I used to play baseball in college. That shared rush we felt as a team as we charged the field at the beginning of a game is a feeling I’ll never forget.
But what’s really stuck with me over the years is all the hard work our head and assistant coaches did to mold us as a team and as individuals during practice, games and even in life. Unlike a lot of players, though, I got to see how hard our coaches worked not just on the field, but off the field as well.
Coaching means making miracles happen with limited resources
At times, baseball can no doubt be glamorous and incredibly rewarding, for both players and coaches. But behind the scenes, it’s a whole different story.
What spectators don’t see is all the planning that goes into scheduling games and tournaments, arranging all the logistics that go into traveling to away games, and making sure that all of this is done within what oftentimes is a very small budget and a short time frame. One problem is that finding hotels that work for team travel can get incredibly time-consuming really fast.
When my assistant coach asked me to help book our team travel, I remember how overloaded he and our head coach were. They were juggling multiple responsibilities when it came to making sure that we as players were getting the face time we needed to improve our techniques and abilities. They also handled any personal issues we were dealing with as college students. The longer it took for our coaches to book hotels and make proper travel arrangements meant less quality time with the players.
Traveling sports teams have specific needs
As I looked at all the away games and tournaments we would be traveling to — sometimes as many as 15 to 20 different locations in a season — I had to research at least 10 hotels per city. Using an Excel spreadsheet, I listed area hotels according to:
● Group rate
● Distance to the fields or stadiums in which we would be playing
● Whether or not breakfast was included in our stay
● Shuttle service offerings to and from the hotel
● Laundry service
● Room type
It was a tedious process that took many hours and left a lot of room for error, as I had to keep updating it manually with the most recent information.
Besides searching online and visiting each hotel website, I haven’t even mentioned the many phone calls I made and emails I had to send to get the most accurate information and to negotiate rates. It was a long and brutal process each time.
Hotel sourcing technology gives coaches results they care about
I’d love to say that after my college baseball days, I was recruited by the majors and am close to retiring after a fulfilling and lucrative MLB career. But instead, I have taken my college baseball experience and use it at Groups360, a Nashville-based technology company that specializes in group event sourcing and planning.
Our technology, GroupSync, is specifically designed with coaches and tournament planners in mind. GroupSync is free to use — and it’s a one-stop-shop that event planners can use to find hotels with the best value and closest proximity to the baseball fields and stadiums where teams will be playing, anywhere in the United States.
Unlike other venue sourcing marketplaces, GroupSync search results are not based on ads or paid placement. They’re based on what will be the best fit for your team.
GroupSync’s robust search filters provide unbiased information that coaches care about. Things like free breakfast, laundry facilities, and group transportation to and from venues. Room types, of course, are also viewable (e.g., double queen or king rooms) within GroupSync, since players and team administrators often share rooms due to cost concerns. You can also search for information like the number of direct flights available to your destination city. And all of this information is continuously updated within the online platform with the most up-to-date market rates. The GroupSync technology is truly unmatched.
So, no more keeping track of Excel sheets or searching through old email correspondence to find the rates you inquired about months ago. Coaches will save time spent googling and emailing hotels —and can use it instead to develop great teams and players.
ABCA uses GroupSync to ensure best use of resources
The American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) has partnered with Groups360 from 2015 to 2020 to plan its annual conventions (@visitmusiccity #ACBA2020).
ABCA wanted to find a location within a five-hour drive for most attendees, which happened to be Washington, D.C. In the past, ABCA wanted to host its annual conference there, but another vendor told them that the rates in D.C. were too high for what the organization wanted. However, using the GroupSync tool and our experience in contract negotiations, we were able to book accommodations and conference space for the rates ABCA wanted.
If you’re an event organizer like ABCA, or you’re organizing a tournament or a series of away games, you can use GroupSync to do a quick search in the time it takes to do your team’s room checks or less.
Though I miss my college baseball days, it feels good to know I’m still close to the action, working with coaches and tournament organizers to help make team travel easier and faster.
If you’re interested in a GroupSync demo, or you’d like more information on how you can use it to more efficiently, feel free to call me or send me an email. See you in Nashville this week for another amazing ABCA Convention! You can also request a demo here and we’ll be in touch.