Stay-to-play policies limit attendees’ choices for tournament lodging, but they make it far easier for sports planners to track full attendance figures and accurately predict an event’s economic impact.
This inescapable fact is why many industry veterans like Serena Andrews Higdon, co-owner of Team Travel Source, advise anyone who’s not implementing stay-to-play to reconsider. Given the backlash you may receive at first, you’ll want to do it correctly from the beginning. Otherwise, you risk alienating the teams that make your tournament great. Try Higdon’s tried-and-true tips to get the ball rolling on stay-to-play.
Select the right inventory for your event and make sure it falls within a doable price range. It’s important to remember families often use these tournaments as a springboard to their vacations, especially in the summer, so avoid pricing them out from the get-go.
Proactively communicate to your teams. Change doesn’t always go over well, regardless of the circumstance. Letting everyone know stay-to-play is coming allows time for acceptance and understanding of how the policy will benefit the tournament in the long run. This includes sending frequent reminders to teams that regularly participate in your event.