Event Planning for Watersports Operators
As the pandemic begins to ease up, it presents the perfect opportunity to get things back the way they were. While we ease back into events of all types and sizes, people are eager to get out of the house and have some fun. While it may be a while before massive conferences and large-scale gatherings occur, more and more organizations are starting to announce in-person events. This article will explore how watersports operators can take advantage of these events and maybe even throw an event or two of their own.
Before we dive in, it’s essential to understand the two primary types of travelers so that you can market to both groups.
Table of Contents
- Leisure Tourists vs. MICE Travelers
- Hosting Events for Leisure Travelers and Locals
- Marketing to Event Attendees
- Events TripShock Participates in & Why
Leisure Tourists vs. MICE Travelers
There is a niche type of traveler who is referred to as a MICE traveler. MICE stands for Meeting, Incentive Travel, Conferences, and Exhibitions. The main difference between leisure travelers and MICE travelers is that the latter is traveling for an event that is happening in a specific place, usually business-related, which means the event brought them to the destination as opposed to them selecting the trip location based on the destination itself. Whereas a leisure traveler is typically traveling to a specific destination unrelated to any special event that is taking place. Below is the table of further comparison between the 2:
|Leisure Tourist||MICE Traveler|
|Client||Families, Couples, Friends or Solo Travelers||Corporations and Associations|
|Audience & Motivation||People on Vacations||Business Travelers looking for Networking, Deals, and Learning|
|Supply Chain||Tour Operators, Travel Agencies, and Personal Travel Advisors||Corporate Travel Agents, CVB’s and DMO’s, and Incentive Travel Houses|
|Products||Accommodation, Attractions, Tours, Excursions, and Shopping||Meeting Facilities, Entertainment, and Catering|
Cities invest substantial marketing dollars to attract events such as industry conferences and trade shows that bring MICE travelers to their destination. As a watersports operator, marketing to MICE travelers is a great way to capitalize off of your city’s marketing efforts and take advantage of this $ trillion-dollar industry. Cities also promote things like large music and sports venues that also bring out-of-town guests. Keep in mind that these event-based travelers may not be familiar with your destination and what it offers, which is a great opportunity.
Watersports operators can also take advantage of leisure travelers and even build their following with the locals by creating their own events.
Capitalizing off MICE and Other Event Travelers
Get to Know Your CVB/DMA/DMC
All in-person events were either canceled or switched to an online format in 2020, and now with the tremendous vaccine administration rates throughout the country, local and state marketing organizations are working hard to bring these experiences back because of the revenue they bring. Staying up to date on the events promoted by your local CVB, DMO, or DMC is a great way to understand when large groups of MICE travelers will be coming into your city. These groups will also have a clear understanding of how many guests are expected to attend and may even be able to provide you with demographic data. This will allow you to determine which events are large enough to warrant efforts to market to the attendees. We’ll explore more ways you can take advantage of these awesome organizations in our next article!
Large Event Venues
In addition to watching for conferences and other types of industry events, you should also look into large music and sporting venues that bring in large out-of-town crowds. Keeping track of these events and coming up with creative ways to market to their attendees is a great way to meet new customers.
Hosting Events for Leisure Travelers and Locals
Even if a traveler isn’t in your destination for an event, you can still use events to attract them to your business. Events can be a great way to engage with the locals and keep them up to date with your offering so that they tell their friends and family and remember you the next time they have out-of-town guests. Below are some examples of events you can host to promote your watersport business.
New Tour Spotlight
One of the reasons partners sometimes reach out to us is to let us know their offerings have changed or they have added a new tour. Hosting an event to highlight a new tour or offering can help make sure your customers learn more about the new offering and changes in your business. That’s also why we always recommend updating your listing on time so that your customers have the most up-to-date information about your tours and know what to expect.
Did you just get a new jet ski or an entire fleet with new customizations? This can be another perfect opportunity to host an event! Invite your friends and colleagues to celebrate this accomplishment. Not only will it strengthen your relationship with them, but also create extra awareness if you capture these moments via Instagram Stories.
Depending on the occasion, Americans will typically do something special during the holiday season, and many celebrations are likely to happen outdoors. It’s hard to imagine Independence Day or Labor Day without a barbecue! So why not add a barbeque grill to your pontoon boat rentals? Considering all the precautions that need to be taken for offering such an experience, you can make it exclusive for the holiday season or arrange it indefinitely, but for the holidays consider a discount to establish a limited-time offer and create event vibes. Holidays are another great opportunity to capitalize off of things going on in your city. For example, if your city has a great fireworks show for July 4, consider creating a special holiday tour to see the show. Learn more about how to prepare your business for the holiday season in our recent article.
Whether it is a meet-up of friends or bachelorette parties that are perfect for pontoon boat rentals, you can arrange events for different occasions. Study your market, research user behavior on your website, and you should know what occasions are likely to occur in people’s lives based on their age bracket. This information will help not only figure out the marketing channels you should leverage for promoting your watersport business but also occasions for events that are suitable for your audience. For example, some people choose to retire in the summer, and many choose to travel or start a new hobby during retirement. If you are located in Florida, which is a popular state to move down to for retirees, you can consider hosting events focused on retirement celebrations in the summer. Select a date range for the promotion, partner up with care centers, and co-host an event for generating new potential customers.
Marketing to Event Attendees
Now that you know what events are bringing out of town travelers to your destination, it’s time to come up with ways to market to them; here are some great tips on what you can do:
- Research Instagram hashtags – Not only will you be aware of how tourists are going about the events these days and what they are looking for, but it will also help you beat the Instagram Algorithm if you promote your watersport business with this platform.
- Provide discounts to attendees – Discount pricing strategy is one of the concepts watersport operators leverage when structuring prices for tours and rentals. Events can become a perfect opportunity to promote your pricing efforts.
- Come up with uncommon tour and rental customizations of common watersport types, and use events to promote them.
- Work with travel affiliates to promote your events on social media, email, or local/regional blogs. This type of travel referral marketing can create a perfect synergistic relationship between your business and local influencers and travel orgs. You can host an affiliate, offering them discounted/free or VIP tours, or simply pay them a flat rate to promote the event online.
Events TripShock Participates in & Why
At TripShock we host and promote a variety of events. Internally, we host agent appreciation days where our reservation agents visit our partners to experience their tours. Not only does this show our love and appreciation for our amazing sales agents, it gives them a chance to experience tours first hand so they are better able to describe experiences to our guests.
TripShock also hosts industry meetups like TripCon, which we intend to bring back in 2021. We invite our partners and other operators to attend and share important information about TripShock and our industry. We also attend a variety of conferences and expos to stay on top of industry updates and trends. This year you can find members of our team at Arival, the Water Sports Industry Association Parasail Operators Symposium (which we sponsor every year), the Florida Attractions Association, Spotlight on the Southeast, and more.
If you would like to be invited to TripShock’s next event or want to connect with us at the next conference our team attends, be sure to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on social media!