As we anticipated, the establishments near campus were crowded, many having lines out the door and spilling out to the sidewalks. That was okay. We drove a little further, and headed toward the state capital, Lansing, which was fewer than five miles from Michigan State's campus.
We parked a few blocks from the Michigan Capitol Building. At the first sports bar we stopped in, we were told there were no seats available ("Aren't those empty tables there?"), but could find standing-room only at the bar. We decided to walk to find a place with available seating. Other football fans had the same idea - we met many looking for a place to watch the game. There was sign for a bar in the next block. Closed!. Then we passed two more shuttered bars.
We finally arrived at a "name-intentionally-left-blank-to-protect-the-innocent" hotel only a couple of blocks away from the Capitol. The hotel is an international brand, so imagine my surprise upon our arrival to their lobby restaurant, after the game had started:
Now this photo is a little deceiving - there were about three occupied tables in the restaurant - about eight people total. There was one server, and the bartender had not yet arrived for work.
Don't miss an opportunity to fill a need!
- Plan ahead: Keep a calendar of events and activities where you can market and sell your products and services. Remember this was an annual event.
- Think outside your typical marketing activities: There were lots of people looking for somewhere to watch the game. If a coffee shop would've had a TV, we'd have watched there. Would the expense of renting a large-screen TV been worth it to bring in extra income?
- Extend your reach: Even if the event doesn't appeal to your typical market, there may be some overlap (business travelers who enjoy sports), and you could fulfill a need that another business can't (serving an overflow crowd), possibly gaining new, loyal customers.
- Know your market: I mentioned we were in Lansing, the neighboring city to the home of Michigan State University. What did we see displayed in window of the gift shop of the hotel? Maize and blue University of Michigan shirts - no MSU paraphernalia. Maybe the hotel was marketing to out-of-town guests.