Guest itineraries are high on the list of pain points faced by sponsors and agencies managing sports sponsorship events. No matter the planning, last minute changes occur. And the more the itineraries are customized for individual guests or groups, the more difficult it becomes to document the changes and get accurate updated itineraries in the hands of every guest. Although old habits die hard, the days of paper itineraries are over, and the days of manually updated itineraries are not far behind.
Tired of the old school approach, leading sponsors and agencies are turning to on-line itineraries that can be customized for every group and even individual guests. Guests receive an emailed link to their own itinerary that is always current. Activities listed on the itineraries can be color coded and comments can be added to provide instructions or suggestions to guests about apparel or transportation for the activity.
When a schedule change occurs for a particular activity, the event manager updates the online database for the event. Because the system knows which guests are attending which activities, it only updates the itineraries of the guests attending the activity where the change has occurred. When an affected guest goes back to view her linked itinerary, the updated schedule is there.
The system can also send a notification to each guest affected by the schedule change to provide a heads’ up about the change. Notifications can include custom messages and can be limited to guests who have already checked in at the event, or be sent to all invited guests who are expected to attend.
All this works because the events are planned and managed in Sponsor Locker, an online tool that allows the activities and the guests to be managed in a single integrated database. Event managers use the tool to craft a master itinerary (or run-of-show) for a single- or multi-day event, import the guests, assign the guests to activities individually or by group, and let the system do the rest.
Guest response to custom online itineraries has been overwhelmingly positive across a wide spectrum of sponsorship events, from motorsports to golf to professional football and baseball. Even execs who are used to paper itineraries that are painstakingly updated and printed out at the event quickly realize the value of the online alternative. As one exec said recently, “Now that I’ve seen this, why would I ever go back?”