Soccer to many, futbol to most – what a splendid few weeks we had early this summer, watching wonderful teams vie for the FIFA World Cup trophy. In Hospitality we throw around the term “brand”, but, arguably, a country has a significant meaning – traditions, history and ability to field soccer professionals. Some brands excelled (Germany, Argentine); some were highly elevated (the US); and some were dashed (host country, Brazil).
For many decades, we in the United States have been waiting for soccer to take off as a major sport. As a former player myself and coach for my two sons, I have been discouraged, waiting for that break-through. We measure sport success with audience and advertising. But, growth takes some time and dedication. As a comparison, remember that forty years there were maybe seven colleges/universities which had Hospitality programs. Now every institution seems to have one, not only four year but also the junior colleges and vocational schools. The growth has come from access to the service sector and the many opportunities which are available. Those schools have helped to develope the spirit of Hospitality.
We start with such a fine foundation of recreational soccer for our children, but then they hit their teens and have so many more sport and time options than their counterparts around the world. But, even that is changing with the latest hard look at football and head injuries, as well as the tough, dedicated efforts to move forward in basketball and baseball, for example. Maybe, Hospitality companies can help fill that developmental void and sponsor those local soccer teams and emerging talent.
I looked at those massive soccer centers in Brazil, filled with hundreds of thousands of wild fans. Hum, they all have to eat something and probably stay somewhere. Naturally, many were international travelers. Can you visualize the bridge from our industry to the sport?
Germany won with its precision of play. Argentina was very fluid with glimpses of creativity. The US had the very good fortune to survive its first bracket. Their strength was defense, but then again, your goalie should not have to make more than 25 saves in a game. The US has some work to do! We can learn from these teams and their quest for success. It reportedly took Germany over ten years to recruit its talent and develop its game plan. I think the US is on the move!
John Hendrie is the author of the LRA blog, focusing on anything and everything about customer experience. LRA Worldwide is the leading global provider of Customer Experience Measurement services for multinational companies with complex customer interactions. For over 30 years, LRA’s innovative brand standards audits, quality assurance inspections, mystery shopping programs, research, and consulting services have helped ensure our clients deliver consistent, memorable, and differentiated experiences to their customers. Many of the world's preeminent global hospitality brands, as well as companies in the gaming, dining, healthcare, sports and entertainment, real estate, retail and travel industries choose LRA to help them measure and improve the customer experience. For more information, visit www.LRAWorldwide.com.
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