By David M. Brudney, ISHC, August 2000
Last week I had my first chance to take in a baseball game at San Francisco’s new Pac Bell Park. What a terrific experience. As big a baseball fan as I am, the game itself was almost secondary.
Like many of its generation, Pac Bell is just the latest of clean, energizing, fan-friendly baseball venues that began to roll out in the mid-‘90s in Baltimore, Cleveland, Denver and Phoenix.
The biggest surprise for me was the stark contrasts with Pac Bell’s predecessor, the miserably cold, windy and raucous Candlestick, a.k.a. 3-Com Park.
“the look on the people’s faces”
The biggest difference between San Francisco’s old and new ball parks is the look on the people’s faces. Candlestick had sour-faced fans. Pac Bell has happy-faced fans. An amazing attitudinal change.
There was no reason to go to Candlestick Point unless you were taking in a Giants baseball or 49ers football game. The location and weather were horrible, rest rooms were too small and too few and the few true baseball enthusiasts who showed up were all too-often subjected to a bad team on the field and a horde of foul-mouthed, beer-guzzling rowdies throughout the stands.
Pac Bell has changed all of that. The location is downtown. The surrounding area is a haven for trendy restaurants, delis and pubs. Inside, the wind is not a factor. Seats are closer to the field. Fans can choose from a wide range of food outlets, large, well-situated rest rooms and, best of all, there’s lots of room to walk around the park and stop - - even stand - - to watch the game from a different direction or just gaze out on the spectacular view of San Francisco Bay. There’s even a miniature field for kids to play ball and be video taped.
“feel better about who they are, what they’re doing and where they are”
Most strikingly, however, are the smiles on everyone’s face, especially the park employees. The fans are dressed better, laugh more and spend more. I think everyone - - fans, staff and players - - all feel better about who they are, what they’re doing and where they are. I know for sure that I did.
I couldn’t help but ponder what lessons many of my limited service hotel
franchisee clients could learn from my Pac Bell experience. Here
are just a few that came to me:
What can we learn from these new generation ball parks? Surely, we can’t all build privately financed $330 million Pac Bells and we can’t all be located in a city as popular as San Francisco. But we would all do well - - limited and full-service - - by applying some of the same fundamental elements: giving the customers more of what they want and delivering the right kind of experience.
Have guests stopped coming to your ball park? Maybe it’s time to ask have you created the right environment for your guests to enjoy their experience so much so that they can’t wait to come back - - and tell others what they’re missing?
Is your property more like a Candlestick Park or a Pac Bell? Take your pick. Just remember, today’s hotel guests are pretty picky, too!
This article is appearing in August/September 2000 issue of Lodging Real Estate
David M. Brudney, ISHC, Principal
David Brudney & Associates
Carlsbad, CA 92009
760-476-0830 Fax 760-476-0860
Web Site: www.DavidBrudney.com