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The Big Pivot

Many of you have been followers of the Monday Morning Huddle Up for several years. Those of you that have been readers since at least when this pandemic thing started have been tracking our “Pivot” series. Above and beyond the 52 weekly Monday publications in 2020, we issued an additional 93 editions that were focused on the new world we are now living in (or how we can all “Pivot” to this new reality). Beyond these additional writings, our team at the Huddle Up Group spent most of the past 13 months focused on our own pivot. A BIG pivot, that came to fruition this past week.

Last Tuesday we unveiled a new event match-making tool that leans on our 3-year-old destination evaluation platform, the Sports Tourism Index. The new match-making tool, called Scout, allows for CVBs and sports commissions to search for events that match their destination. It also provides an avenue for event rights holders to search for communities that match their events and that would potentially be good host partners.

We started developing this platform at the end of 2019 (pre-COVID). As in any new endeavor, the journey came with some nervousness, a few pathway alterations, and a lot of hard work by our entire team. The end goal was to provide a 365-day-a-year tool for both destinations and event owners to be able to transact with one another. A tool that would serve as an ongoing and more dynamic engagement platform than the conference “speed-dating” ecosystem that has existed in our industry for more than 20 years.

Along this big pivot journey we learned a lot. Here are a couple of takeaways:

  • Rising Tide – Our team’s DNA is that if we provide tools or services to the industry that make it better, the rising tide raises all boats. If the industry is stronger, our clients and partners will be better off, and we as a team will benefit in the long run. The investment in developing this platform was very much in line with our mission and values at HUG.

  • The Needs of the Many Far Outweigh the Needs of the Few (Vulcan saying) – Every product is not for everyone. While the new Scout offering had better success in week one than even we expected, it isn’t for everyone. Not every destination believes they need it, and some rights holders have their own way of promoting their events. While it would be easy to try and debate anyone that has a different opinion on our platform than we do, the reality is that we need to invest our time and resources in those that want to engage and give them 100% of our attention. More people need a tool like this, so investing emotional capital in those that don’t really doesn’t help the larger group that wants to partner on the platform. We need to focus on the greater good here.

  • Human Capital Matters – The platform we developed can operate on its own with minimal interference from our team. The technology really runs itself. However, to optimize the user experience, there needs to be a human element. As part of our development and rollout of the new Sports Tourism Index and Scout, we added staff to support both the destinations and the event rights holders that were signing up to use the platform. We believe this human capital is the primary reason why our platform has the largest event database in the sports tourism industry, and why so many destinations and event owners have engaged with the system so early on. People matter. No matter how good your tech may be, people and relationships still make things go.

If you have read this far, you are either an avid Monday Huddle Up reader or you are curious about our new matchmaking offering. In either case, we thank you. As part of that thank you, we offer you one more tid bit here. A business development opportunity……

For anyone signed up with the Sports Tourism Index (even those that enroll for Free Access), we are hosting a webinar tomorrow (Tuesday, January 12th) at 11 AM EST. This webinar is about an event hosting opportunity this March. The event in question can only be found on the Sports Tourism Index + Scout platform. It is also from an event rights holder with an immediate need, which means this is a “now” opportunity for your community to get in the game.

All you have to do to attend the webinar is to sign up for the Index at the below link. Even if you sign up for Free Access, you will be sent an email to RSVP for the webinar on Tuesday.

To finish Mr. Spock’s quote about the needs of the many, if you add the last line, it reads like this.

“The needs of the many far outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.”

Let’s take Spock’s quote to heart this year. Let’s look out for the needs of the many and continue to make sports tourism the best industry in the universe.

Live long and prosper. Happy 2021.

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