S.3 Ep. 17: Sweeten Your Event with this Suite Idea

What can you do to benefit your clients?  Are suites at events out of your reach? Todd Lindenbaum has created an “Uber” for suites and luxury boxes making it easier than ever to book suites!

So tell us about Suite Hop and how you guys got started?

Definitely. So Suite Hop is a two sided marketplace. We are aggregating available luxury suite inventory at stadiums and arenas across North America and we’re making them available to customers in a way that they’d never been available before. Which is through a flexible and easy booking process. I got started in the sports business by working for a team. I spent five years working for the San Francisco giants. I was in ticket sales and suite sales, and always had an entrepreneurial bug and so left the giants and started this company 14 years ago. SH is only four years old. We pivoted about 10 years into our journey to the marketplace model, but have been helping companies and meeting planners and fans attend the games and concerts in luxury boxes for almost 20 years now.

So would you say you’re kind of like the Uber for like suites and boxes? 

Definitely. The reason we pivoted our business model is we did see these collaborative consumption models starting to really get traction across all aspects of the economy. And what is not necessarily known widely is that suites and stadiums and arenas are actually widely available and somewhat distressed. There are a lot of suites that are sitting empty for games and concerts every single night. And so we’re trying to modernize the approach to bring those available boxes to market. We’ve hit on something good. We’re growing fast and connecting people with suites.

How do I use your services and how does that benefit me or my audience?

Before we started doing what we’re doing the methodology of booking a suite for an event. So I’ll use some of our meeting planners that we work with as anecdotal examples. We just did an event with a meeting planner out of Chicago. It was for a large tech company. They were wanting to do an event during a bears game in November. In the old model, you would go to the bears website, you would fill out a form on their website and sometime in the next 48 to two weeks, somebody would email you back and we might have something available. We don’t have something available. But you should really talk to you about buying a full season lease. That is where we come in is we’ve got aggregated supply. So we’re getting the available suites directly from teams and venues that are listing on our platform or getting them from those companies that are on the longterm leases that can’t use every single game. So the uber model, right, it would sit empty. So they’re looking to recoup some of their investment and that actually has suites have gotten more distressed over the past five, 10 years they’re starting to actually sell suites to ticket brokers. So there’s this supply that’s really fragmented. And so we’re aggregating all that together and making it really easy for a meeting planner to have one throat to choke, to book a suite at any of the 150 venues across across North America that we’ve got on our platform. We’re really saving them a lot of time. We’re making the proposal process much easier.

If I wanted to use it I can get ahold of you and then you’ll help me with the logistics of getting it booked with a lot less of a hassle?

So even better than that, you could actually go to suitehop.com You could see live transparent availability. So you can already have an idea of what it’s going to cost, how many people it holds, what’s the suite gonna look like. Um, and then we absolutely can support the like heavy lifting on the event planning side on the back end of that meaning facilitating the catering if you need to get swag bags into the suite before the event happens. All the logistics that go into really activating an event the way meeting planners do. There’s a lot of ways you can treat the suite as a black box and still do a lot of those execution elements that you might do in a hotel or a restaurant. You can still do those in your own private space in these venues. And so that’s what excites us when we work with the meeting planners is we can be really creative.

What are you seeing as a trend in using suites for concerts and sporting events?

Where I’ve seen, especially in the past three or four years, is meeting planners that are representing large tech companies that sell through a channel. So channel partner events, field marketing events, channel sales events. It’s like a partner enablement field sales enablement tool to get stakeholders in the same room for three hours in a relaxed atmosphere where it’s not salesy. It’s really relationship building.An important thing that has come up with that is a lot of times there does need to be an educational component to these events. And so most of these venues in North Americans today also do have onsite meeting space. So you can do a two hour meeting in a conference room and do your educational component and then you go and you drink beers and have a good time. And build relationships during the game. So I think that’s what we’re really seeing the strongest demand with is in those channel and field marketing organizations.

Am I getting any sort of savings by bypassing going directly to the stadium?

So sometimes is the answer? Most of the teams and the venues that are listing their own inventory directly on our platform are doing it at price parity. So if you look at our business from, the venues perspective, we’re a distribution channel for them. We’re a way for them to advertise and reach new customers. So our fee is coming directly from the venue. So like at Madison square garden for example, if you went to the Madison square garden page on suite hop and prices that you would see those suite listed for would be the same exact prices if you called Madison square garden and they’re paying us a commission for delivering new customer. It’s an efficiency and customer service opportunity. The way we’re working with meeting planners too is, is you know, we are baking in commissions. We’re paying meeting planners for our suite bookings. It’s not like a blanket thing cause we need to understand each situation uniquely. 

So what do you see as the future of this as you look like say five, 10 years down the road?

The reality of the suite market is that it’s becoming more and more difficult for these stadiums and venues to sell the suite on a longterm multiyear agreement. So what that means is there’s going to be more supply that needs to be marketed on an event by event basis. That’s growing and it’s growing fast. We play a really important part of finding customers and connecting customers, quickly and easily with transparency of what’s available. 

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