Our Preparedness for GDPR Delivers Value to Our U.S. Clients Too

You’ve seen the flood of emails regarding new privacy statements? GDPR is the cause of this, even from American companies. Did you see that some major websites have disabled access in Europe, including the LA Times, Chicago Tribune and History.com? GDPR is the cause of this too. If you’re on this side of the Atlantic, there is no reason for you to know much about GDPR because it is a new European law that is causing great upheaval on the far side of the Atlantic; but we prepared for this and our U.S. clients directly benefit from our work to comply with this new law.

GDPR (”General Data Protection Regulation”) is Europe’s very stringent response to how and where so much personal data is collected about all of us every day. For many businesses, it is painful to comply with, and some businesses will even close because of this.

The great benefit of GDPR for European citizens is true control over the exact personal information each company gathers and holds about them. The great benefit to companies complying with GDPR is that it creates additional trust between them and their customers. Companies that capture and hold personal data of European citizens now have to clearly ask and get a specific “yes” before doing so – not in small print or deceptively, but clearly and outright. This includes both active data capture (like joining a mailing list or purchasing something) and passive data capture (like your search preferences or location data).

Because Sports Systems fully supports GDPR across this 230-page law, we’re delivering value to our U.S. clients as part of our requirements to our European clients. The value includes:

  • A no-stone-unturned analysis of how we handle and protect all personal data
  • Additional cyber training to enhance handling and protection of all client data
  • Providing a “Data Protection Impact Assessment” (available when logged into our “Control” administrative back-end, under the “Help” menu)
  • Adding data deletion timing and protocol to all new contracts
  • Adding a data summary report to all event systems (available from the “Control” dashboard, the upper right button “GDPR Report”)
  • Adding a client-wide individual person lookup (available from the “Control” dashboard, the upper right button “GDPR Consumer Data Report”)

Whether responding to an event invitation or applying for event accreditation, providing personal information is based on trust that the information will be kept secure, will not be used or shared inappropriately, and will be deleted when no longer needed. Our rigorous work to comply with GDPR’s requirements enhances our security and solidifies the trust end users place in you, whether European or U.S.-based.

Hosting Hospitality Events – GDPR FAQ With Misconceptions!

The following questions/statements have been offered by others in our industry in the past 60 days.  The answers have been vetted by our London attorney, especially because some of the questions are shockers!

Is GDPR just another guideline, do we have to undertake this?

This is absolutely the law, and non-compliance carries the potential for significant financial penalties that reach 20 million Euros and go up for bigger companies to a maximum of 4% of worldwide turnover.

This seems unfair and unreasonable to my business.

Assuming you’ve been handling guest personal data with appropriate respect already, the changes required do not fundamentally change our businesses.  Think about an experiential agency or a team fan database with millions of names that must be wiped clean because the data was not collected legally, according to the new law.  Those businesses and others are seeing the hard edge of this law while hospitality event activation is not.

We’re too small to be forced to make such changes to our business.

All companies, big or small, and with events hosting one guest or 1000, have to comply; there is no small-company or small-event exemption.  Note that there is an exemption from certain record-keeping for agencies with less than 250 employees – however, this exemption is nullified if collecting certain standard event information that includes medical accessibility or dietary restrictions.

There is not enough time to do this.

The law was signed in April 2016, so although many companies may be making a last minute-rush, that isn’t because we haven’t been given an appropriate amount of time.   

 

I’m in the UK and we’re leaving the EU, so does this apply?

The UK version of GDPR will be fundamentally identical and will likely be in-place before the end of May, long before Brexit.  Additionally, GDPR is enforced within the UK by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which has the power to conduct criminal investigations and issue fines, so this absolutely applies within the UK.

This can’t possibly be rigorously enforced from 26 May.

The UK’s Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham has said her office will be more lenient on businesses and organisations if they have shown “awareness” of GDPR.  This means if decision-makers are taking steps to meet their obligations, their organisations are less likely to be fined.

My client is not asking about this, so I’m not going to worry about it.

Many companies are scrambling to comply in their primary business first, and therefore non-core data collection, including through sponsorship/event agencies, may not be a priority.  So, check your contract: Most agency contracts put the legal responsibility and the financial exposure of data privacy and protection fully on the agency. Knowing this, your client might be expecting you to take the lead and not wait for it to ask.

We are gathering data just from within my client’s company, so GDPR is not applicable.

Individual rights under GDPR supersede company rights over employees, so all elements of GDPR still apply to internal events and employee data collection.

My event is not in Europe, does GDPR apply?

If you are inviting, and therefore collecting data from and on behalf of European residents, GDPR applies. The law is written to protect EU residents anywhere and everywhere, so there is no exemption for an event outside of the EU.

We delete all guest data after an event, so no further requirement for us.

GDPR requires much more than deleting data: Guests’ personal data, which includes even names and the RSVP ‘yes’, must be collected, handled and processed according to standards set under the new law.

We do not store any guest data, so GDPR does not apply to us.

In this case, further discussion revealed that the agency was inviting guests to events via phone and email, so it was collecting personal data manually and then submitting the data to the event’s guest and credentialing system. Guest personal data was being held for a short time, insecurely on paper and Excel, after being collected through an also non-compliant process, and in addition its email archives were set to retain passport and other data insecurely for many years. Confirming what personal data is actually handled is the first step to avoiding problems down the road.

We’re fine inviting guests by manual emails and holding their data on Excel sheets.

This is still the most common way to invite and track guests attending a smaller event, but you must dig deeper to see if and how compliance can be achieved – in all but the simplest cases, that will be unlikely. GDPR is designed to be technologically neutral, so it doesn’t matter if the data is held on or processed using a lever arch file, an Excel spreadsheet, within your CRM, or an in-house database, there is more to the law that must be complied with, starting with the most-visible element, the prescribed disclosure statement to guests.

 

GDPR impacts hosting guests at events because all individual data collection must now follow a specific protocol for disclosure, data protection, record-keeping and being prepared to fulfill EU consumer rights regarding their data. Learn the just four steps to comply with the new law in our blog post: Keep Calm and Carry On – The Hospitality Event Manager’s Brief for GDPR Success

Keep Calm and Carry On – The Hospitality Event Manager’s Brief for GDPR Success

On May 25 the much-hyped General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will start being enforced across Europe. While the law has been in-place for two years, the start of enforcement aligns in our industry with a busy weekend featuring F1’s Monaco race, the Champions League Final, and the start of the French Open.

GDPR updates the laws that protect individuals’ personal data in response to massive increases in the amount of information that is gathered and processed about all of us each day. Simply put, GDPR ensures individuals’ rights and control over their personal information being held by companies. It also prescribes how companies must process, store and protect that data.

How to Comply with the New Law When Inviting Guests to an Event – Just Four Steps

When inviting guests to an event, there are just four precise steps to take to achieve GDPR compliance:

1. Guest personal data and rights disclosure

Invited guests must be told: Why you are asking for their data; on what legal basis the data is being processed*; who the data will be shared with; how the data will be protected; and for how long it will be kept. Guests must also be told about their eight rights under GDPR and whom to contact about fulfilling their rights concerning their data.

*If you heard that consent is a key element of GDPR, it doesn’t apply to events because consent must be freely given and unless it is possible to offer a way to register for the event without providing any personal data, which is not possible, consent cannot be considered freely given. So events need to rely on a different legal basis for collecting and processing guests’ personal data.

This disclosure is the easiest-to-see, public-facing statement whether you are complying with the new law or not, so this element carries overweight importance.

2. Protecting guests’ data

Guests’ data must be protected from its collection through ‘processing’ (managing guest needs and logistics ahead of and during the event) to deletion after the event.

The personal data governed by GDPR includes names, the RSVP “yes” or “no”, contact details, and when needed, travel itinerary, transfers and accommodation details, and emergency contact information. Some events collect even guests’ photos, passport details and a credit card. All falls under GDPR’s definition of personal data and must be protected, from the simple to the clearly more private and secure.

Whether you are processing the data in-house or retaining a vendor for this, the event or agency (the data ‘controller’) is ultimately responsible for guests’ data. The law calls for appropriate technical and organisational measures that build necessary safeguards in order to address risks and protect the rights of data subjects.

  • Organisational measures include data record-keeping, processing documentation, operating policies, and staff training.
  • Technical measures are connecting to ensuring the security and protection of the personal data, like ensuring that data is always encrypted during transmission, and when that data is held ensuring that it has layers of access controls and protection to prevent improper release.

3. Be prepared with paperwork and for inquiries

Be prepared to respond to clients and regulators about your operations and compliance with this new law. Many specific elements are required of data controllers, and while many of these can be supported by a strong processing partner, the requirements and responsibility ultimately reside with the controller.

Among the requirements, each event/agency and, where applicable, the event’s vendors, shall maintain a record of processing activities under its responsibility. This requirement is about controlling baseline information that can be pulled together, written once and then copied and adjusted minimally event to event going forward. If hiring a guest management technology company, this should be part of the package delivered to you as part of ordinary business. For events/agencies with fewer than 250 employees, there’s a record-keeping exemption – however, this exemption is nullified if collecting common event needs around medical accessibility or dietary restrictions, meaning the specific record-keeping requirements will usually remain in-place for our industry.

Be prepared to respond to inquiries from individuals seeking to exercise their rights from access to all data you are holding about him or her, to replying to a request to change or delete data, to stop processing their data or to not delete data as normal post-event, or even to be able to export the data in a machine-readable form. Few individuals are likely to exercise these rights based on the clients, events, and specific data collected, but being prepared is a step for clients and regulators judging your compliance.

4. Deleting guests’ data post-event

By default, all guest personal data must be deleted promptly after the event. It is permissible to retain select data for audit, transaction or other legitimate purpose, but this must have been spelled out in the initial guest-facing disclosure. Other data, not need for such specific purpose, must be promptly deleted.

As a side note, data deletion is a strict and serious requirement, so to the extent any data was emailed, and therefore already not securely handled, compliance problems are compounded by adding the technical and organisational difficulties of deleting email archives.

Our Disclosure

This document is not intended to be comprehensive, it is offered as general information only, to be verified by your legal counsel, especially in light of your specific situation, contracts, policies and other unique factors. And if hiring us, whilst Sports Systems has sound experience delivering GDPR compliant systems, we do not guarantee full GDPR compliance of all data controller requirements and each client should conduct its own review of all requirements and seek its own legal guidance where necessary.

Further Resources

The ICO have a lot of good practical advice on their website, including useful checklists and myth-busting practical guidance for different types of organisations.

Sports Systems is a resource to you. Some of the technical requirements of GDPR are difficult to implement but we can be your technical team – we’ve got it done and have been delivering GDPR-compliant systems for several months, ahead of the implementation deadline. While there are other guest management companies, Sports Systems alone serves the specific, and unique needs of VIP hosting at major sports events through our GuestFirst service.

What’s a Data Controller versus a Data Processor?

GDPR distinguishes two types of companies that handle the personal data of individuals:

1) A controller is an entity that alone or with others decides the purpose and manner that personal data will be used. Note that most data privacy, protection and individual rights fulfilment operating responsibility, legal burden and financial exposure is carried by the data controller.

2) A processor works with the data on behalf of the controller. Processing is obtaining, holding or adapting personal data. An advanced processor will deliver beyond its own compliance, providing documentation and support for the controller’s compliance.

Crack On, Don’t Panic

To conclude: Healthy GDPR compliance is not about avoiding fines, nor just ticking legal boxes. Nor is it about approaching this from a perspective of fear and dread: comply or die. GDPR compliance is about doing the right thing and for event hospitality programmes, with the right partner, compliance is achievable without unreasonable burden.

Have more questions about the GDPR implementation? Find some answers here: Hosting Hospitality Events – GDPR FAQ With Misconceptions!

The benefits and challenges of hiring interns for sponsorship event management

Have you considered hiring interns? Do you already have an internship program in place? Either way, if the answer is yes, you will surely encounter some challenges among the obvious and less obvious benefits. While every internship situation is unique to the organization, the intern, and the task, many of the challenges and benefits are similar.

What are some of the challenges of hiring interns for your sponsorship event management services?

Need for training

Even though you won’t spend the amount of money you’d spend on a full-time or even a part-time employee, the amount of time you’ll spend training interns is often the same, if not more, because you are not hiring someone with experience. Interns are usually young, still studying, or fresh out of school. Many of them haven’t developed workplace interpersonal skills. All of those challenges need to be addressed with thoughtful training. While it would be great if you could provide in depth full-circle training for your interns, this is usually not possible. Focus on training interns for the tasks they will be performing the most. Decide if that’s sports marketing, or event management, or perhaps communication with sponsorship partners. That will help them to start developing an expertise too.

Quick turnaround

The average cycle for an intern is 2-6 months. This is a significant challenge, because the goal is to harvest the effort you put into training and just when interns are settling in, poof, they’re gone! We know this can be a bit overwhelming, but please don’t neglect investing time and effort in new interns, because the more you do it the better you’ll become at it over time.

Handling sensitive information

To be able to delegate some tasks, you’ll often need to hand over a lot of information. Sometimes that information is sensitive or confidential. While we can’t tell you the magic formula for how trusting you need to be and your internal compliance and legal counsel can best direct you on how to remain within the law, it’s safe to assume you need to have an NDA in place for each of your interns. While there are some horror stories about interns unprofessional behavior and information misuse, don’t be discouraged. Have confidence in your good judgment, decide the proper risk level, and honor your interns with trust and respect, and that will usually be reciprocated.

Keep the motivation on a high level

We know that interns are not in it for the money. But they are in it for different stuff – learning new skills, building their portfolio or CV, learning about corporate culture or agency life, and networking. Give them opportunities for all of these things. Learn about their interests and passions and try to align their strengths with the work you assign them. Treat them like real team members, and they will act like real team members.

Confusion with the role description

We can imagine your organization is often overwhelmed with managing workload, and not enough manpower to do it. So you hire an intern and you might think she’s an all-round player that can help you with many different things. Sometimes, that might be true, but most of the times, it’s not a good equation. Define the intern’s role yourself first. Decide where they would be needed the most and stick to that. That way both your attention and efforts as well as the intern’s will be focused.

The benefits of internship are numerous as long as you know what you want to accomplish, you have an idea of the tasks interns would be useful for, and you have some time to invest in their training. If that’s the case, assigning an intern to help you with your event planning and sponsorship management can have several benefits. Here’s what you need to know to create internship relationships that are set up for for success.

Give them clarity about their role and what’s in it for them

The biggest mistake you can make is to overpromise and underdeliver. For example, your intern might think they are going to get hands-on event planning experience, and they end up printing out meeting agendas and getting coffees. Nobody expects you to give sensitive tasks that take years to develop over to interns, but you need to make sure you value your intern’s time, their potential and talents, and give them clear directives.

Motivate interns by making them feel like they are truly a part of the team

They might even become that eventually if the opportunity presents itself, or there’s space for a new hire in your organization. It’s almost always better to hire someone you already know and whom you’ve already trained. So, you never know what kind of a diamond in the rough you might find.

Use their creativity and fresh eyes

Include interns in meetings and brainstorming sessions, especially if you need to generate a lot of ideas for a project aimed at their age group. Interns tend to be younger so they might be more in sync with new trends, especially if they are social media related, so why not harvest those insights and ideas. At the same time, they will gain experience from participating in meetings, and they will also learn how to better approach the tasks in your organization by actively communicating with the team.

Train them to use the tools

One thing young people are usually good at is new technologies. Most businesses use numerous tools and automation in their processes. Whether it’s email automation, guest management, or statistics tools, they can execute a lot of process using them while learning about the business at the same time. By assigning an intern to work with tools such as EventHub, you will save time while allowing your interns to become immersed in your business and get hands-on sponsorship event experience.

Let them make a first stab at things

Whether it is a presentation you’re doing, a research project or even a client proposal, interns can be helpful getting started with your guidelines, and gain valuable experience doing actual work.

Hands-on at the event

When the event finally arrives, there are several tasks to be done on-site, both before, during and after the event. You can include your interns in almost all aspects. Interns will experience the high that comes from being an important part of on-site event operations.

Hiring interns should be mutually beneficial – the intern learns new things, develops new relationships and builds his résumé, while the organization saves money and taps into fresh, young ideas.

New Sports Systems Logo Reflects Our Mission To Simplify Complexity

The next time you receive an email from us, see a post on our social media pages, or browse the internet for our name, you will begin to notice a slight, but significant change for Sports Systems: our new, modernized and simplified logo.

With a goal of striving to simplify complexity of sponsorship and sports events management for our clients, we’ve worked hard to live that philosophy for more than three decades. We are constantly driven to think outside the box, be the early adopters of the latest and most efficient technologies, and move the industry forward. We were so busy simplifying things for others that we didn’t think to reflect our passion in our appearance.

It’s not too late. In fact, the timing is just perfect!

This will be one of several new positive changes that you will witness in the days to come.

The logo transformation is subtle, but significant. We kept our recognizable shade of blue and the legacy of the old logo, but added a simplifying touch that will unmistakably imprint our brand in people’s minds. We want to remain recognizable, and, at the same time, emanate the maturity, authority and the stability that Sports Systems has established over the past few decades.

Our new logo is modern and vibrant, with a minimalistic touch that shows our ability to follow trends and change with time– the best of both worlds: tradition and experience combined with cutting edge technology and youthful energy.

How Successful was your sponsorship event email invitation?

In our previous blog post, Best Practices For Sponsorship Event Invitation Emails, we discussed best practices for successful email invitations when organizing a sponsorship event. But sending the email invite, even if it’s perfectly optimized, is just not enough. It’s equally important to read the metrics, learn from them, and improve. Choosing the right subject line, experimenting with formats and CTAs can often drastically affect your conversion rate and attendance, but how will you know what works? The answer is simple: metrics.

Today’s digital tools offer vast amounts of data, but that data is meaningless if you don’t no how to read it. We will use our EventHub tool to give you an example of how simplified yet relevant data can work for you. Our Invitation Success Metrics will help you understand the challenges and successes of your campaigns, and ultimately calculate the ROI of your sponsorship event planning efforts.

In the Invitation Success Metrics funnel, each color represents invitations that were not accepted for a particular reason. The best case would be to have each color band to appear as extremely thin which means that the same, or nearly the same, number entering that milestone passed through to the next level. Let’s take a look at how this works:

Yellow indicates how many bad email addresses there were in the batch that was sent. The larger the list, the more likely it is that you will have some emails bounce or remain undelivered. There are several reasons for this. It could be because the person is not using the address anymore, is not at the company anymore, or their address is invalid. Sometimes, there is a typo in the address, so you should double check your lists. On rare occasions, errors could be caused by a policy block by the recipient’s email system.

Orange represents invitations that went unopened. Success here is a high ‘Invitation Open Rate‘. There are a few reasons that emails are not opened. People often ignore emails that are not of high importance to them, people often won’t open an email from unknown senders, or the email has landed in some other folder. While you can’t directly affect the behavior of people, you can use best practices to decrease your unopened rates: send from a trusted sender/source, and compose a compelling subject line that will motivate or incentivize people to react and open the email.

Blue represents invitations that did not follow the call-to-action and did not click through to the event website. Success here is a high ‘Click-through Rate‘. These sports event invitations were opened, but were not successful in influencing the recipient to follow the call to action and click through to the event website. Getting people to open your email is only half the job. Your main goal is to make recipients click your CTA, visit the desired landing page, and interact further – in this case RSVPing. If you want your CTA to be successful and improve your sponsorship event planning efforts, make your CTA prominent, clear and actionable.

Purple represents people that clicked through to the event website, but then did not register or they declined. Success here is a high ‘RSVP Rate‘.

Red represents the invitations that were declined.

Green represents the acceptances, so success here is a high ‘Acceptance Rate‘.

Some recipients who click through to the event will return and RSVP on another day, others will simply not return. The more you show the value of attending the event, the greater your chances of a positive RSVP. Tell them what the event is all about in the first sentence, and don’t forget to highlight the time and place. Remember, the most important things should be stated first and accentuated with headlines and larger fonts.

You increase your sports sponsorship event ROI by having more top priority invitees attending. EventHub will simplify the complexity for you by providing easy to comprehend metrics and offering best practices and ideas to reduce fallout and increase your critical final acceptance rate.

Best Practices For Sponsorship Event Invitation Emails

You spend a considerable amount of time and effort ensuring that your VIP and Sponsor guests have an amazing experience at your event. However, their experience, and the bigger issue of whether they will even choose to attend, starts long before they step foot on-site at an event. Your invitation email presents the first opportunity to create interest in your sponsorship event and ensure better attendance.

Content – the elements every good email should have

The invitation is the first positive impression recipients will have of your sponsorship event. Its purpose is not to simply generate a yes or no response, it has to entice the recipients to click through to the event website and convert them from invitees to guests.

While invitations offer wide latitude for creativity, there are certain best practices that you’ll want to make sure that every one of your emails follows:

  • Subject – The subject is the first thing recipients see and it is what triggers them to open the email or not. It’s important to connect with your recipients through personalization. Consider using a mail-merge to include the recipient’s name or company in the subject.
  • Preview – Most email programs offer a preview showing the first several lines of the email’s text. This is the recipient’s second opportunity to decide to open or delete. Make sure to re-check the preview to avoid damaging or embarrassing truncations.
  • Source – The invitation has a significantly better chance of being received and opened when it comes from a known email address. GuestFirst always sends emails from a client email address, but it’s even better to send from a source that’s particularly familiar to the recipient, such as their contact person with your company.
  • Layout – Spend the time to create a well organized layout that is consistent with your brand style and colors. Since more and more recipients will be opening your email on a mobile device, make sure that your layout is appealing on all mobile mail reader programs. Sports Systems tests all invitation emails to ensure appearance and compatibility across 30 mail programs.
  • Relevancy – Know your audience and talk about what they care about. Personalize your email greeting by using the recipient’s name, and personalize further in the body of the email.
  • Urgency – It is critical that recipients understand the urgency of your invitation so that they don’t procrastinate in responding. Use exclusivity and scarcity as your helpers.
  • Engaging – Draw the reader in, and show them the value of what you are offering. Use a more conversational tone to avoid sounding like you are lecturing to the recipient.
  • Length – Less is usually better. Write clearly and in a way that’s easy to read. Assume your reader is impatient and has a short attention span. Keep your message short and get to your call to action as quickly as possible.
  • Call to Action – Make your call to action strong, visible and easy to engage with. Ensure sufficient space for a finger click from mobile devices, and that the button/link goes directly to the event website without asking for the user’s email address or an event code.

Avoiding spam filters- Your recipients can’t engage if they never see your invitation

Modern spam filters work by ‘reading’ each email and categorizing it based on likely spam elements – follow these best practices to increase the likelihood of your email reaching its audience:

  1. Do not use full-word capitalization anywhere, especially in subject lines.
  2. Ensure the email is coming from a legitimate email address.
  3. Do not use spammy or salesy words in your subject. Avoid overblown phrases such as,: “Once in a lifetime opportunity!”, and words that make your email look more like a sweepstakes than an invitation, including: Congratulations, Deal, Free, Offer, Opportunity, Outstanding, Promo, Promotion, Win, Winner and Reward.
  4. Do not use multiple exclamation points!!!!!!!!!
  5. Avoid using large images with text overlaid on it.
  6. Have just one call to action – spam often has multiple links for recipients to click on.

Segmentation – make sure to target the right audience and speak directly to it

Segment your invitees and use different invitation texts for different groups, (for example repeat attendees as opposed to first-time invitees). When drafting emails, think about how you are talking to one person, not a large group made up of all of your recipients. For example, you should say: “Dave, we are excited to invite you…” not “we want to invite all of you…”

Campaign – timeline is the key

Your sponsorship event invitation is a marketing campaign, subtly guiding the recipient toward the specific call to action. It has three phases:

  • Early: Drive awareness
  • Mid: Drive excitement
  • Late: Drive urgency

No single email is an island independent of all others. Therefore, each email should be written for the particular phase that you are in, and keeping in mind what you have already told your recipients. For example, if you are in the middle of your campaign, you would know that you’ve already put your event on your recipient’s radar. Now, you want to build their excitement so you would offer new content, speakers, event agendas, etc.

Frequency – When and how much?

You should determine frequency by the amount of advance notice afforded before the event registration deadline. In terms of how often to send invites and reminders, apply the Goldilocks rule, not too much or too little—just right.

  • The general best practice has the invitation sent 12 weeks before the event (some events, like the Olympics, invite as far as a year ahead), but invitation timing will vary depending on factors such as: total time commitment, seniority of invitees, and likelihood of conflicts.
  • Send a chaser/reminder 3-4 weeks before the registration deadline
  • Send a final reminder less than a week before.
  • Ensure that reminders are not sent to invitees who have already responded.

Scheduling

Schedule your sponsorship event invitation emails for mid-mornings –when a greater percentage of emails are opened upon receipt. Avoid sending anything important the afternoon before a holiday weekend, or on Friday afternoons. If you send an email when the recipient is busy, the chances increase that the email will be glanced at and the reader will decide to look at it further later, which may never happen.

If you follow these best practices, you will significantly increase the likelihood that your invitation emails will be read, and that you will convert more of your audience from invitees to guests. Take a look at how Sports Systems’ can ensure you are following best practices through our simplified software platform.

Bells and Whistles Don’t Make a Better Event App: Apple Shuts Down White Label Event Apps

Apple has now blocked white label apps from the app store. This includes thousands of apps, including most event apps in the approval queue. This might mean that the white label app your provider has promised and for which you have a critical impending live date will never launch. Apple has just “Appageddoned” your event.

Many event app providers white label their app and hype the fact that you will be getting your own app. There seems to be some perceived prestige that comes with “your own app”. Sports Systems has always taken a container approach to our development: We built our state-of-the-art mobile app software to still provide each customer with event-specific content and branding but through a single, central system. The result is a more stable and effective product that seamlessly includes all available updates. Our approach is simplification even at the expense of some perceived prestige. We can’t say that we predicted this move, but we can say that our focus on stability and simplicity provides added bonuses to customers when industry leaders like Apple take steps to reduce what they consider to be “app clutter”.

Instead of spending an inordinate amount of time and money to develop and maintain a mobile app specifically for your event, reach out to see how we can give you a simplified, customized experience with software that stays ahead of the industry.

Sports Systems Adds Industry Vet Karen Shimp

Karen Shimp is bringing her 21 years of sports industry experience to Sports Systems in a new role as the company’s first Chief Customer Officer. Her responsibility will be to further a persistent customer-first mentality across all services and operations. With a deeply rooted understanding of corporate sponsorship and events, Karen brings to Sports Systems important insights about our customers’ challenges and objectives.

Shimp was one of the founder members of Velocity Sports & Entertainment in 1999 and rose to become a VP and Group Director specializing in B2B Event & Hospitality Program Management while the company grew to become Team Epic and now MKTG. Her role was offering strategic event consulting and overseeing event activation for marquee clients including IBM, Avis, FedEx, Charles Schwab and others.

Shimp will report to CEO Jim Daigle and will work from Charlotte, North Carolina in America.

“We have worked with Karen and her team for many years and are excited to be adding her experience to directly benefit our services and clients,” Daigle commented.

“I’ve been impressed with Sports Systems’ technologies to simplify common challenges seen by sports marketing agencies and event managers, and it will be an exciting new opportunity to help focus and further grow the company,” said Shimp.

From the Big Apple to the Big Easy

Sports Systems Paints New Orleans Red!

From November 13th to 16th, Sports Systems’ team members converged on New Orleans, Louisiana for three days of strategy, planning and lively team-building fun.

For those of you who know Jim Daigle, CEO of Sports Systems, you know he knows a thing or two about food. What better place to indulge his knowledge than NOLA? We Sports Systems team members delighted as always at Jim’s culinary choices for New Orleanns…Shaya, who’s chef, Alon Shaya, is a James Beard Award winner, Antoine’s, with its 176 years of quintessential French-creole fine dining and birthplace of oysters Rockefeller and Brennan’s, another New Orleans landmark since 1946, should be on everyone’s hit list for dining while in New Orleans.

Did I mention our very own marching band parade from The Old No. 77 Hotel to Antoine’s complete with police escort to stop traffic as Sports Systems crossed the streets?!

A big surprise that Jim kept fully under his hat until it was happening was an unforgettable experience that will be nearly impossible to top. The marching parade brought smiles as big as they get as we were joined by countless “second liners,” quadrupling the size of our fanfare. Unbelievable! Other consummately New Orleans activities included a steamboat river cruise on the mighty Mississippi, a tour of Mardi Gras World where the parade floats are hand-crafted and assembled and of course – live music! Sports Systems highly recommends the Brassaholics who bring “a heavy dose of go-go funk to the New Orleans brass sound.” Label it what you want; all we know is that they are tons of fun! And of course, for some good ‘ol old-time jazz, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band is a must.

Ok, so did we get any work done? We sure did! As Bruce Eckfeldt, business consultant, coach, author, and speaker on organizational development and performance management, who ran the strategy meetings for Sports Systems put it, “It was great to see everyone come together and find alignment around the core priorities for the coming year and literally dozens of ideas for how to improve the business.” For a small team, we’ve got a powerhouse of critically-thinking, strategically-minded staff who will undoubtedly take Sports Systems to the next level over the coming months and years. A big NOLA sazerac cheers to that!