News Column

Social Media Savvy Needed to Attract Super Bowl Customers

Nov. 20, 2012

John Brennan, The Record (Hackensack, N.J.)

Hispanic entrepreneur

North Jersey small businesses need to become well educated about social media if they are to maximize their chances of profiting from the Feb. 2, 2014, Meadowlands Super Bowl, leaders from the 2012 and 2013 Super Bowls said Monday.

Susie Townsend, a liaison to the Super Bowl Host Committee for the game that was played in Indianapolis in February, and Jeff Anding, an executive for the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, also said that it's not too early to begin planning for the big event.

Anding, whose city will host the next Super Bowl in less than three months, told a crowd of about 150 at an event sponsored by the Meadowlands Liberty Convention and Visitors Bureau -- that learning about "search engine optimization" on the Internet can pay dividends.

For instance, he said that if a potential client uses to search for transportation from New York/New Jersey airports to the Meadowlands Super Bowl, a business that finds a way to be on the first page of that search is far more likely to be contacted.

"You want your company to show up high on those lists," Anding said.

But Townsend and Anding both stressed that local businesses that use National Football League trademarks on their websites -- or even the phrase "Super Bowl" without authorization -- can expect to receive a stern "cease and desist" letter because the league so zealously protects its official corporate sponsorships. (The word "super" is permitted, however, Townsend added.)

Townsend said that Indianapolis-area hotels, restaurants, and transportation companies tended to do at least as well as they had hoped during Super Bowl week. But she said that some ticket brokers "had expectations that were too high," and that some downtown clubs sought such expensive cover charges that they did less business than they expected.

Anding said that more than 1,000 hotel rooms already are booked for the entire month before the upcoming Super Bowl in New Orleans for those working on setting up for the big game and for numerous gala events.

Both executives said that because the identity of the Super Bowl teams is determined two weeks before the game, there is an opportunity to do extra business the weekend before Super Bowl week as well. Downtown Indianapolis hotels affiliated with the NFL had four-day minimum stays, Townsend said.

During that week, Indianapolis Super Bowl visitors were able to go online to official social media sites that could offer real-time information such as which restaurants reported waits for tables of 30 minutes or less, Townsend said.

Anding said that businesses already should be in contact with local visitors bureaus to improve the chances of being recommended to the league's Super Bowl host committee.

The executives also explained that many restaurants and banquet halls could expect to receive offers to host "Super Bowl week" events by next summer -- and that owners of those sites would then have to figure out whether to lock in guaranteed business, or to hold out for potentially more lucrative offers down the road.

Anding added that it was important, however, for travel bureau experts to "manage the expectations of each business owner" about how much business can be done on Super Bowl weekend.

"They can't expect to retire off this one four-day period," Anding said.

Source: (c)2012 The Record (Hackensack, N.J.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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