Service your stay-to-play

On the surface, a stay-to-play rooming policy may be a good thing for your soccer tournament. It is fast becomes the de facto standard for housing at soccer tournaments. But, be aware that with a stay to play policy, teams are now expecting services.

Some of the services expectations are
– Find them rooms. If you are getting money from your stay to play policy, teams now expect you to find the rooms for them. Giving them a list of hotels and phone numbers is not longer enough for a soccer tournament with a stay to play policy.
– Service complaints. If the teams have problems with hotels, they are YOUR problems, not theirs. Have a contact number and someone on staff to deal with the hotels and resolve issues.
– Cancellation issues. If your tournament cancels or the team cancels, the teams expect a full refund of their room fees and will not tolerate hotels holding cancellation fees, regardless of what was signed. Most of these transactions are credit card transactions and card companies will do chargebacks without regard for agreements. If the room was not used, the charge will most likely not stick.

Our Advice: By all means, establish a stay to play policy for your soccer tournament, but do not expect that to be passive income. Put someone in charge who has the flexible schedule to work with hotels in the daytime and teams on nights and weekends. And, have this person available during registration and on the first day of competition to deal with hotel issues.

Make sure this person also has a relationship with the hotels and that all the GMs know who you are and have all the details about the soccer tournament.

And, lastly, this position is probably too important and demanding to be a volunteer position. Consider paying your housing coordinator a flat fee or a percentage of the rooming charges.

Of course, you can always opt to use a housing agency, but be sure to pick a reputable one who has a history of great customer service. Rooming revenue is nothing if you have to get involved with disputes between the housing agency, teams and hotels with every complaint.