Youth sports can mean big business in hospitality

July 22, 2014

Most hotels aren’t lucky enough to book only wealthy leisure travelers and repeat business people. Succeeding in hospitality typically means playing the field. In fact, the newest batch of desirable groups to book is youth sports teams. Check the scoreboard and you’ll find that U-18 sports teams represent a booming $7 billion dollar business. And this isn’t the only reason to be hospitable to junior athletes. Consider three other big reasons to make your pitch count.

1.) They Fill an Occupancy Gap

Business travelers, for the most part, travel on business days. If your venue is like many others, weekends often present an occupancy gap. Good thing youth sports teams typically hold their tournaments on the weekends, then. For one team alone that means roughly 20 athletes, plus family and coaches. And there’s how many of them in the tournament? Gap sealed.

2.) There’s No Slow Season

Another great reason to seek out U-18 sports teams? There’s no slow season. With so many mainstream sports, there’s literally a game (or three) for every season. Perpetual guests sounds nice, doesn’t it?

3.) It’s a Massive, and Growing, Industry

courtesy of ESPN

Do you know how many kids in America are really engaged in competitive sports? 21.5 million. Yes, that’s right – 21.5 million. And that number is expected to increase by 3%–5% annually. More kids playing means more tournaments, and more tournaments means more guests in your hotel.

There’s little to argue against embracing a troupe of little leaguers, but it is important that hoteliers understand this demographic does come with a learning curve. With parents coughing up big money to send their child into a sport tournament – just one of potentially many that year – they will be looking for a good deal. Whether that’s a group price cut, free continental breakfast or cost-free access to WiFi, the sweeter the deal the more likely you’ll be to snag the winning goal with youth sports teams.

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