SBJ/20090817/This Week's News

Quail Hollow Championship gets down to details with buyers on improving packages

The Quail Hollow Championship in Charlotte, a tournament that gets a large portion of its revenue from the financial sector, isn’t waiting around to see if an uptick in the economy will automatically lead to a resurgence in hospitality spending around the event.

Tents line the 18th green in Charlotte,
where tournament staff members are
meeting with hospitality buyers.

Tournament staff, led by director Kym Hougham, met in late July with a hand-picked group of 12 corporate hospitality buyers to get advice about how the event could better meet their needs.

What Hougham thought would be a two-hour lunch meeting that broadly touched on hospitality concerns stretched to three hours before the parties scheduled another meeting in September. That meeting will go into more detail on subjects such as food-and-beverage offerings, pro-ams and how to better serve companies’ clients.

“Instead of us coming up with a package that we feel is right for them, we want them to tell us what they want and we’ll see if we can come up with a package that will fit,” Hougham said. “Too often they think we know what’s right for them, and too often I don’t think we do.”

Suggestions, Hougham said, were less about reducing cost and more about getting added value for the same price, such as coordinating player meet-and-greets and being more flexible with ticket use. Companies were also concerned about the perception associated with entertaining at sporting events given the criticism that Northern Trust faced earlier this year. Hougham said there would probably be two or three more meetings before the end of the year.

“Sometimes it’s not a bad thing when you have to step back and look at your business model,” he said.

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