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More than 100 million people are gearing up to watch the big game on Sunday. Between watch parties, wings, beverages, commercials, the halftime show and much more, excitement is widespread.
Beyond entertainment, the game serves as a super opportunity for small businesses in the Las Vegas area to capitalize on increased spending, foot traffic and excitement from hopeful fans either looking to tie the record for most championships, continue a dynasty or just take in the world’s biggest game.
While Sunday’s game only comes to one city per year, international sporting events, concert tours, conventions and other monumental events regularly provide much-welcomed boosts to local economies. Last year’s big game in Phoenix saw an average 25.6% increase in spending at local restaurants and bars when compared to other weekends in February. Last summer, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and Barbenheimer added an estimated $8.5 billion to the U.S. economy in Q3 2023, and the 2024 Summer Olympics could generate up to €10.7 billion in economic benefits in France later this year.
With a fresh calendar year of events kicking off, here are four strategies small business owners can use to capitalize on the excitement:
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Create themed goods and services
Most people traveling for a big event want to immerse themselves in the excitement and return with personal keepsakes or gifts. This unique demand presents an opportunity for small business owners to get creative with trending themes.
Last year, bakeries near movie theaters created pink Barbie-themed pastries, and restaurants tapped into the economic power of Swifties by decorating in accordance with an “Era.” In Houston, bars prepped for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament by blasting schools’ fight songs to lure in patrons. In Boston, Chicago and New York, retailers ran discounts on marathon-themed merchandise. In Las Vegas, we expect to see casinos, hotels, bars and restaurants tweak their menus to offer championship-level meals and game-day cocktails.
Whatever the event is, be well-versed on why people are jumping on flights to attend, get creative, and capitalize authentically on attendees’ excitement.
Offer targeted promotions and discounts
While event tourism brings in fresh energy, staying in a city — let alone traveling to and attending a major event — can put a dent in your bank account. Having spent a small fortune just to get there, many event-goers will be looking for deals.
This bodes well for business owners, as there are opportunities to attract customers with clever discounts and promotions. A few major factors to consider when implementing a promotion are timing, target audience and reach. Consider partnering with other local businesses to maximize your reach. For example: “Buy one, get one on themed merchandise at our retailer, receive a coupon to do the same with appetizers at the restaurant next door.”
You should also time your promotions around the event. If you’re a bar, hotel or retailer near the venue, offer a happy hour before, special rates the weekend of, or discounted items during the lead-up. Other service providers near the host city have opportunities, too. Personal trainers can offer discounted rates to people visiting town, or photographers can offer to take pictures of people outside the event. There are many ways to lure the influx of customers into your business without having to veer too far from your traditional promotional efforts.
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Plan complementary events
The signature event people are flocking to town for doesn’t need to be the only thing they’re looking forward to. By planning complementary events, your business can also be a destination where that out-of-town energy is spent.
In addition to improving sales, gatherings can help you build stronger relationships with your customers. Consider what the expected crowd is interested in, make an event out of it, and show your appreciation to all who showed up for a great time.
You don’t have to limit activities to the lead-up to the big event either. Like thousands of Swifties who “Taylgated” Taylor Swift’s concerts during the show, many people who didn’t or couldn’t spend the money associated with being inside the venue still spent time traveling to the host city and soaking in all the energy and excitement. Consider providing fans with the next best thing and hosting a watch party or catering a tailgate. Depending on the event, some fans may look to keep the party going. If that’s the case, perhaps a victory party for the winning fan base or a local cover band playing encores is in order.
Mind the logistics
Regardless of how you market your business to eventgoers, you must be prepared to handle the altered business environment during a major event. Increased crowds can either be an opportunity or a burden for your business, so consider whether you’ll benefit from having additional inventory, staffing or operational hours to ensure you’ll seize the moment. Getting creative with temporary product names and designs is a great way to boost business, but be wary of running afoul of licensing and copyright laws as well.
Events like this Sunday’s only come to cities every so often, and moments like these can be some of the most exciting parts of the entrepreneurship journey. The benefits they could have on your business are endless, so enjoy them and strive to take full advantage.
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