SportHood

All Things in Youth Sports

Travel Agents for Teams – Yea or Nea?

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The New York Times ran an article last week looking at the pros and cons of having companies organize hotels and other logistics for tournaments and for clubs and teams that travel significantly. This morning, I got a confirmation for my reservations this month for the Durango Shootout soccer tournament in Colorado. The tournament is using Room Roster to steer tournament attendees into hotels.

Negatives mentioned of having a company take care of hotel logistics include:

  • Limited hotel choice, which affects travelers who like to use their hotel memberships for low-priced weekend rooms and deal seekers.
  • 2 night minimum stays.
  • Hotels may not be dog friendly.
  • Parking charges can add on a substantial daily fee.
  • Penalties for teams who do not use the booking system a tournament has chosen.
The last time we registered our team for the Durango tournament, hotel rooms were scarce and blocks of rooms nonexistent. My assistant coach and I booked rooms at a 1-star motel a couple of miles from the downtown. Our players and their families ended up all over town. We were somewhat out of the loop, which impacted our influence on the team. Our 8-year-old players swam at the Durango swim complex for 3.5 hours straight between our Saturday games, resulting in our entire team demanding to be on the bench for our second game. It did not end well.

This year, RoomRoster offered our team a block of rooms in downtown Durango. It was a simple registration process for our team parents. Our team parent didn’t have to spend time calling around to different hotels looking for one or more blocks of rooms. The price for a downtown Durango hotel is $139/night, $50 less than if you were to book it yourself that weekend directly on the hotel website. The $10.00 that I spent for Room Roster (3.5% of the hotel price) is acceptable to me. Maybe if our team was a travel team and did this more multiple times a year, my opinion of this model would be different.

 The travel segment of youth sports is estimated at $10.5 B annually. Finding ways to automate and simplify processes with new business models is inevitable. These clubs and towns hosting tournaments are looking for ways to maximize sports tourism dollars. Being part of the youth sports craze comes with less autonomy. First it was mandatory team dinners. Now, it’s moved on to bigger ticket items – hotels and other travel services. I’m looking forward to the tournament, spending time in Durango and obstructing my players from pursuing a record-breaking pool experience on Saturday.

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