rates usually follow. We have some destinations we work with that renew over 90% of their events from one year to the next. When they are out looking for new business, they are only looking for 3-4 events a year to fill in the gaps, not for a whole new slate of business.
Intentionality – To build solid relationships one needs to be intentional and consistent in how that is carried out. One of our favorite methods to do this is the “Four Touch Rule.” In essence, this is the deliberate tracking of four individual meetings or conversations per year with each of your stakeholders. This strategy is a useful tool for keeping connections strong and opening lines of communication for purposes of relationship building and awareness. It is not simply for “favors” or “asks.” (Note: we can share more about this tactic if needed, just let us know).
Investment – We won’t kid you. Like most anything worthwhile, success doesn’t come overnight. In this case, victory requires an investment of your time. Time to reach out to people. Time to meet. Time to listen. And when needed, time to offer guidance (and also to take it). Time is a commodity that you will need to dedicate to build these foundational relationships.
Be intentional and consistent. Book time to invest. Build relationship bridges. Use them as foundations for future growth. A pretty simple formula.
Would you rather focus on relationships or transactions? Relationships win every time.