SportsEvents Magazine

JAN 2012

SportsEvents is edited for those who plan tournaments or other sports events.

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Home GAMEPlan 8 Thinking About A Hotel As Your Competition Site? Questions To Ask Yourself BY T. WAYNE WATERS You Book Hotels and resorts are increasingly on sports event plannersʼ radar screens not only as places to provide lodging for athletes and others involved in a major sports event but also as a site to actually hold a competition. Hotels and resorts operate somewhat differently, however, than sports facili- ties and metropolitan convention centers, and planners should consider the dis- tinctions when contemplating bringing their sports event to a hotel. Here are eight questions to ask yourself before you book a hotel for a competition. 1. Can The Hotel Handle My Sporting Event? There are a surprising number of athletic competitions that can be held at hotels: ten- nis, badminton, martial arts, weightlifting, bodybuilding, fencing, beach volleyball, pool volleyball, cheer and dance, table tennis, billiards, chess, bridge and more. But you need to be sure a hotel can handle your group's bulky equipment. Laurie Lopez, director of operations for Colorado Springs-based USA Weightlifting, has run into problems with hotels lacking the infrastructure or equipment necessary to handle USAW's heavy gear. "Very often, hotels don't have a loading dock or forklifts, so it can be difficult to get equipment in and out and, for some types of events, this can require additional arrangements," said Lopez. Mary LaVine, president of Madison, Wis.-based Bullseye Games, produces billiards competitions at Kalahari Resorts and at others on behalf of the Wisconsin Amusement and Music Operators organization. "The most important things are the loading dock and that the event space isn't too far from it so we don't have to have our guys take our gear all the way to the other side of the facility. We eliminate as many locations as we approve." ■ 3. How Important Is Greater Control? Another aspect of the all-in-one scenario besides simple convenience is the increased event con- trol planners can often exercise at a hotel. "As an event organizer, you'll have more con- trol over an event at a hotel or resort," said Michael O'Connor, vice president of conference management for Gaylord Opryland Resort and Conference Center in Nashville, Tenn. "In our facility, you've got one or perhaps two points of con- tact who are going to expedite all requests you have. That gives you more control over the attendee experience." ■ 2. How Important Is All-in-One Convenience? Patricia Smith, executive director of the Crossville, Tenn.-based U.S. Chess Federation (USCF) is quite direct about her preference for hotels in hosting her organization's tournaments. "I do not enjoy using convention centers," Smith said. "It means there are two entities I have to work with instead of one." Mark Kaufman, director of national events for Colorado Springs-headquartered USA Taekwondo, the national governing body for the sport in the United States, also sees the same kind of advantage to holding martial arts competitions in a hotel. "The advantage for an event planner is that it's a one-stop shop," he said. "The same management team handles your venue and housing needs. There's an ease of service that's involved." Hotel representatives said they are fully aware of their convenience factor. Lauren Cason, director of public rela- tions and marketing communications for the recently redeveloped and reopened 1,193-room Hyatt Regency New Orleans, said hosting certain kinds of sports events is something she would consider for the iconic downtown Big Easy hotel. "With the number of rooms we have and the amount of meeting space, we can offer planners a self-contained event." ■ Subscribe Contact S.P.O.R.T.S. 2012 14 January 2012 www.sportseventsmagazine.com ▼ Before

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