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WNBA Expansion Could Be Boon for Hoteliers Who Plan

Women’s basketball has become much more popular in recent years, and leadership within the Women’s National Basketball Association has taken notice. Hoteliers would be smart to pay attention to the markets they will support teams in coming years. A team in Toronto is coming soon, and perhaps others in places like Nashville and south Florida.

There is a special opportunity that hoteliers have to take advantage of a burgeoning product. Women’s basketball has been popular for decades in parts of Europe, but not so much here.

If you’re in or near a locale that might support a team in the future, you would be smart to consider how your hotel business can take advantage of the novelty that comes with a new team.

New teams and a rapidly expanding mean there are opportunities you can take advantage of that weren’t there previously. Chartered flights are a point of contention for the owners, for example, when they have been routine in the National Basketball Association for a number of years.

The WNBA fined the owner of the New York Liberty for providing charter flights because the transportation ran afoul of its collective bargaining agreement. WNBA teams have issues with travel for reasons that may be beyond the scope of this article. Offer to guarantee their transportation if and when they land in your city if they make reservations at your hotel. That’s a given for men, but not yet for women.

Traveling around the country can be complicated even for professional athletes at this level, and you may be able to frame the agreement as a move to ease the travel woes for women who will appreciate the thought. That may also help the reputation of your brand, since it’s both shrewd and savvy to be concerned with the travel of these women even amid the disagreement from the governing body that presides over their league.

As you might expect, players have children and you can bet that they’ll have a good deal of family at these games if and when they can. Here’s a simple idea that you may not be taking advantage of — offer a 10 percent discount for those who have a ticket to a game with the local team during their reservation, and you can also offer a discount for students who have good grades. That might entice a family to choose your hotel over the next one.

Where there is professional basketball, there will be travel and folks looking for lodging. Consumers have proven that they are willing to support quality’s women’s basketball, partly because of the ways social media has allowed consistent, robust marketing for stars like Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese.

Think about ways you can use their stardom, too. Can you secure a brand deal? Can you become the official hotel brand for a certain team? How wedded can you make your business with the local politicians in your city or county? They want hotel tax revenue and may see fit to feature your business to those looking online for lodging, especially if you are relatively close to the venue where these women play.

Women’s college basketball, by the way, isn’t quite as popular nationwide but a handful of programs now enjoy sustained success. Whether they will keep that success remains to be seen as stars like Reese and Clark move on to the professional ranks. If the support continues at the college level, some of these ideas could be useful for your local university.