COTA Boosts Guest Experience with Cars, Coffee, and CommunityPosted on September 20, 2022 by National Sports Forum | Selling It | SUBSCRIBE
By: Melody Forstie
Dear Faithful Readers,
It’s great to be back! Like a lot of folks forced to the sidelines by the pandemic, we had to suspend “Selling it…” due to a shortage of successful sports industry marketing and sales ideas. But we’re back and I’m delighted to introduce myself to you as your latest “Selling It….” Publisher. My name is Melody Forstie and I’m looking forward to bringing “Selling It…” back and sharing a couple interesting “Best Practices” stories each month from around the sports industry!
In today’s issue, we take you to the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, TX, with a story that has two of our favorite “C-words”– Cars and Coffee, and explain how COTA put them both together to create a great a new revenue stream as well as increase their fan base during a time when the track would normally be empty.
Read on to find out more and we hope you enjoy!
For any premier sport and entertainment venue, fan experience and engagement are crucial parts to developing a successful destination. Venues not only have to engage fans during the time of live sporting events, concerts, or races, but also find ways to generate revenue when these events are not present. The Circuit of The Americas (COTA), a world-class motorsports and entertainment venue in Austin Texas, hits this right on the nail. Well before the COVID-19 pandemic, COTA has hosted an event called Cars and Coffee, a community gathering for local car enthusiasts to show-off their prized vehicles and connect over a brew. In June 2022, COTA reignited the Cars and Coffee events, bringing them back for a summer series, even stronger than ever. The event is free for spectators and allows them to enjoy the showcase of Austin car enthusiasts’ eclectic array of Texas’ finest automobiles on select Sunday mornings. Attendees can also enjoy coffee, food, and racing at COTA karting. If the community chooses to, they have the option to purchase a spot in the car show pre-event or at the gates.
During the planning process to bring back Cars and Coffee events, COTA wanted to improve guest experience and reach a wider fan base. One way they improved these two objectives was by aligning the event schedule with the Formula 1 schedule, so they could incorporate Formula 1 Gran Prix “Watch Parties” and streaming the races on jumbo-screens for attendees to enjoy together.
When planning the return of Cars and Coffee events, COTA’s objective was to demonstrate their dedication to the guest experience. COTA listened to what their guests wanted during their event experience and executed on it. They surveyed fans to better understand how they could improve the event programming and elevate the guest experience. COTA’s Chief Experience Officer, Courtney Young, stated, “Our main objective with Cars and Coffee is to bring car enthusiasts together for a fun, family-friendly event and give back to our loyal fans…Since Cars and Coffee happens multiple times per year, our team works continuously to evolve our plans based on guest feedback and produce the best possible event with the fans in mind.”
By implementing the Formula 1 Watch Parties with the Summer Cars and Coffee events, they saw improvement in audience growth and were able to foster an electric high-energy atmosphere throughout the event. COTA saw promotion of the event in various ways, some by being featured on local highly-sought-after social media pages, including the @Whenwherewhataustin Instagram page, and by self-promoting on their website, press releases, and the utilization of owned social media outlets. Cars and Coffee events created other opportunities to generate revenue and cross-market future events and other products. They promoted their Cars & Cocoa event scheduled for December 18 and their T-11 Car Condos (vehicle housing and clubhouse amenities) at a designated booth. In addition, COTA’s merchandise trailer was on site and COTA’s karting store was open.
Drive Coffee, Formula 1’s official coffee provider, sponsored, or fueled, as they say in the motorsport’s world, all Cars and Coffee events. They enhance the guest experience by not only providing specialty and high-quality coffee at the events, but also by providing the best guest service. This partnership helps fuse together a great event atmosphere, by allowing race fans and car enthusiasts to watch the international F1 races together on the big screen, while enjoying the official coffee of F1.
After the new programming of the Cars and Coffees, COTA had an incredible response and turn out of attendees this season. COTA saw record high attendance at their first event back in June and continued having a stellar attendance at their events in July and August. COTA is always eager to host their loyal fans at these casual car meetups and build their community base. COTA’s Chief Experience Officer, Courtney Young, comments “COTA is a year-round destination for fans of all ages, and events like this play an important role in our annual programming calendar. We are always eager to engage and connect with our community on a deeper level and host our fans at The Circuit. Cars and Coffee helps us accomplish that and so much more.”
COTA plans to host Cars and Coffee events in 2023 on a more recurring basis after such a successful summer season. The team has already begun discussing how they can add additional programming and continue to deliver memorable experiences for their guests through these events. Stay tuned for more Cars and Coffee events coming to the COTA community.
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