VIP. Now, if you think that means Very Important Person, you’re right. But in the race world, VIP might also stand for Vastly Increased Profits.
Creating a VIP experience is a great way to drive more revenue for your race registration while adding a whole lot of value for your athletes.
How do you create a truly VIP experience for those folks who are willing to pay the premium?
You provide the VIP Essentials.
1) VIP Parking
As an athlete, what is worse than having to park light years away from the event and then having to hoof it back to the car post-race?
Create a dedicated parking lot for your VIPs right at the finish line (and shuttle them to the starting line) so they can get those sore tootsies back to the comfort of their cars pronto.
2) VIP Swag
If your athletes are dishing out extra cash for a VIP experience, you best believe that they will want some VIP-level swag. Create custom merch specifically for your VIP crowd so they can show off that elite status. Things like customized bibs, race shirts, and hats offer your VIPs the opportunity to rock that status.
3) VIP Tent
Make your VIP tent the place to relax and mingle in comfort and style post-race. If you do gear check, make the check and pickup happen here.
We know that you know how important food is, but it bears repeating. Be sure you have plenty of good food (and maybe some adult beverages, depending on your crowd) ready for your VIPs. If your regular athlete loves to eat, you bet your VIPs will expect some VIP-worthy nibbles.
4) VIP Party
Who doesn’t love a good party? Even more so, who doesn’t love a party that not everyone and her mom is invited to? Part of the appeal of a VIP experience is exclusivity. Throwing a VIP-only event outside of race day is an excellent way to get people excited about your race.
What kind of event? Think VIP dinner the night before the race. Wine tasting. Champagne brunch. Involve food, alcohol if appropriate, and tailor it precisely to your VIP audience.
5) Private Bathrooms
I don’t have to tell you that race bathrooms can be... horrendous.
Having private bathrooms for VIPs is a HUGE draw. Less foot traffic = cleaner bathrooms with less wait time. Bathrooms are so incredibly important that this alone can justify the cost of the VIP upgrade for a lot of folks. (Really, have you seen the porta potty situation at your average race?!).
6) Free (And Easy) Gear Check
Between filling out forms for race registration, checking in at bib assignment and making sure all those pre-race rituals happen, the last thing athletes want to worry about is where to store their gear.
Do your VIPs a solid and give them one less thing to worry about with a quick, easy and (of course) free gear check. Because you are on top of your VIP game and already have a VIP tent set up, this is the perfect place to take care of VIP gear check.
7) VIP Customer Service
Whether they can’t figure out your online race registration, haven’t gotten their swag bag, need a t-shirt exchange, a band-aid, or totally forgot their running shoes on race day, you can pretty much GUARANTEE that your athletes are going to need help with SOMETHING. This holds true for VIPs, too.
Having dedicated VIP customer service adds HUGE value and will make sure that your VIPs are well and truly taken care of. You know, like actual VIPs.
8) First Dibs at Future Events
Since you’ve taken all these tips and created a killer VIP experience, you can bet your bottom dollar that your VIP athletes are going to want to come back. Giving them first dibs on registration for future events is a win-win: they’re happy because they get to be the first to sign up (bonus points if you give them a discount code), and you are happy because you’re getting serious ROI from your VIP adventure by getting repeat customers.
If you implement these 8 strategies into your VIP experience, you can guarantee that those Very Important People will equal Vastly Increased Profits for your event.