You have to give business leaders and the local Ironclub major kudos for all rallying behind this significant opportunity. You can read all the details in the Ironclub newsletter. At RaceDirector, we want to talk about how you can make the most of the opportunity to make your event an economic benefit to the businesses in your community.
In this study, numerous food and beverage establishments reported that they enjoyed their largest sales days of the year during the Ironman events. Your event may not make as big of a bump in the numbers, but if you are active in the local business community, you can get all kinds of businesses to feel like stakeholders in the success of your growing event. The bigger your event grows, the more of an opportunity for them to capture some of the influx in revenue. Especially if your event is one that people will travel over 100 miles to participate and/or stay overnight in a hotel.
Meet with the local Business Association, Chamber of Commerce, County Visitor's Center, or any other entity that will have a financial interest in seeing your event become a destination for visitors outside the area. Share with them the vision for your event and the type of people who are in your demographic. The area around your start/finish will be a festive scene. Look for opportunities to get the local businesses in the area to actively participate.
Take restaurants for example. If you have 500-1,000 people running your race then you want to give them a heads-up they might want to staff-up a bit, or have a plan in place to handle a large crowd of hungry and thirsty runners. If they have no warning and are understaffed, then they might view your event as a negative. Getting them in the loop early allows them to put their best foot forward and that will contribute to a better overall experience for visitors to the area. They might even want to become a sponsor or offer a pre-race meal or other special discounts to entice customers.
Giving everyone fair warning is important in the first year of an event, especially if your event will involve road closures or any other disruptions to the normal flow for customers to visit local businesses. Instead of a big surprise on race day that could be perceived as a negative, be proactive and help the local businesses impacted find a way to be directly involved and increase their sales that day. There will always be a naysayer. You know the type who will complain about anything and everything. Not to worry. If you are proactive and get the right influencers in your business community involved, it will only add to the festive atmosphere of your event.
You might not be able to get community and business leaders to invest money into promoting and building your event, but there is much they can do that requires no cash and will create the win-win-win all the way around you are looking for. This is a big part of what a local Visitor's Bureau or Chamber of Commerce is tasked with doing. Help them help you. They will be glad there is another positive event taking place in the community that they can use to add to their overall promotion of the area. The Chamber of Commerce folks can help connect you with the business leaders that can get the community on board.
At RaceDirector, we always talk about how you want the running community to rally around your event and embrace it. It is just as important to apply that same philosophy to the business community as well. Share your vision and enthusiasm for what you are trying to create. Show them the potential economic benefit. The more people and organizations that are involved, the greater the chance you will have the high-energy, successful event you dreamed of!