Managing your marketing

Grand opening for Panama City Beach Sports Complex

The operations for a sports tourism complex go far beyond turning on the lights, cleaning bathrooms, and preparing hot dogs. Effectively marketing the facility is critical to booking the best events, driving local play, and creating a positive brand image in the community. Often a significant line-item in the budget, spend on marketing for a sports tourism facility often ranges between $75,000-$200,000 annually. This is a budget that should be closely monitored in concert by the General Manager, Marketing Director, and Finance Manager of the facility (and client or ownership group – SFM achieves this through standard monthly reporting).

For Owners or General Managers, managing your marketing begins with an annual marketing plan. This document should outline not only the major spend by channel (social media, print), but should attribute that spend into campaigns (series of marketing actions/touch points). Furthermore, each campaign should relate to a major revenue stream for the business. For instance, if baseball tournaments are your largest revenue driver or economic impact generator, there should be a baseball tournament campaign detailing the spend and activity through which the marketing director will create demand and drive event bookings. The annual marketing plan should outline the top 5-6 of these campaigns.

Once the team has alignment on annual marketing plan and strategy, it’s time to report on progress. Best practice is to schedule monthly or biweekly meetings between the General Manager and the Marketing Director. The role of the General Manager in this meeting it to review the facility financials with the marketing director and discuss the effectiveness of the previous month’s activity as well as discuss upcoming marketing needs. The Marketing Director should come prepared with a monthly report that includes results-focused data (click-through-rates, leads generated, bookings) to discuss by major campaign. The conversation should be focused on ROI (return on investment).  If there is an underperforming area of business, the General Manager and Marketing Director should collaborate to devise a new campaign strategy.

Branding is often a ‘gray’ area in marketing spend. Marketing dollars in the category of branding should be focused on client/owner delight, ‘making a splash’ with a new offering or campaign, or public relations/community building. This might include a sponsorship activation at an industry conference or creating a charitable community event at the facility. The ROI in this category is more about creating a positive and memorable feeling about the sports complex to support revenue generation.

In short, managing the spend and ROI of your marketing dollars in a sports tourism destination is key to long term success and sustainability. By creating plan alignment, instilling monthly reporting, and regular, in-person ROI-focused meetings, facility leaders can effectively manage their marketing.

The corporate marketing team at Sports Facilities Management have built brands for some of the most popular youth sports facilities in the country, including the Hoover Met Complex and Rocky Top Sports World. Ready for us to build a powerfully engaging brand for your facility, contact us today at 727-474-3845.