blog_icon_art The Marchex Blog

It’s game time! How hospitality marketers should plan for the Super Bowl

The countdown is on for Super Bowl LII where the New England Patriots will take on the Philadelphia Eagles at the U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis. Teams are ready to throw down and more than 66,000 people are gearing up to pack the stadium as Minnesota hosts fans (maybe a little bitter they’re not Viking fan) from across the nation for a weekend of football festivities. But are hotel and hospitality marketers ready for the masses?

A study by Arizona State University suggested that a recent Super Bowl the greater Phoenix area produced an economic impact of $719.4 million dollars for the state of Arizona. Much of that came from fans eating at restaurants, staying at hotels, and renting cars to shuttle between sites.

When the Vikings recently lost to the Philadelphia Eagles (and with it, the chance to play a Super Bowl in their hometown), Minnesota fans were in dismay. In the meantime, Eagles fans rushed for their phones to book a trip to Minneapolis. Ticket prices to the big game plummeted as Vikings fans sold off their tickets, paving the way for out-of-town fans to swoop in for last-minute game plans. For hospitality brands, this means the pressure was on to handle an impending flood of visitors and deliver a great customer experience.

What You Can Learn from Super Bowl LI

In comparing the average volume of calls Houston hotels received from customers for the 2017 Super Bowl, there was a 64% increase in phone calls the Friday before the game, and a 135% increase compared to a typical Saturday in February. This is significant when Houston hotels typically receive an average of 85 calls on a usual Friday in January and 60 calls on an average Saturday in January.

Source: Marchex Call Analytics

As Super Bowl weekend quickly approaches in Minnesota, hospitality marketers can take simple steps to capitalize on this window of opportunity. Not only are there ways to maximize each phone call, having the right tools in place can help drive traffic to your business and secure more reservations as local competition heats up.

Tips for success:

  • Allocate budget for paid search: Do you rank among the best in your city? If not, ramp up your paid search campaign leading up to Super Bowl weekend. Adding a click-to-call number can help maximize inbound phone calls, ultimately leading to more reservations. A recent study by Forrester found that people who call business transact faster, spend more, and are more loyal.
  • Increase customer service staffing: With spikes in inbound phone calls on the rise the week before game day, properly staffing your sales and reservations departments and call centers is key. Keep in mind call volumes will surge most on Friday and Saturday.
  • Don’t leave customers waiting: 50% of hang-ups occur when the phone rings four or more times, so it’s important to enforce a three-rings-or-less rule. Once your agents do pick up the phone, be sure they’re avoiding or limiting hold times. Callers on hold for more than 90 seconds hang up 50% of the time.

The Super Bowl naturally brings a great opportunity for marketers and sales professionals to increase visibility and loyalty for their brand – but it’s up to those hotels, restaurants and local vendors in Minneapolis to carry their organization to the fourth quarter for a win with travelers and fans.