Over the last weekend of October, top donors from the University of Iowa traveled with SET to Madison, Wisconsin as the Hawkeyes took on the University of Wisconsin. It was a unique opportunity for SET, as we were able to get creative and offer some high level, private experiences that showed off the best of what Madison had to offer.
Iowa fans arrived in Madison, WI with provided accommodations at the Hilton Madison Monona Terrace. Located on Lake Monona, and a short walk to Capital Square, the Hilton Madison Monona Terrace allows travelers to feel the heartbeat of Wisconsin’s state capital.
In true Wisconsin fashion a group tasting at Wisconsin Brewing Company was a must. Brewmaster Kirby Nelson lead the group on a tasteful tour through some of the best beer in the state. Located in Verona, Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Brewing Company is a beer production facility, five easy minutes south of the greater Madison area. With twelve amazing tasting beers on tap Wisconsin Brewing Company should be on the top of your list.
Following the brewery excursion, guests were partook in a private dinner at RARE Steakhouse. RARE is one of the premier dining experiences right on Madison’s Capitol Square. Inspired by the old nostalgic romance of great American steakhouses, the restaurant’s founders took the best elements of steakhouses across the nation and added in a local flare to create the RARE Steakhouse experience. This environment allowed the University the opportunity to learn more of their donor’s interests and for fellow donors to meet one another.
SET started game day off right on a crisp fall morning with a private Hawkeye tailgate on Regent Street in Madison. Being a couple blocks from historic Camp Randall Stadium allowed the group to feel the pulse of the thousands taking to campus to prepare for the game, even for a 11:00 am local kickoff.
SET prioritized the importance of providing top-level customer service while acting as an extension of University of Iowa Center for Advancement brand to donor base, SET works hard to provide custom-tailored events and ensure travelers’ needs are met every step of the way. UI Center for Advancement members were not only left with a memorable fan experience, but also an increase in continued donor loyalty for years to come.
Indianapolis, Indiana (November 4, 2021) — The University of Alabama National Alumni Association (NAA) is partnering with Sports and Entertainment Travel, LLC (SET) as the official athletic travel provider for all future Alabama Alumni fan travel packages.
“The University of Alabama National Alumni Association is proud to partner with SET to provide Alabama fans a first-class travel experience while supporting our team as they compete and represent the University of Alabama,” said Calvin Brown, Director of Alumni Affairs at the University of Alabama. “This collaboration is yet another example of the University of Alabama and the National Alumni Association working together to provide opportunities for alumni and fans to stay connected.”
The relationship will allow the NAA and SET to create athletic travel packages for special regular season and all postseason football games and other athletic events. Additionally, SET will provide NAA specialty travel options to such sporting events as the Kentucky Derby, the Masters, and select golf trips, to name a few. These opportunities will range from land-only packages, game-day packages, and à la carte services, to all-inclusive packages with charter air.
“Our goal at SET is to create, manage, and provide an exceptional fan travel experience. We’re excited to provide our services with fan travel packages to The National Alumni Association of the University of Alabama and to all their valued alumni, donors, and fans,” said Christy Bruce and Kyle McDonald, president and vice president of SET.
To learn more about The University of Alabama National Alumni Association’s fan travel packages, please visit www.AlabamaAlumniFanTravel.com or call 888.263.6208.
About The University of Alabama National Alumni Association
To learn more about The University of Alabama National Alumni Association, please visit alumni.ua.edu.
About Sports and Entertainment Travel, LLC
Sports and Entertainment Travel, LLC (SET) is a full-service travel and tour management company. SET’s collective experience spans the entire landscape of sports-related programs. SET pooled their expertise and deep industry connections with a common vision: to become the country’s foremost provider of sports-related group travel services. SET is committed to delivering the ultimate fan travel experience by utilizing its travel, hospitality, collegiate athletic, sports marketing, and sales experience to execute custom collegiate sports travel and hospitality programs for its partners. To learn more about SET, go to sportsandentertainmenttravel.com or call 844-438-8738.
Each October, the skies of historic Albuquerque, New Mexico are painted with hundreds of hot air balloons. As balloons lift off the ground from Fiesta Park, this marks the largest hot air balloon festival in the world with over 500 balloons in attendance. The world-renowned Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is often referred to as “an event of a lifetime.”
THE SET EXPERIENCE
Access to the Balloon Fiesta is hard to come by, but in 2021 SET delivered another unforgettable Balloon Fiesta experience. Our packages provided guests the opportunity to take part of an aerodynamic wonder with accommodations located at Hotel Chaco in the heart of Albuquerque.
Along with beautiful views, time in Old Town Albuquerque is unforgettable with old adobe style architecture and tiny artisan shops. Guests visited Sawmill Market: a 34,000 square-foot food hall hosting an array of local cuisine, located at the original site of the American Lumber Company, north of historic Old Town.
On Sunday evening, SET coordinated a traditional flamenco dance performance with The National Institute of Flamenco, a member-supported non-profit arts organization at Tablao Flamenco Albuquerque. Tablao is an exclusive venue dedicated to presenting the finest flamenco in an intimate performance format.
Albuquerque, New Mexico has endless possibilities when it comes to unique and traditional cuisine options. Sadie’s of New Mexico, voted #1 Best New Mexican Food, #1 Best Green Chile, #1 Best Margarita, and Top 3 Best Red Chile, has been serving up hot, heavenly plates made with the distinctive flavors of true New Mexican cuisine for over 60 years.
Frontier Restaurant, an Albuquerque tradition located across from the University of New Mexico, did not disappoint. Over the past 50 years, Frontier has served great breakfasts, burritos, burgers, roasted green chile, homemade flour tortillas, fresh squeezed orange juice, and the famous Frontier Sweet Rolls. SET staff would recommend Frontier Restaurant to any Albuquerque newcomer.
INTERESTED IN BALLOON FIESTA 2022?
Exclusive 2022 Balloon Fiesta packages with premium hotel accommodations are available now for purchase. SET offers a variety of packages, ranging between three-night and five-night experiences. Access our website to discover how simple and easy booking with SET can be. CLICK HERE for 2022 Balloon Fiesta travel packages!
LSU vs. UCLA at The Iconic Rose Bowl
From gorgeous mountainous views in Pasadena at the Rose Bowl to old Hollywood staples in Downtown LA and Hollywood, this travel package offered excitement and options for everyone.
The SET team lists their must-visits and hot spots they hit as they explored Los Angeles.
Arts District – Los Angeles, CA
Restaurant Recommendation: BRERA Ristorante is an excellent spot for great Italian food, spacious outdoor seating, and a beautiful and hip interior.
Venice Beach, CA
For those that like to wander and watch, Venice Beach boardwalk is the perfect spot for people-watching, as you pass muscle beach and various skate parks
Restaurant Recommendation: Fig Tree is located right on the Venice Beach Boardwalk, and is a great spot with an ocean-view for lunch, dinner, or even just drinks and small plates.
Bike along The Strand, a path that will take you along the coast from Santa Monica to Redondo Beach
The Rose Bowl – Pasadena, CA
The Rose Bowl is one of the most iconic and historic stadiums in college football. Every seat is the best seat in the house, due to the field being built into the ground. The mountains and hills create a beautiful landscape surrounding the stadium. For avid college football fans, this is a venue you will want to add to your list.
Although this hotel poses a logistical issue for large event groups due to check-in being on the 70th floor sky lobby, it offers one of the most breathtaking panoramic views of the city. Go up to the 70th floor during sunset for a spectacular experience and a drink at the Lobby Lounge.
Our large group of around 500 LSU guests were in a great location with great service at this property. The rooms were modern and spacious, and the JW Marriott staff were prepared and helpful during our event. This will be a property that SET uses in the future for other Los Angeles and Rose Bowl events!
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – (March 15, 2021) – USAC Racing has announced a partnership with Sports & Entertainment Travel, LLC for three racing weeks during the 2021 season.
Since its inception, the Indianapolis-based Sports & Entertainment Travel, LLC (SET) has been dedicated to delivering superior and unique travel packages. SET and USAC are collaboratively working together to create one-of-a-kind, exclusive motorsports travel experiences for racing fans.
2021 Events scheduled for the SET/USAC Experience offerings:
- Indiana Midget Week – June 3-12, 2021
- Indiana Sprint Week – July 23-31, 2021
- Midget National Championship Week (California) – November 18-27, 2021
“This is an opportunity that USAC fans simply don’t want to miss out on!” USAC Executive Vice President Levi Jones said. “This is the ultimate, exclusive experience that any race fan would want to be a part of. It’s a chance to witness USAC’s biggest and most prestigious events the right way– up close and personal with the personalities of the sport, while encountering the most exciting dirt track racing action in the world.”
“SET is looking forward to partnering with USAC to bring these exclusive travel packages to their loyal fan base.” says Laura Cooper-Arnold, Executive Vice President of SET. “We are excited to offer an opportunity with so much VIP access!”
For more information on the mentioned travel packages, click here.
ABOUT USAC RACING
Since 1956, United States Auto Club (USAC) remains the most diversified motorsports sanctioning body in the world. It is the official sanctioning body of many of today’s largest racing series, including its own suite of circle track series in Silver Crown, Sprint, Midget and .25 Midget racing, in addition to Road Racing, Off Road and Power Sports, boasting a competitor base of more than 17,000 at more than 1,000 sanctioned events globally. To learn more about USAC Racing, email Richie Murray at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Twitter: @USACNation | Instagram: @usacnation | Facebook: @usacracing
ABOUT SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT TRAVEL, LLC
Sports & Entertainment Travel, LLC (SET) is a full-service travel and tour management company. SET’s collective experience spans the entire landscape of sports-related programs. SET is committed to delivering the ultimate fan travel experience by utilizing its travel, hospitality, collegiate athletic, sports marketing, motorsports, and sales experience to execute custom sports travel and hospitality programs for its partners. To learn more about SET, go to sportsandentertainmenttravel.com or call 317-559-2527.
INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, March 1, 2021 – The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum announced a partnership March 1 with Indianapolis-based Sports and Entertainment Travel (SET), creating an exclusive IMS Museum overnight travel package for fans from around the world which features admission to the Museum and IMS track tour, a visit to a legendary INDYCAR team’s shop, and lodging at brand-new hotel in Speedway, Indiana.
The IMS Museum-SET travel package is a seamless and discounted opportunity to journey into the history and present-day excitement of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, starting with a VIP Grounds Tour of the IMS facility – an unforgettable walk through IMS landmarks normally off-limits to the general public – and guided tour of the IMS Museum’s current featured exhibits and permanent Indianapolis 500 winning car collection.
Detailed information about the IMS Museum travel package is available at the following address: https://sportsandentertainmenttravel.com/event/indianapolis-motor-speedway-museum/
The behind-the-scenes journey continues with a guided tour of the A.J. Foyt Racing INDYCAR team shop, located on bustling Main Street in Speedway.
“Today’s announcement furthers our vision to bring alive emotional experiences for fans year-round, capturing the essence of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and incredible stories told at the IMS Museum,” said Joe Hale, IMS Museum president. “We’re excited to partner with SET, A.J. Foyt Racing and our partners throughout Speedway to elevate our guest experience through the IMS Museum tour package.”
Guests taking advantage of the IMS Museum travel package will have a variety of restaurants in Speedway – particularly locally-owned destinations on Main Street – to grab dinner, lunch and their choice of beverage, including craft brewers and distillers, and several locations frequented by current and retired racers.
Overnight accommodations are at the Courtyard Speedway, opened in 2019 at the intersection of Interstate 465 and Crawfordsville Road, just 2 miles west of IMS.
Said Laura Cooper-Arnold, Executive Vice-President of Sports and Entertainment Travel: “Sports and Entertainment Travel is honored and excited to partner with the IMS Museum to showcase this remarkable collection and all that the Town of Speedway has to offer for motorsports fans visiting from across the U.S. and beyond.”
Currently, the packages are offered Mondays and Fridays when not in conflict with major racing activities.
“The Speedway Chamber of Commerce and Town of Speedway are excited to welcome and share our hospitality with guests all year, and this new behind the scenes travel experience revolving around the IMS Museum and Main Street Speedway is the perfect ticket for race fans,” said Speedway Chamber of Commerce President Scott Nelson. “Speedway is a year-round destination with many specialty shops and an amazing variety of dining options ready to safely enhance your travel experience.”
The Town of Speedway was incorporated in 1926 – 17 years after the Indianapolis Motor Speedway opened. It’s an independent town surrounded by the City of Indianapolis, and the entire IMS facility and grounds are located within its borders.
About Sports and Entertainment Travel: Sports and Entertainment Travel, LLC (SET) is a full-service travel and tour management company. SET’s collective experience spans the entire landscape of sports-related programs, delivering the ultimate fan travel experience by utilizing its travel, hospitality, collegiate athletic, sports marketing, motorsports, and sales experience to execute custom sports travel and hospitality programs for its partners. To learn more about SET, go to sportsandentertainmenttravel.com or call 317-559-2527. You can follow us at SET social on Twitter (@SETExperiences), Instagram (@set_experiences) and Facebook (@sportsandentertainmenttravel).
About the IMS Museum: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum is home to one of the world’s premier motorsports and automobile collections, with interpretive emphasis on the Indianapolis 500 and its role as an American icon of sporting tradition and innovation.
Located inside the famed 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, the IMS Museum is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization which relies on the support of visitors, members, donors and corporate partners, who make possible our daily operations, exhibits, educational programming, and restoration and preservation initiatives.
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Media Contact: Eric Powell, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, 317-727-7967, email@example.com
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – (February 18, 2021) – Sports and Entertainment Travel, LLC (SET) announced today the relocation of its headquarters from Champaign, IL, to Indianapolis, IN. For the past four years, SET’s main operations hub has been housed in the Indianapolis area, but all departments will now be joined together under one roof.
“As a destination built to host major sporting events, we are proud to welcome Sports and Entertainment Travel to Indy,” said John Sobieralski, Director of Partner Relations with Visit Indy. “Indy is a sports-minded city, and we are confident that Sports and Entertainment Travel will help our city continue to grow tourism.”
Along with the relocation, SET has also announced the hiring of Laura Cooper-Arnold as the Executive Vice President. Owning an event planning and management company since 2005, Laura brings over 20 years of vast experience and expansive knowledge of all things sports and entertainment. With an unrivaled network of event contractors, vendors, and motorsports clients, she is a very highly respected member of the industry.
“I am very excited to be joining SET full-time, after 13+ years of freelancing with the company. It is an honor to be part of such a long-time successful family-owned business. I look forward to bringing my athletic events and motorsports background and joining the talented team located across the street from the motorsports capital of the world,” said Laura Cooper-Arnold.
“We are looking forward to bringing our expertise to a city that is so important to the sports industry” says Christy Dodds Bruce, President of Sports and Entertainment Travel, LLC. “We are so very fortunate to have Laura join our company full-time. Her expertise in all sports, logistics, relationships, and oversight will continue to help grow Sports & Entertainment Travel’s exposure in the sports marketplace nationwide.”
ABOUT SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT TRAVEL, LLC
Sports and Entertainment Travel, LLC (SET) is a full-service travel and tour management company. SET’s collective experience spans the entire landscape of sports-related programs. Pooling expertise and deep industry connections with a common vision, SET has become the country’s foremost provider of sports and entertainment related group travel services. SET is committed to delivering the ultimate fan travel experience by utilizing its travel, hospitality, collegiate athletic, sports marketing, and sales experience to execute custom sports travel and hospitality programs for its partners. To learn more about SET, go to sportsandentertainmenttravel.com or call 317-559-2527.
CONCORD, NC (January 29, 2021) – Vasser Sullivan Racing (VS) announced today an exclusive partnership agreement with Sports & Entertainment Travel, LLC for five (5), open-wheel races and one sportscar event during the 2021 season.
Indianapolis-based Sports & Entertainment Travel, LLC (SET) combines over 50 years of bucket list sporting event fan travel, with exclusive behind-the-scenes access, to bring the ultimate experience to Vasser Sullivan Racing fans across the country.
Together, Vasser Sullivan and SET, will elevate the fan experience beyond access. From booking to home again, SET is known for handling all the details, to ensure that even race-going novices will feel at home – and cheering for a race team!
2021 Events currently scheduled for the newly revealed SET/VS Experience are:
- Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, April 23-26
- Rev Group Grand Prix at Road America, June 17-21
- Music City Streets of Nashville, August 6-9
- WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, September 16-20
- Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach (Open-wheel and Sportscar), September 24-27
For more information about the above Fan Travel Packages, click here.
Vasser Sullivan Racing is owned by 1996 IndyCar Champion, Jimmy Vasser, and sports marketer James “Sulli” Sullivan. They campaign two Lexus RC-F entries in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, and co-own the #18 Dale Coyne Vasser-Sullivan IndyCar competition in the NTT IndyCar Championship.
- The No. 18 Team SealMaster- Dale Coyne Vasser Sullivan entry will be piloted by Ed Jones for the 2021 season.
- The No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 sports car will be piloted by Zach Veach and Frankie Montecalvo
- The No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 will be piloted by Jack Hawksworth and Aaron Telitz.
James “Sulli” Sullivan, Co-Owner Vasser Sullivan Racing:
Vasser Sullivan Racing is looking forward to offering this brand-new experience to our fans everywhere and to bring new fans into the club. We want to thank SET for such a great partnership. We are ready for a successful season!
Christy Bruce, President Sports & Entertainment Travel, LLC:
SET is thrilled to be partnering with Vasser Sullivan Racing to bring this exclusive, behind-the-scenes experience to fans everywhere. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with such a highly regarded team and are looking forward to furthering our footprint in the motorsports industry.
About Sports & Entertainment Travel, LLC
Sports & Entertainment Travel, LLC is a full-service travel and tour management company. SET’s collective experience spans the entire landscape of sports-related programs. SET pooled their expertise and deep industry connections with a common vision: to become the country’s foremost provider of sports-related group travel services. SET is committed to delivering the ultimate fan travel experience by utilizing its travel, hospitality, collegiate athletic, sports marketing, and sales experience to execute custom sports travel and hospitality programs for its partners. To learn more about SET, go to www.sportsandentertainmenttravel.com or call 317.559.2578 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Although uncertainty still remains about what the fall may look like, travel will still be an essential part of doing business in college sports. As the NCAA and colleges around the country come to terms with the challenges and unique opportunities of a potential football season during a global pandemic, CollegeAD spoke with travel industry insiders about what traveling safely during the COVID-19 crisis looks like.
“It can be done safely, but you do have to think about things differently than just a few months ago,” explains Christy Bruce with Sports & Entertainment Travel. “There are precautions you can take, there are ways to make this safe and relatively painless.”
Bruce, along with Kyle McDonald, also of Sports & Entertainment Travel offer these tips to athletic departments, donors, and fans who will be planning to travel as fall football season inches closer.
“It’s a good idea to brush up on basic guidelines before you schedule your trip,” explains McDonald. “Remember to practice social distancing, try to stay outdoors for events, wear a face mask, and wash your hands as often as you can.”
He also says it’s a good idea to seek out contactless payment and mobile ticketing options. Things like kiosks at the airport or setting up your Apple Pay or EZ-Pay for other interactions in shops or stores. For the organizer of an event, McDonald and Bruce stress planning and preparation.
“Contactless interactions are best, plus you need to make sure there is enough space to set up at least 6 feet of social distance,” he says.
“You’re going to want to know what the situation will be before you arrive at your destination,” stresses Bruce. “Look into the travel restrictions that might impact where you’re headed. Some states, like New York, are asking travelers from other states to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. You need to realize that before you book travel.”
Hitting the Road or Taking to the Skies
According to Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, flying can actually be safer than other everyday activities during this crisis. Airlines and airports have measures in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Still, flying doesn’t come without risk, here’s what Bruce and McDonald recommend before taking to the skies.
- Check airline policies beforehand. Choose an airline with precautionary measures you’re comfortable with.
- Try to book seats without other people nearby. Many airlines are blocking middle seats to keep more distance between passengers and reduce COVID-19 spreading.
- Bring disinfectant wipes with you, and clean your area carefully before sitting down.
- Wear your mask the entire flight, except for when eating or drinking.
- Don’t wait in line for the restroom. When you use the restroom, bring a paper towel or disposable wipe to touch common surfaces. Then, sanitize your hands again when you return to your seat.
“It’s really about thinking ahead at this stage. We know there are concrete things like wearing a mask, wiping down surfaces, washing hands, and maintaining distance, that slow and stop the spread of COVID-19,” explains McDonald. “Now it’s a matter of putting those things into practice.”
If you’re traveling via a van or bus, make sure there is social distance set up between each row. Pack your sanitizer and wipes and use them frequently. Wear your mask while in the vehicle and when the caravan stops touch as little as possible while stretching your legs. Remembering these trips can increase your chances of traveling safely during the COVID-19 crisis.
“The same is true if you are alone traveling in your car when you stop, wash your hands frequently and touch as little as possible,” says Bruce. “If you can bring your own food and drinks in those situations, that’s also ideal.”
“Keep your hand sanitizer within reach,” explains McDonald, “on the passenger seat of your car or even on your keychain. For things, you must touch, like door handles and faucets, use a paper towel and throw it out before you get back in your car. Always wear a mask at gas stations and rest stops.”
Once You Reach Your Destination
“Before you book your stay anywhere,” says Bruce, “check the protocols they have in place because a lot of shared facilities at hotels are closed right now.”
She also says not to assume your space is clean. Wipe down all hard, nonporous surfaces regularly. If you’re renting a house or condo, her suggestion is to prioritize cleaning high-touch surfaces, like keys, TV remotes, nightstands, handles on sinks and doors, the fridge (inside and out), light switches, cups, and plates.
They also suggest:
- Bringing clean sheets for your bed.
- Visiting shared spaces at off-peak times. Wear a mask unless you’re outside and there’s no one nearby. Leave if you can’t maintain social distance.
- Skipping indoor shared spaces, especially bars, unless it has been set up for social distancing
- Steer clear of any communal food and drink, like cookies at a reception. Make sure items are individually wrapped.
“For rental homes, ask your host how much time will pass between you and the previous guest. If possible, delay your stay so there’s a 2 to 3-day buffer. If that’s not possible, doing your own cleaning is much more important,” says Bruce.
The bottom line is that travel will have to happen as economies around the country and world open up. Business can’t always be conducted online or via a phone call, as fall approaches, every sector will have to learn and adapt to traveling safely during the COVID-19 crisis.
“Things will be different traveling during a global pandemic, you’ll have to stay on alert and know the protocols ahead of time, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting where you need to go,” explains Bruce. “Leaving your house comes with an extra layer of planning right now, the same is true for travel. Planning ahead and making a few tweaks to how you do things while traveling will help lower the risk of being out in the world.”
With a stay-at-home-order issued for most of the United States and the world, the travel industry is being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. In a global economy, travel is a necessary part of doing businesses, from finance and healthcare to sports travel and entertainment, traveling is a must to keep any number of industries afloat.
Since travel is such an integral part of college sports as we know it, CollegeAD talked with travel industry insiders, Christy Bruce and Kyle McDonald of Sports & Entertainment Travel, to gauge how this sector will weather the crisis, get a look at the current state of the industry, and gain insight into how the travel space could look once the pandemic is over.
State of the Travel Industry
“While the industry may be taking it a hit, it will bounce back. The travel industry is integral to just about every other industry, especially higher education and sports programs. There will be changes on the horizon but for now there are a few things people in the sector can do to assure clients.”
Christy Bruce says now is the time to be transparent and helpful while remaining realistic and optimistic. SET is a full-service travel and tour management company dedicated to offering fan travel experiences. They cater to college sports, an industry virtually on pause during the pandemic. She says those in the travel space should continuously be in contact with their clients and offers tips for those travelers that must travel during the pandemic. Reminding people that masks, gloves and hand sanitizer should be standard while traveling and realizing that even after the immediate danger has passed, sanitation and hygiene will be paramount.
“There won’t be a switch that flips one day, life will get back to normal, but all indications are that it will be a gradual return to traveling,” Kyle McDonald explains. “Take this time to remind people why they travel with you in the first place, then reassure them all precautions are being taken now, and those precautions will continue for the foreseeable future.”
A Look to the Future
According to Bruce and McDonald with SET the short-term ramifications of the COVID-19 shutdown will be toughest on airlines and cruise lines, but there are some major opportunities that will emerge from the crisis.
First to the new normal and what that means for the future. Bruce says initially they expect to see business travel down from previous numbers.
“People will struggle getting back to the confines of an airplane, train or bus. Investment in fast modes of travel will start to look very appealing. Also, many of these business people will now be adept at the virtual meeting, not everyone will want to give that up right away.”
She says that younger people will likely be the first to venture out, but they will be looking for fast, efficient, and clean service. People that work in the travel space will need to be innovative and competitive to notice an uptick in their clientele.
For the people in the travel industry who can offer fast, clean, efficient service there will be opportunities that grow from this crisis. Bruce says there will also be an emphasis on self driving vehicles, technology that is available but has so far been out of reach for the everyday traveler.
“It’s going to be the time for innovation,” she explains. “Domestic travel will pick up first and we’ll have to remind people that there is more to experience within our own borders. Those who can focus on the experience of travel and how special it can be will emerge on the other side of this pandemic.”
Traveling for college sports comes in a few varieties. Teams must travel to compete; fans travel to watch their favorite teams compete, and there are unique experiences like donor trips. According to SET, these will continue, but at a pace that is safe and comfortable for staff, athletes, donors, and fans.
“The health and safety of student-athletes, donors, fans, and staff become even more of a top priority. We could see a fundamental change in the behavior of how these sporting events come together,” McDonald tells CollegeAD.
He says being mindful of social distancing within stadiums will also come into play as will cleanliness. While health concerns will take priority, so will the bottom line. Athletic departments have taken a real hit during the pandemic, many have instituted pay cuts, implemented a hiring freeze, and some have laid off staff; department budgets will be impacted for the 2020 and 2021 season.
McDonalds emphasizes, “Now is the time for communication, keep those channels open. At SET we are not treating this as a break from business, now is the time we are doubling down on our uniqueness as a company. We are highlighting everything special and innovative in our arsenal. Our partners in the world of college sports know we are here to help get them through the uncertain times ahead.”
Athletic events themselves could also change, not just the way people get there. He says it’s too early to tell exactly what changes could be coming to stadiums but taking temperatures, wearing masks and gloves, creating sanitizing stations and maintaining a degree of social distancing could become the norm, and streaming live sporting events may feel safest for fans at first.
“We are already tracking the changes in the college sports industry, there will be impacts” McDonald explains. “Communication really is key here; we are actively discussing concerns and opportunities with our college sports partners at this time. All ideas are on the table.”
The safety of athletes, staff, donors, fans, and alumni are at the forefront of all current discussions about travel. SET is preparing to be proactive with all aspects of their business, this could mean stricter safety guidelines when providing vendors, helping partners come up with a checklist for all events, and being flexible with current offerings and being able to pivot off of what comes next.
“It may feel the travel industry and college sports industry are in a holding pattern,” Bruce explains, “but now is the time to prepare. Explore what those branding opportunities will look like, what are the possible travel scenarios once football gets going, talk to fans about how they will feel once the danger has passed. Being proactive will help all of us tied to college sports weather this storm.