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S.4 Ep. 10: Where do we go from here?

This week were were joined by Frank Supovitz who wrote the book on “What to do when things go wrong?” While the world around us is changing, Frank shares hope and how we can and will pick up the pieces.

Give us your background.

I started at Radio City Music Hall as an usher and worked my way through the organization. Found myself in the special events department. We did the events outside Radio City: Super Bowl Half times, Olympic ceremonies. I was there for 16 years. Then I was head of events for the National Hockey League for 13 years. Then NFL for 10 seasons. Then started my own company Fast Traffic Events and Entertainment in 2014. I worked on the Indy 500, redevelopment of the South Street seaport, the new rooftop at Pier 17.  Continued to work on more and more different things all the time!

You had a lot to planning super bowls!

I did for a decade, it was an incredible experience. The Super Bowl is so much more than the halftime show. It’s a mega event filled with everything from games, THE game, to fan festivals, to big parties and meetings. It takes over an entire city. SB actually take 4 years to plan. At any one time you’re working on 3 or 4 of them at once. You’re just at different stages of development. When I left in 2014 a lot of the plans I had put in place for Super Bowls were still going to be rolling out. When you’re working on an event with many details, and that many venues, that many things you have to worry about: something somewhere is going to go wrong for you at some point. Every single time.  Sometimes they are tiny details only you know about them, sometimes a handful of people know about them, if you’re less lucky your audience finds out about them. 

I wanted to get your insight into how do you know when to cancel?

Safety is not negotiable. People’s health not negotiable. If you have a situation where safety is compromised, first, second, and third priority is keeping people safe. It doesn’t necessarily even have to be like a situation we are facing now. It could have been anything. Any number of things could get in your way. If safety is an issue, it’s not even a question. You just have to bite the bullet, financial considerations come forth after safety safety safety. It’s a really hard decision to make because there are so many people that are dependent on an event moving forward. It’s not just the audience that gets disappointed. It’s all the people like us who manage the events, the people that work with us to manage and coordinate. If it just gets canceled and not postponed, it can really affect the ability to keep people employed. That’s a tough decision to make. 

How should you know if you should cancel or postpone?

It really depends on the event. If you can do it, if the venues are available, it’s so much better to postpone and give people both your business and your fans something to look forward to. 

We’re all talking about, “When will people pick events back up.” What is your perspective on this?

I don’t think it will be a switch you turn on and people show up. Once it becomes determined you can do these things again, there’s going to be skittishness in the marketplace. “Do I want to be the early adopter?” It’s going to take a while. I think it’s inside that 8 week period that we have been talking about, it’s a question of when the situation peaks, when it starts to decrease, when it becomes safe again. It’s not going to be something where suddenly you unlock a stadium and 80,000 people show up. 

How do I get through this? That’s on everybody’s minds right now.

There’s something going on everywhere. I am doing it to: the first few days you’re unraveling everything you’ve done. That’s hard. The second thing is how do I stage myself to recover? Recovery is going to be slow. It’s not going to be instant. That’s what everybody has to focus on. People are keeping themselves relevant, top of mind, what are you doing how are you doing. It’s a people business. Freelancers should continue keeping contact all the time so when it does come back you’re top of mind. That’s really important.

Be creative, we’re all creative people. Stay on social media, write an article or two about what you’re doing and what you’re going through and what you see the future being. I think social media is the best self publishing opportunity and best PR opportunity for everybody. Just keep in touch with everybody in the industry. We’re all going through it. 

People are really dedicated to what they do for a living. They know the meeting and event business is something that brings people together, it’s a way of communicating. It’s a way of entertaining people, those are basic human needs and the people who work in our business, really know what place they play if they are really passionate about what they do. They know how important they are. 

I want to talk about your book, talk about who it’s for, what is it about?

It’s funny, I speak to a lot of event people. This book resonates with them, there’s a lot of important lessons told through event stories. The original idea was for project managers. It was all about providing business managers with a framework for how to prepare for a crisis and how to manage it if it happens anyway. Event and meeting people really enjoy the book because so many of the stories and lessons are told through the disciplines they know really well, which is an event planning. Planning is really the second step in thinking about how you’re going to manage a crisis. It’s something I learned along the way: we all know how to get to point a to point b. That’s the plan we create. But if you’re not imagining the things that could possibly go wrong, you can’t create the right contingencies.   If it hasn’t happened to you, it just hasn’t happened to you yet. 

How do we move forward and give us some hope!

We’re really at a turning point. Respond to what’s happening, don’t react to what’s happening. Reacting you make decisions without reasoning them through. That’s true of any crisis you face. Just take a breath, don’t panic. Panic really paralyzes decision making. Or good decision making. Take a step back and decide what the right course of action is. 

We will recover, humans are social animals. We need to hear from other people, need to hear what others think. That’s why social media is such a big part of our lives right now. Just know that it’s going to come back together. We’re going to get people together as a group, we may change our business a bit and find there’s a hybrid of virtual and live that needs to be a little bit more ingrained in our lifestyle but that’s ok. Everyone will want to get back together again, it’s just a matter of time. I’m convinced. It’s just a matter of how long. 

S.4 Ep.1: 4 Ways To Maintain Mental Health on the Road

This week we sit down with two people from Minneapolis Northwest Tourism as they share their passion for maintaining mental health.  You’ll want to listen to these simple tricks!

How’d you end up in hospitality and what brings you to the meeting and events world today? 

Ashlee: Yeah, well I got my start about 15 years ago in hospitality and hotels where I met my current mentor. She pushed me and made me the amazing queen of sales that I am today. I have been in sales for so long and I love tourism. It’s such a fun industry. You still get to help people, which is kind of my passion. You get to people find their perfect wedding venue or making sure that their corporate event goes perfectly and they get to do some new fun things, it’s really, really rewarding. 

How about you Katie? 

Katie: I started with a CVB, it’s like destination marketing organization. About six years ago I started with discover St. Louis Park now I’ve been at Minneapolis Northwest for about a year. You get to work with a lot of great planners. You get to go out a lot. You get to travel, which is great. 

What are some beginner tips for keeping your head right? 

Ashlee: Well, I think one of the hardest things to do is to focus on yourself and the health aspect of traveling and all the stress that comes with it. You’re at a show and food is pretty much everywhere. You have late nights, you have dinners and lunches and all this stuff. Prioritizing good choices is always a really big challenge because there is so much food around you all the time. It’s convenient. 

Katie: Yes, and open bars. 

Ashlee: So I have a trick for this. This is my travel trick at trade shows. You get the first drink, you order it with everybody else and you get your vodka soda with lime. Perfect. I’m drinking with everybody else. Then as the night progresses, you just go straight to the bar and you tell the bartender I need some club soda and a lime. Same glass. Cause they’ll always give you like a soda glass and then everyone knows. Best way to like maintain cause you still are on, you’re still working.But you’re not that person that’s always like, no thanks. No thanks. And then people are like, you’re no fun. 

What other things do you have that are really good tricks to keep your mind right? 

Katie: One thing that I try to do when I travel is to get outside, get outdoors, and try to explore the area. A lot of times we travel to places that we’ve never been and so we don’t know what’s around us. And so one of the things that I do is I try to look for the local CVB like us, go on their website and try to find things to do around the area. Another thing that I use when I travel is apps. One of the apps that I use is called the outbound, and the hiking project, and there’s also the MTB project. Some of the apps just populate where you’re located and then they’ll tell you some of the trails that are located right around you so you can just get outside. 

Ashlee: If those aren’t available, if your schedule is super packed then the best thing you can do is just try to find some water, like a little body of water. It could be a Lake, it could be a river, a stream, it could be a fountain. It’s scientifically proven that the more you’re around water, the more calming it is you can almost breathe deeper when you’re around water. So that’s my favorite thing too. 

What other good ideas? 

Ashlee: My favorite is organization. Prioritizing. When you’re focused so much on other things or other people or whatever’s going on, then you have to be in it all the time. That’s stressful. That’s putting a lot on yourself. 

You have hydrate on your list, tell me about that. 

Ashlee: It’s so important. When you’re traveling and just being on flights and being in a hotel room, you don’t have your water bottle with you all the time maybe. It’s important to always bring your water bottle. You’re gonna feel better and then don’t get puffy 

I’ve a number of shows going on out of state at convention centers and hotels for seven days at a time and eating restaurant food straight for that long. Do you have any tips on how to avoid that? 

Katie: Not really to avoid it because you have to get food somewhere. A lot of times I’ll find the local CVS or target or some store within walking distance and a lot of times I’ll go grab some snacks, but I really try to stick to salad, stick to kind of your healthier options on the menu. I know that in the convention center you can’t really pick what you’re gonna eat. I’ll also try not to eat the dessert or have just a couple of bites, which was really hard for me cause I love dessert. 

minneapolisnorthwest.com 

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S. 3 Ep. 29: Hot Tips with David Adler

We sat down with event expert, David Adler, and were not disappointed! David came with great event pet peeves which ended up turning into a hot tips list!

Tell us your story.

I am definitely one of the oldest people in our industry at this point. I was a startup guy, I started a magazine. So at the age of 21 I put on my tuxedo and I started covering events and parties and built a media company there where we would cover the event for the power and society of Washington DC. Everything was about black tie. I met the greats of the world that are no longer with us. I worked from the Gerald Ford administration to the Carter administration, to the Reagan administration, to the Bush administration and then sold my media company and got headhunted to work for a British media Lord by the name of Robert Maxwell who was like Rupert Murdoch’s arch-rival. He would host events all around the world on his yacht and his yacht was, he and Donald Trump had the same kind of yachts. So we had all these events on yachts. I would do events within three hours notice, call the president of the United States and set up a meeting, that type of thing. So I really learned that the CEO’s of the world really think of events as an real strategic tool. This was back when I thought the event industry was sitting at the children’s table for Thanksgiving. Nobody cared. Now what they realize is that this is where the action happens. So I ended up doing all the events for New York magazine, 17, and soap opera digest, and we had, we had so many magazines and we did all the big events and we kept them at the corporate level so that we can use it for investment purposes so we can show off our events to our analysts and things like that. I really got into the event industry and I was spending millions and millions of dollars on events. 

We started covering events in New York city. We did that for about three or four years and then we just exploded and go, went to other cities. We started out as an online property only. Then we decided to do a trade show at the Javits center in New York. Then we decided to do a magazine. Then we decided to go into Los Angeles. We expanded. Then we decided to go into Toronto and we expanded. And then Miami and then expanded and then Washington and expanded. And so we went into these major markets because that was kind of where the action was. It was kinda like being in the real estate business by the hour. Cause the first thing people need is a venue. So they’re basically buying a venue like you would search for an apartment, you’re going to search for a venue for your event. So we kind of used that and we added this really strong editorial voice to it. So we didn’t say, okay, here’s the florists. We said, here’s this cool thing that they’re doing.

Then 9/11 happened and devastated the industry. So I gathered about 300 event organizers and companies and we brought together this group called the convention exhibit meeting coalition to help bring New York city back after 9/11. I spent six months working for the city to do this and we hosted events at the mayor’s house, Gracie mansion, where we brought all the meeting and event planners together and we flew people in from all around the world and we lit the empire state building in yellow so that Snapple would be encouraged to do an event. We would do all of these different types of leadership roles. We found that when you get these people together and you go to Gracie mansion and a Broadway singer is singing New York, New York, after 9/11, you get goosebumps. Right from that, I started a magazine so that convinced people around the world that they should come to New York to do their events. So we added this emotional element to our business. I do think that that is kind of the key. I mean, it’s kind of what you’re doing with your podcast too when you think about it, because you’re adding an emotion to something that doesn’t have emotion. Events have emotion, but they’re also something that that goes away. My whole career is driven on the Maya Angelou quote, but people don’t remember what you said. They remember how you made them feel.

Our whole industry is driven by that. Everything that we do has gotta be about that. So I started out covering events and we now are the largest website for event organizers in these major markets with about 200,000 users a month come to our store. They get ideas and they love it. They really love it. We do trade shows in New York, LA, and in Florida.

Let’s talk about things you see in the event industry people are doing well, and things you see could be improved on.

What is an event, first of all? An event is a conference, a trade show, a party, a festival. It really is the way humans gather in any way, shape, and form. In fact, when when 9/11 happened in New York city, while the big commercial events didn’t happen, there were more events than ever because people wanted to gather. That is kind of a part of the core of, we need food, shelter, clothing, and we need socialization and people want to gather, especially in things. So I believe that event organizers can not be just event organizers and worry about logistics anymore. They have to be collaboration artists. They have to be taking their audience in one way and making sure that they talk to each other. Because when people talk to each other, things happen. The most powerful word in the English language, I’ve stolen this from somebody else. It’s not my original idea is the word. Let’s L E T apostrophe S because whenever people get together, they say, let’s go to lunch, let’s go to dinner, let’s hook up, let’s start a revolution, let’s get married. When people talk, they get together. So if you are on a stage and you’re just talking at someone and don’t give the audience the ability to connect, you’re going to lose the let’s, so my feeling what’s happening with Ted talks and things like that, people are doing shorter programs to allow people to absorb and then talk amongst themselves. That’s why at at trade shows and conferences, the white space is in the hallway, we always thought that was just the doorway. But it’s really where the action happens. And so I’m seeing that happening more and more that that smart event organizers are giving people time to germinate these ideas that they’re hearing from the stages. And so you’re seeing more of that.

So you judge an event by not how many people attend, but by how many conversations that you’re curating. And you can almost do it the way the web is doing it, where if they’re like 300 people and there’s a bunch of conversations, you can actually sort of say there’s 20,000 conversations happening. It’s a whole new way of thinking about what an event is. So that’s one thing. The idea now is that you have to value people’s time because we’re busy, we have choices.

The other thing that I think that is on the collaboration side, is that CEOs and corporate guys suck at being hosts many times. Millennials, they go into a room and they never even meet anybody. They never talk to anybody. So you have to give people permission to talk to each other. And one of the ways to do that is to be a better host. I’m seeing that that is like something that’s happening now or they’ll just sort of sit and they’ll be looking at their screen and not having to interact. So the idea of giving people permission to talk to each other is an important part of the event industry now. I do it on stage. Before a speech I say okay I’m not the important person in the room. You are, talk to the person next to you like you do at a church or synagogue and you never know you can get to the less you can hook up with them. You have to kind of give people permission to interact cause nothing is more boring or less satisfying than going to an event and never talking to anybody.

Summer camp is kind of the model for what an event really should be about. Well that’s what people are wanting. That’s what these big events are, people spending thousands of dollars to going to an event. They’re returning to summer camp. So learning becomes fun again. We’re also trying to figure out how to get over what they call the forgetting curve, which is 99% of the time you go to an event and you forget everything by the time you leave. And so then you go back to your office and you forget everything that you said. So a lot of people now are figuring out when they videotape their events, they’re sending people a snippet every day for a week so that you remember, it gets top of mind. And so that’s a big problem that we’re trying to overcome. That’s huge.

Pet Peeve:

I was at an event the other night, the sound system was terrible. If you cannot hear, don’t even. It was too big. The sound system didn’t work and I wanted to jump out of my skin. People don’t realize the value of sound. They don’t realize the value of looking at all different parts of a room so that you can hear the sound in all different parts of the room. I heard this blaring at my table and the lighting was bad and they had a singing group up there and they seem to have the wrong microphones for the singing group cause they just sounded terrible. The worst singing I have ever seen in my life.

The other thing that was a pet peeve was they kept the lights so dark and they started serving food. I couldn’t see what I was eating. 

The idea that type, the programming. The other thing that is two type programming that goes on for hours. Nobody gives a crap about half the things you say. So keep it really, really tight and make sure that you’re a little bit entertaining because you’re getting bored. Boredom is the worst thing.

Oh, here’s another one. Big hors d’oeuvres. It’s two bites, one shoe. Like sometimes they give these huge hor d’oeuvres that you like are like, it’s spilling all over you and things like that. And like you can’t do that. You don’t know what to do with your napkins. At the end of the day you have your pocket stuffed with, but there’s no place to really put it. 

Super Power: Thinking on his feet idea guy

David, are there any last things you want to leave with our audience? 

Our BizBash newsletter that comes out every day has so many ideas for people that inspire so many people that I encourage as many people as possible to go to bizbash.com start reading our stuff because our end users touch 30 million people. If you’re an event organizer listening to this, that’s the lesson: How do you respect your audience and how do you do everything with integrity and everything with sort of a sense of the higher purpose.

Dadler@bizbash.com.

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S.3 Ep. 22: Beachbody Events: 18,000 People Working Out

Beachbody’s events are pretty massive.  Leah Green sits down and walks through the details including a fitness portion that obstructs ten city blocks!

How did you end up at Beachbody? You’ve been there for 10 years?

Yes. I’ve been here for a long time. I actually got my start with beach body that summer right after I graduated from college and moved to New York. My degree is in broadcast journalism so wasn’t thinking about events at all. I was actually thinking about more in live production. So I had my resume out there just as a freelance PA and I got picked up by one of the production companies that we work with on our infomercials cause at the time we were all infomercial based and got there. It was actually for Brazil butt lift. If you remember that program. The first like day that we were on set and we were doing like before photos and everything, I just went up to one of the other guys who was in charge and I was like, I’m sorry, what are we doing right now? He was like, we’re going to do this fitness program. These people are getting amazing results and blah, blah blah. And long story short, it was supposed to be just freelance. I ended up sticking with it for another two programs. One of the producers of one of the programs said, Hey, if he ever moved to LA, give me a call. You know, you’re great. We’d love to keep working with you. All of a sudden I found myself moving to LA. That’s where my boyfriend was now husband at the time and called her up. I still transitioned to the Santa Monica office more in live production, working with success stories, the people who were using the programs at home and finding success. While that was happening, I was also getting to help out with the live events that we were hosting and really fell in love with that. We had sort of a changeover, a changing of the guards of how that department was being run. They knew they needed to beef it up and add more people and an opportunity for a coordinator on the team opened up and I threw my name in the hat and luckily I had one of my coworkers who was on the team at that time. I was really nervous. I was like, I don’t know anything about events, so what do I do? And she was like, don’t worry, don’t worry. We got this. Like, you can do this. It’s exactly what you’re already doing. Just a little bit different. I’ve been here ever since.

Tell us about the events.

The largest one we do is the coach summit. And that’s every summer. The most we’ve ever had We always like to say butts in seats. We always sell like a ton of tickets. But you know, you get attrition on that. So our biggest butts and seats was just over 18,000. I think that was the second year that we were in Nashville is when we had that many people. We’re used to it now, But the first time we ever experienced it, it’s completely overwhelming. We had several years where our event, we were doubling every year. The business itself and the coaches were, everything was catching on and we had our first summit together as an events team here in Los Angeles. So we had 2,500 people. The next year in Vegas we had 5,000. Then we had 9,000. And then it just kept growing and it was like every year it was like, how do we do this? So it’s like we learned together because we had all come from different places and it was the same thing, you know, everybody on the team was like, we’ve never done this before. We’ve never had this many people. How do we figure this out? And we just sort of learned as we went. I just am on the most incredible team. It’s like a well oiled machine. Everybody gets their marching orders and says, okay.

So how many people are your team?

I think it’s 10 people.

Year after year this thing’s growing. What goes into making it fresh?

Yeah, that is the challenge, how do you make it for those people? What we found is a lot of times it’s about 50, 50. When you’re talking about people coming to the event, about 50% are brand new, have never been before. And then there’s the other 50% that are the old guard, the coaches that we see every year that you recognize their faces, their names, that have been with us for forever. It’s that 50% who’ve been around for forever that you’ve got to figure out how do we make this so they want to keep coming back, you know, they keep coming back. What is it? Probably the biggest thing that we do is location change. So if you are in a position that you can do that, that’s one of the best things that you can do. One of the things that we do here at Beachbody is we typically do two years. We’ll do two events in that one city and then we move on. With every city like the, there’s pros and cons when you are planning for that. Obviously, when you are bringing 18,000 people into a city, the whole city has to be on board.

We take over the convention center, we take over the stadium, we take over all the hotels, we have room blocks, almost single hotel that’s within downtown area. We try to go to places where everything is within walking distance. If it’s not within walking distance, you have to set up a shuttle system. Ehere’s a ton of logistics, but essentially everyone in the city has to be on board. That’s typically the biggest hurdle to get over. When we come in, we find that most people are really excited to have us. We go to cities where we like the people and it’s typically, they’re excited to have us. So everybody gets on board. All the hotels say we’re in. All the local restaurants know that we’re coming, we’re prepping them in advance.

What other criteria do you go by to pick a city?

We’re very unique in that we have the live workout aspect. So for us, we can’t just go to a city with small meeting rooms. We need a convention center and we need those spaces to open up. We bring almost all of our super trainers with us and that’s the big thing when people, when coaches are coming to a live team beach body event, they’re coming, one, they want training, but two, they want to work out with their favorite trainers. We can’t just have one space that holds 3000 people. We have to have six. We need a lot of space. And then in addition to that, the coolest thing that we do at the summit every year is the super workout. We literally all 18,000 people work out all together. So that’s a huge undertaking working with the city, with all the police officers, with security of, because you have to shut down, you know, a dozen blocks of city traffic so that you can host this.

How do you deal with weather contingencies?

We have been so, so, so lucky that we have never had to move it inside, but we always have the rain plan. And the rain plan typically is, if that were to happen, you basically have to move everybody inside to the indoor workout spaces. It would never be as fun because everybody would need to be in the separate rooms and we’d be trying to live stream the trainers onto the screens that are existing in those rooms. If we needed to do it, we always know how, but it’s always preferred because you get that shot of standing on the stage and seeing 18,000 people in front of you.

Are you live streaming this out?

Some of the pieces do get streamed. I believe the last several years we have live-streamed our opening and our closing sessions. The opening is always on Thursday night. That’s where we do all the really exciting product announcements and the stuff that everybody’s been eagerly all year long.And then the Saturday night closing show is where we do most of our recognition.

People are torn between streaming and not streaming their event…

Yeah. The scariest thing is trying to make that decision because you don’t want somebody at the last minute to go, ah, forget it. I’m not going to go. I’ll just watch it at home. We’ve tried to appease the people that can’t be there by doing some pieces of it the meat and potatoes is really the training, the opening show and the closing show are fantastic and everybody loves them but the training is happening in general sessions and in workshops. That’s what we try to get people to actually be on site for. I’m trying to walk a fine line of, of letting people who are at home be engaged in the event because we know some people truly can’t be there, but then really pushing them of you have to be here to get the real gems.

Super Power:

So my superpower is my brain works widely. I have this ability that I’m the person that people usually come to when they say this is my idea, where and when could I do something like this. It’s usually like within a live an event that we’re currently in the middle of planning and my brain does this beautiful mind board of bubbles in lines, I see past what it is they’re asking to do, and I can map out depending on how many people it is or where it would make the most sense, see how if I were to drop that in all the things that it would moving forward, like where did the dominoes fall and where does it end up?

Pet peeves:

My biggest pet peeve is there’s so much communication that happens from us to the other people both attendees and the people internally here at headquarters who come with us to work the events and to, you know, be the speakers and be the faces. And we’ll send out so much communication ahead of time, like so much communication and we’re hitting them over the head in live meetings. And you got it, you got it. Great. And then you land at the airport and they look at you and go, Oh, so what’s next? It’s like, Oh my gosh, you gotta be kidding me.

Cause: Hope of the Valley.

Do you have any good advice for the newbies?

We sort of have a team motto here one of my bosses came up with a couple of years ago and we just say surrender and that’s sort of our go-to, is knowing that learning to anticipate obviously as much as possible. I mean I think that’s number one, but being able to anticipate that something’s going to go wrong, something is not going to happen the way that you intend it to and you have to learn instead of getting frustrated or you know, stomping it out. Just surrender to that moment and fix it. Just accept this is what’s happening right now. Here are the next steps to ensure that we get back on track.

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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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