Most teams host some type of kickoff event where suite holders will pick up their tickets at the event. We are considering a different delivery method this year and wanted to know:
- If you don't have suite holders pick up their tickets at a kickoff event, how do you handle distribution?
- Have you delivered tickets directly to suite holders? (Not shipped them, but actually brought them to their offices.)
- If you have done something beyond ticket distribution at an event, was it successful? What were the biggest challenges you faced? Would you recommend a change?
I used to ship everything via UPS, but in 2010 began delivering to suite holders. I give myself 45 minutes between deliveries, which gives me up to 15 minutes visiting time, and that's usually plenty. There are a few I know I'll spend more time with, so I'll give myself more time for them. I also schedule some as breakfast/coffee/lunch/happy hour. Sometimes I never get past the admin, and it's no more than just dropping off the tickets, which is fine. When I first started doing it, people thought I was nuts. But it's less expensive than shipping, and it's a great touch point. I let them know ahead of time when I'm planning to stop by. It takes me four full days to do this, but it's worth it.
We host an annual suite tasting, where suite holders can pick up their tickets. For those who do not attend, we ship to them via FedEx. We have also hand-delivered tickets to a select group of clients as well as had our cheerleaders hand-deliver tickets to a few. We typically distribute a kickoff gift along with our tickets, which is included in any delivery or pick-up method.
We always ship the tickets at the beginning of the season. This year, we created a custom footlocker that was filled with the tickets and delivered to the client's office address (or other designated ticket delivery location). Generally speaking, I think tickets can be cumbersome and having them delivered directly to the client's office is most convenient for them.
Each year, our team conducts a suite administrator's luncheon, where they sample all of the new food items and given a nice gift. On their way out, they are presented with their tickets, and in most cases, we have them carried out to their cars, as they are in a large box. In some cases, they are mailed to out-of-state account holders, or I will deliver them myself if they are unable to attend the event. I know some sports deliver tickets with a roster player in tow. It's hard for us to do so when they are in Florida for spring training. I gave thought to doing a late afternoon, happy hour event but reconsidered. I did not feel good about the tickets staying in a car or private home over night. We like the fact that they are returning to their respective offices and locking them up.
We don't do a kickoff event for suite holders, as it doesn't get a high attendance rate. Last year, we delivered tickets with wine carriers. We put wine in the carrier and used the box they came in for the tickets. We delivered them in person, and it was a nice, quick, face-to-face meeting in the offseason.
We have had an event at which our clients pick up their tickets for many years, but less than half actually attend the event. This means we still courier out the remaining tickets to almost 300 clients. In the early years of our suites (1997-2001), we used to personally deliver the tickets to the corporate offices. We hired a driver, used one of our decaled vehicles, and went with our president to each and every office. It's a huge task logistically (we made advance appointments and developed a â€œrouteâ€) but is extremely well received. That was back when we only had 25 suite holders. Now we have 650 clients and cannot possibly do this. I would highly encourage it if you can target just your top suite holders. When we did the deliveries, we insisted on seeing the decision maker, or we skipped that stop.
We host an annual â€œSuite Holder Tasting Eventâ€ in March prior to every season. This event is geared as our kickoff event and a chance for Suite Holders AND admins to taste Levy's new menu items. The event is held in the evening at the ballpark in our Stadium Club. Last season we introduced the new tablets at this event and had Parametric on hand to give demos and answer questions. The event gives us an opportunity to see everyone before the season gets underway, answer any questions for new suite holders/admins, introduce our new intern, etc. It is historically very well attended, either because it is actually beneficial to the suite holder/admins or because it is open bar.
We UPS suite holders their tickets, parking passes, suite passes, media guide, internal forms, suite reference guide, etc. in a fancy box every year.
Totally understand the challenge of clients growing accustomed to receiving a gift with something/at a certain point in the season and then trying to switch it up. We annually give apparel for Opening Day (logoed jacket, vest, etc.), one smaller gift with the invitation to our big on-field event (about $25 â€“ example: Wilson mitt), and then one big gift during the offseason (example: autographed Konerko bat in a frame with plaque).
This was my first year with the organization so I cannot speak of years prior to me starting. This past season, I did handle the kick-off party and we did keep with tradition, as far as handing out the tickets at the event. I did however, change it from a night affair to a lunch-time event, which we had more positive comments than not and our attendance was up from last year.
As far as distributing the day of, this was a bit chaotic. I did see how it could be overwhelming when everyone comes up at once and you must be incredibly organized and have a tremendous amount of help. The changes I am making for this year are:
Â· More scheduled individuals to help with various areas.
Â· We hand out PITT Panthers and Steeler tickets. This year the PITT Panthers will be required to have personally at the event to help with distribution.
Â· Due to the logistics of our ticket office and event location, we will have hand held radios to radio suite number to back office for delivery to the front.
Â· We may also add additional tables for pick up. Somewhat like will-call windows A-F, G-M, N-S, T-Z. Currently it was one table with all 120+ suites going to this one table.
For those who do not pick up at the event, we either FedEx or Courier (if local). A delivery of all tickets is a welcomed thought but from what I gather, ticket presentation at the event is an added bonus for those to RSVP to the event. I am having difficulties finding fresh new event ideas to help with our attendance for this event and also new events.
We have done this on occasion, but there are two important aspects to consider.
1. You will rarely get to see the owner of the suite as tickets are managed by an executive assistant, etc.
2. Once you commit to this service, you cannot go back. The suite holders will expect this type of service moving forward. A high quality service should be expected and provided by you. However, this form of service might become the new normal for you and will take away from your daily responsibilities. (For example: Somehow they lost a ticket and need you to personally deliver the ticket to them on the day of the game)
I would encourage more of an exciting event where suite holders can partake in an activity of food and drink, meeting players, or the ability to bring kids so they can take pictures with the mascot.
Event would include the following: Tour provided by you, meet and greet on the field, tickets distributed in locker room, BP for 1 hour, GM/Coach speaks to suite holders for 15-20 minutes followed by food and time to engage customer.
We used to hand-deliver suite tickets to all local accounts. We would package and FedEx any of our non-local accounts.
For these deliveries, we strategically combined a couple of the following individuals: suite service member, sales manager of the account, cheerleaders, mascot, president, ownership, other execs, etcâ€¦my team would set up a time to meet at each of our suite holders' offices when the decision maker would be there, and then we'd drop off tickets, take photos with staffers, etc.
We sent our owner and president to 3-5 of our top accounts, along with cheerleaders and the mascot.
Overall, this was very well received â€“ feedback was great.
We got away from this in favor of doing a Menu Tasting & Ticket Pick-Up as it became a logistical challenge and wasn't as efficient as we would have liked.
We now use our Tasting & Ticket Pick-Up event as a window of opportunity to present all of the important / updated info. Essentially a suite admin mini-camp, if you will. Really helped explain the policies when the NFL adopted the clear-bag policy, as well as any other important dates or upcoming events. Feedback on this event has been very well receivedâ€¦but we've only done it for 3 years now so the challenge of keeping it fresh and new is starting to present itself. Anyone that doesn't attend the event, we will hand-deliver or ship, depending upon the nature and sensitivity of the account. (if up for renewal, I'll go drop them offâ€¦etc).
I have delivered tickets when I worked at the college level at FSU and at the pro level with the Atlanta Hawks. At FSU, I only had 34 suites and around 50 suite holders. I took our minor league hockey mascot and made a big production of taking him to every office. It took several days, but it was only me and the mascot making the deliveries. Also, it was small city traffic. At the Hawks, our team divided up the tickets and delivered them along with a gift to over 125 suite holders in Atlanta traffic. It also took a few days, but at least five of us were delivering. FYI, we had an intern figure out the most efficient groupings using some sort of mapping app.
Most teams host some type of kick-off event where Suiteholders will pick up their tickets at the event. We are considering a different delivery method this year and wanted to know:
We hold a season opening luncheon where DNC presents new menu items, and for those who still have paper tickets they can pick them up at the end of the luncheon. If a client has digital tickets, then we usually still have a package with their gifts for them to take.
If the suite holder does not pick up at the party, then we hand deliver at their office. The only clients we ship are two in Columbus, but that is because it over two hours away. It is the sales person on each account that is responsible for the delivery.
Like I mentioned above, we blend it but it works for us. We will eventually migrate off picking up anything at the event, mostly due to we are forecasting that after 2016 digital tickets will be mandatory, plus we like the face time that we get with decision makers when we deliver in personâ€¦we also do this with all gifts.
Here at the Royals, we team up with Aramark our food concession partner and we host a suite tasting about 2 weeks prior to opening day. We do it from 1130-1:30. We invite the suite owners and their people who work with Aramark in ordering the food. We usually have a great turn out. Those who do not show up we personally deliver their tickets
1. We combine our ticket pick up with the menu tasting for the season. Levy Restaurants provides all of the food, it is a great way for suite owners to see & taste what the food looks like. At this luncheon we try to have some sort of experience and or gift too that keeps the suite administrators coming. Whether it is a locker room tour or pictures on the ice with our hockey players. Most of our suites pick them up at the luncheon, otherwise we will just send UPS or drop them off at their office. Part of the reason that I think the suite admins love to come pick them up is they usually get to keep the gift that we give out. We have done all types of bags for their tickets to be delivered in â€“ coolers, rolling duffle bags, rolling suit case, wagons, backpacks, etc.
2. We occasionally will take the tickets to their office but do not make a big to-do about it. We just usually will drop them off!
3. We used to do a big theme behind the luncheon which was fun! So it would be a BBQ or Luau but we ended up spending more money than necessary. We have gone more traditional at the luncheon and have had members from the business side of our teams talk at the luncheon which has been really well received.
We haven't always gotten the tickets in prior to our annual suite holder preview (tasting) event to kick off the season.
In lieu of giving them out at the event, we make personal deliveries to the clients. We've created a special experience around it by creatively bundling the tickets (ex â€“ in Pacers sport duffle bags with customized gift, pocket schedules, magnets and other swag, etc). Each Premium Services Manager will coordinate his/her deliveries and will also schedule one of Pacemate dancers or Boomer our mascot to accompany them on the delivery.
All the local companies we've delivered to have gotten a kick out of the drop-off and it sets an exciting tone going into the season. Of course you'd want to make sure that you're not disruptive if the setting isn't one that typically gets that sort of excitement.
The biggest challenge would be the logistics on setting up the deliveries and timing, but it is doable. If a company is located far from the Indy metro area, we will ship those out but make sure they are packaged nicely and present a wow moment when the client opens the shipment.
We have a total of about 55 suite holders (mix of full season and half season) and 3 Premium Service Managers.
We took a couple of days in the week leading up to opening night to make our deliveries. Prior to that, we sent a quick note to all of our admin's in advance so they knew when to expect the delivery. It took us about 3 hours to deliver the packages to those accounts that are located downtown (walking distance â€“ approx. 20 suite holders). For those that are driving distance, but not located downtown, we each took it upon ourselves to make those individual deliveries/touch-points for each of our accounts. We mapped out our routes and hit some offices on the way into work and some in the afternoon on the way home over the course of a couple days. (I simply google mapped my route to figure out what the best path of travel would be from home (morning) and from the office (afternoon).)
There are a couple suite holders that manage their tickets out of state, so we just arranged a FedEx delivery along with some of the items Sasha listed below to get them excited about the upcoming season. All in all, it took about 4 days total (packaging & deliveries) before everything made it into the hands of our clients.
We are fortunate that a lot of our clients are located downtown. It also helped create some buzz throughout downtown as our Pacemates (dancers) and all the Pacers bags garnered some attention â€“ it gave us an opportunity to talk up Opening Night while out and about! We might bring some pocket schedules or a little swag to pass out next year to help promote the season (grassroots style) since there were a lot of folks asking what we were doing and if we were giving anything away â€“ you know how people like free stuff!
The packaging is definitely a process which we hope to streamline prior to next season. We are going to look at getting a nicer branded box to place the suite tickets in prior to delivery. Another thing we might look at improving would be to divide and conquer our downtown deliveries to be more efficient. Maybe pair off so one person could take the package to the suite holder's office while the other person waited with the other packages on the street level. We went as one large group last year, which was not necessary â€“ although a great team building opportunity.
We deliver our tickets by courier however we have selected a couple suites holders and hand delivered the tickets along with one of our players. It worked really well for a downtown office and we told the suite holder in advance so it was almost like a little reception when we arrived and they filled a boardroom with key executives â€“ we told them as we wanted the principle contact present. We plan on doing a couple next year with a player or someone from hockey management but haven't been able to come up with a plan to reach more suite holders with this type of experience.
It should be mentioned that we have a couple players delivering season ticket on the same day so we piggy backed on this and dedicated one player for suite holders.
Because we only had the player for a short period of time we operated in the immediate downtown area which did eliminate some suite holders from the opportunity. The eligible accounts would have been review based on the following criteriaâ€¦
1. Final year of contract â€“ this would be considered the first step in renewal
2. Newly signed account (first year of contract)
3. Decision maker we don't connect with very often would get priority if down to this level but honestly didn't get here
We call the EA and don't tell them we are bringing a player but get a sense of who will be in the office for a special surprise. Once we are comfortable who will be there we let them know we are bringing a player but ask them to keep it a surprise to their staff. We've had a few that get excited but the key person will not be in attendance and we tell them that we'll try again another season without much concern.
If a Suite Partner cannot attend our Suite Partner Kickoff Luncheon we ship their tickets. We've talked about delivering tickets to select clients but the busyness of that time of year (2-3 weeks before our first preseason game) has prohibited us from finding the time.