Sports tourism is one of the fastest growing phenomena in recent years. Up to 15 million international arrivals are estimated every year. In percentage, sports tourism absorbs about 10% of the entire world tourism expenditure. With this premise, based on data from the European Travel Commission, it is easy to see the importance of a segment that is constantly growing.
The sports tourism market is constantly evolving. The concept of mountain holidays, for example, has changed enormously, so much so that a new terminology has been coined for tourists to define the non-skiing mountain enthusiast. In slang the category has been called: Snow Lovers No Skiers. All this has led to the creation of packages with personal services. From the wellness centre to recreational activities for family and friends.
When it comes to choosing a destination for active sport, outdoor disciplines usually have more appeal. Cycle tourism, skiing, trekking, running and water sports are extraordinary vehicles to get to know the area. Just think that the New York City Marathon alone generates a value of over 300 million euros every year, and that’s one of the reasons why the organizers of the 2024 Olympic Games are working on the idea of a race that is also open to amateurs.
Soccer, however, is confirmed as the main sport in terms of fan loyalty, especially in conjunction with major events such as the Champions League. A study by Expedia last year confirmed a 30% increase in research reported in Madrid (venue of the final) compared to 2018. So it’s time for traditional 5-a-side soccer centres to make a cultural leap.
In the European Union, 69% of people who usually practice sport are not members of a club. There is a need for innovative solutions by opening their structure to the world. Sports tourism is one of the main keys to innovation in the business model.
WSBSPORT is developing a platform to enable its clients’ 5-a-side soccer centres to offer their members highly personalized VIP experiences around the world, or to receive sport tourists from other Countries as host clubs. In this way, facility managers will be able to increase revenues by either “breaking down” the limits of their centre’s physical space with a range of proposals on an international scale, or to exploit their venues at the fullest.
It is possible to create real expressions of active sports tourism coordinated by a Guest Experience Manager who, as a professional in the sector, will be able to guide guests in the choice of activities, combined with cultural and food and wine proposals.
The activities can range from those dedicated to the live viewing of major football events (Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Champions League and Europa League) with exclusive packages, to the organization of advanced sports courses, or simply as a cultural exchange or to learn or improve a language, allowing families to make their children live unforgettable experiences.
Obviously, one cannot improvise. The entire sales strategy must be rethought in a “vertical” perspective in order to become the customer’s hub for everything related to his favourite sport.