With the recession pulling into it’s second (or third) year, we’re seeing a lot of teams request a late Saturday morning start so they don’t have to book rooms into a hotel for Friday night. As you can imagine, accommodating this request puts a serious strain on the scheduling as most of the time, the start times are determined by the number of fields and the number of daylight hours available. While you can sometimes squeak out another field somewhere, tacking another hour of sunlight on the end of a day is impossible.
So what to do? You don’t want to turn away a team if you don’t have to, but re-writing the laws of nature to fit an economic reality is just not going to happen. When most teams are now asking for a late Saturday start, it become mathematically impossible to grant the request.
Our advice: Publish a cut off date for late Saturday start requests. Instead of trying an Early Bird discount or other pricing scheme to get teams to apply early, have a date or volume cut off. Perhaps only the first two teams for each age group can request a late Saturday start. Once those requests are used up, there are no more. And, while you are at it, do the same for multiple-team coaches. It rewards the teams with special requests to apply early without compromising the price and value of your tournament.
Be sure to promote visibly and keep track of the number of requests. Reward the requester handsomely and make it crystal clear that the reason you are honoring (or denying) the request is because they applied and paid early (or not.) Once you start doing this, competition for special considerations next year will be fierce.