A Glimpse Into Our State of the Industry Report

We’ll be releasing the results of our 16th Annual State of the Industry report next month. In the meantime, I thought I’d share some of the information we learned and provide an inside look at some topics that will not appear in the magazine.

Here’s a sampling:

  • Planners said CVBs and sports commissions could best help them by guiding them through local and state protocols to keep athletes safe, offering grants or other support, promoting events, and connecting them to volunteers.
  • Destination organizations said they provide incentives such as grants (50 percent), sponsorship (25 percent), or facility offset fees (13 percent); Nearly 100 percent said they can promote, coordinate with volunteers, or negotiate on behalf of the event planner.
  • 71.4 percent of rights holders responding to the survey hosted virtual or hybrid events for the first time in 2020.
  • 81 percent of rightsholders/planners believe that virtual events will continue after the threat of COVID-19 is gone.
  • Rightsholders and planners of youth and amateur sports events fared better than those employed in destination and tourism organizations. The majority (78 percent) of those who identified themselves as planners/rights holders said they kept their jobs during the pandemic. Cuts in hours worked, or job losses accounted for the remainder of the survey responses during 2020.
  • Almost half of CVBs, DMOs, and sports commissions reported some form of a layoff, hours cut, firing, or other job loss last year because of COVID-19 budget constraints. (Some organizations reduced the staff to only the president/CEO level. Others faced layoffs or reduced hours among all employees or had to make departmental cuts.)
  • When asked if those who consider themselves planners or rightsholders were considering new career options because of the pandemic, 68 percent of respondents said they are very likely to continue working in sports.

The Environment

Almost all of the destinations surveyed follow some form of sustainability certifications or environmental initiatives in venues or facilities. Approximately 81 percent said they have one form of certification or use environmentally-friendly initiatives. Those initiatives include LEED, GBAC Star, LED lighting/timing, locally grown or locally sourced food and beverages, recycling, and re-use

Software and Technology

Software and technology became more important than ever last year as quarantines and mandatory closings of schools, public facilities, and public locations canceled events.

  • 89 percent of DMOs and Sports Commissions said they use technology or software to measure events’ ROI.
  • The most popular software technology used by DMOs and CVBs is Simple View, the Destination International Event Impact Calculator (EIC), and the Destination Marketing Association International’s (DMAI) event calculator.
  • Planners and rights holders are also using technology or software providers to run their businesses. Most of the respondents used these platforms:
  • Socio
  • cvent
  • Live Barn
  • Big Marker
  • Zoom

And fewer survey respondents said they used some or all of these in combination:

Attendify, INXPO, ON24, Samaaro, and many are considering using Big Marker.

  • CVBs, sports commissions, and other tourism organizations said they use a variety of tools to engage with rights holders and planners of sports events, including:
  • Direct Mail
  • Paid Advertising
  • Phone Calls
  • Social Media
  • Industry Conferences
  • Site Familiarization Tours
  • Other
  • The most successful engagement with planners and rights holders is overwhelmingly from site or familiarization tours followed by industry conferences with direct-email and social media campaigns listed among the fewest responses.

As for social media, planners and those in the destination marketing or sports commissions said they all use social media as a tool to engage customers or athletes.

What types of social media did they use? Here’s what our survey said when referring to channels in no particular order.

  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • YouTube

Fifty-five (55) percent of respondents said Facebook remains the most effective tool for engaging with a particular audience.

LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube are all popular ways to reach an audience, but many organizations mentioned using multiple platforms simultaneously to connect.

So that’s all I can share for now. Did you find anything interesting?

Look for the March issue of SportsEvents to read the whole story.