9. Big leadership changes. Watch what’s happening in the C-suite, Schmieder says. Destination Marketing Association International made leadership changes in 2016, NASC is doing it this year, and a handful of national governing body executives (USA Volleyball, USA Swimming, USA Diving and USA Shooting, among them) have announced resignations since the Rio Games. “We are not sure if this is a good thing or not, but it seems to us that this is more top-shelf turmoil than normal,” Schmieder says.
10. Stay-to-play and compliance tools are gaining importance. “They are creating visibility into the travel patterns of individual teams and team members and real policy decisions for organizers where teams have flown under the stay-to-play radar for a long time,” says Bill Barclay, vice president of software engineering at Experient, whose registration and hotel reservation platforms are used by about 4 million events attendees per year.
11. Hotel competition revs up. Hotel demand will rise again in 2017, creating compression and putting further downward pressure on the rebate discussion in markets that have other events occurring during the same timeframes, Barclay says.
12. Large special events are collaborating with DMOs.“Planners of large special events are feeling the pressure to provide a return on investment from the community,” says Hawkins. “They’re asking DMOs to assist in upgrading these events to become destination events that will draw overnight visitors and generate a measurable economic impact to the city and businesses.” One example is the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, which expanded into a 10-day event. “They asked us to help with measuring number of visitors and marketing ancillary events and the event to national and international racers, auto organizations and international media,” she says. “This year, we will plan a press tour around the race.”
13. Smarter volunteers and coordination platforms. With universities offering more sports tourism departments, there’s a larger, more educated student group that wants to volunteer at sporting events, Hamm says. At the same time, volunteer-coordination platforms are helping with the identification, verification and deployment of volunteer resources at the event site. Barclay says mobile-location awareness and check-in systems are increasing overall event safety and expanding the communication reach of volunteer organizers.