The reasons for this kind of growth are manifold: destinations such as Phuket, Langkawi and Singapore meet many of the key requirements of becoming premier sports tourism destinations, including easy access, a pleasant climate, a certain level of prestige, authenticity and, finally, diversity in the form of other tourism and leisure-related facilities.
The shift in wealth from West to East is also a determining factor. The number of superyachts sold to Asian buyers is steadily increasing, as is the number of visiting yachts from elsewhere in Asia, Europe and the Americas. This is due in no small part to the excellent facilities in place at the region’s marinas.
Last but not least, the Thai, Malay and the Singaporean governments are actively and aggressively supporting and promoting the yachting industry. The Thai Ministry of Transport recently announced a new licence that allows foreign-flagged superyachts to charter in Thai waters, a move meant to incentivise overseas yacht owners to bring their yachts to Southeast Asia during the European off-season.
In other words, sports tourism is becoming a buzzword and entrepreneurs, investors and governments are all buying in. This presents a huge opportunity for organisers to put on bigger and better events and for brands and businesses to reach out to a specific target group of high net worth individuals (HNWIs), build brand identity, and align their marketing initiatives with some of the region’s biggest and most prestigious events. It also means there is a growing need for marketing consultants to help match sponsors for the many events and maximise their potential.
In the 10 years or so we have sold yachting events in the region, we have witnessed a significant change in the way these events are run and the expectations sponsors have. As events are becoming more professionally run, brands and businesses have higher expectations and they want innovative solutions and sophisticated marketing. Here are some steps organisers and sponsors can take to ensure they get the most out of the partnership.
Before the event
Planning is the key to a successful event and it is important sponsors and organisers identify their objectives. Contrary to what many believe, sponsors are not benefactors and the event is not a charitable cause. Organisers should understand the needs and objectives of sponsoring brands and businesses, just as brands and businesses should understand the particular event and its participants to maximise the benefits of the sponsorship.
During the event
Activation is the key to a successful sponsorship. A rule of thumb is for every dollar spent on sponsorship, sponsors are encouraged to spend an additional dollar on the activation of the sponsorship. The world of advertising is changing and specialised events such as a yacht show, race or regatta offer a perfect opportunity for businesses to more directly engage with their target customers. In addition to traditional activation methods, such as promotional booths, businesses must recognise the importance of social media. With event participants active on a variety of social media platforms, sponsors should be visible throughout the event and organisers can increase their visibility by being associated with brands and businesses who already have a large following.
After the event
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the job is done when the event is over. Now is the time to measure the benefit of the sponsorship, and while most sponsors are looking for a return on investment which they can quantify, there are benefits which aren’t immediately measurable, such as long-term brand attributes, increased awareness and indirect sales. You can’t always put a monetary value on an objective, so organisers should help sponsors meet objectives that are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed.
Paul Poole is the founder, managing director and chairman of Paul Poole (South East Asia) Co., Ltd., an independent marketing consultancy based in Bangkok, Thailand. For more information, please email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: www.paulpoole.co.th