SportsEvents Magazine

JUL 2018

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

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www.sportseventsmagazine.com July 2018 17 t GAME Plan that do not normally include breakfast in their rates will offer included breakfast to entice teams to book with them," Akright said. In partnership with CVBs, many hotels will post exterior and/or interior signage to recognize the teams and welcome them to the properties. These welcomes set the tone for the guests' stay, improving hotel and guest relations. Binoli Dua, brand communications man- ager for Hilton Worldwide, said, "Hilton has always emphasized the importance of athletics, fitness and personal wellness – it is engrained in our history." Dua shared details of a guest-centric innovation that is at the core of Hilton's DNA: "As travelers continue to evolve to become more wellness-minded both in their daily lives and while traveling for both leisure and business, we want to continue to meet those evolving needs and keep our guests healthy and happy before, during and after their stay," she said. "From being the first hotel company to standardize hotel gyms more than 20 years ago to introduc- ing groundbreaking new concepts like the Five Feet to Fitness in-room gyms, Hilton continues to be on the forefront of trends in wellness travel." In 2017, Hilton introduced its Five Feet to Fitness concept. Part traditional hotel room, part miniature fitness center, Five Feet to Fitness rooms are designed with wellness in mind, as opposed to traditional rooms with fitness equipment added as an afterthought. Fast Company recently recognized Hilton as a "most innovative company" in the wellness space largely due to the introduction of Five Feet to Fitness, and the concept has been acclaimed by many travel and lifestyle publications since launching. Currently, Five Feet to Fitness is avail- able at nine Hilton-family properties across the country from Hilton McLean, Virginia to Parc 55 in San Francisco. CVBs, in addition to sports commissions, are also key resources when teams travel to a destination, and many hotels and local DMOs work hard to make sports teams feel welcome. "We do welcome our teams in unique ways when possible," said Cherie Gwinn, sports development manager of the Spokane Sports Commission, referring to the many hotels that cater to sports teams in Spokane, Wash. "For many of these athletes, this tournament might be the culmination of a year's worth of sacrifice or it could be the final step before reaching their goal. That's a special experience so we try to make their stay with us just as special." In Michigan, Stephanie Burns, director of sales for the Delta Hotels by Marriott Grand Rapids Airport, said having experience with multiple sports groups traveling to the area allows the groups to work together to welcome athletes, as well as their families and fans. "The West Michigan Sports Commission recently hosted the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) lacrosse tournament, in addition to events in ice skating, baseball, volleyball, basketball and they are currently in negotiations with bowling and weight lifting groups," Burns said. "Having the flexibility to take any sports team has really opened up a great partnership with the West Michi- gan Sports Commission and Experience Grand Rapids for us. "Our property is managed by National Hospitality Services, which has 27 hotels within its portfolio. All of our hotels have the capability to host sports teams and events. Being a full-service Marriott hotel, we are able to provide extra amenities which can be geared specifically to the team," Burns said. Spokane's Gwinn explained how the Sports Commission works with local hotel properties like the DoubleTree when coordinating hotel stays for team travel. The hotels understand that sports teams and corporate guests are different travelers with different needs: "They each arrive at the hotel in different ways, they wake up and eat at different times and they each have their own unique set of needs. Understanding and knowing that can show a sports team you've taken the time to learn about them and you appreciate their business." Banners. Snacks. Meeting rooms. On-site or in-room athletic facilities or outdoor space for warm-ups. Breakfast. Celebratory pizza for the winning team. Transportation assistance. These things make tournaments magical, reduce stress and give families a break. Look for the extra touches that mean the most to your team. n Marriott The Delta Hotels by Marriott Grand Rapids Airport has an indoor pool with a three-story waterfall.

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