Business Lessons From an MLB Fantasy Camp

Me (right) pictured with my dad (next to me) and other team members at Rockies Fantasy Camp in Arizona. In case you’re wondering, I’m already training for next year!
Me (right) pictured with my dad (next to me) and other team members at Rockies Fantasy Camp in Arizona. In case you’re wondering, I’m already training for next year!

In my other life I’m a baseball fan. And not just any old baseball fan but a passionate, die-hard supporter of the Colorado Rockies.
    My family has had season tickets since the Rockies’ inaugural year in 1993, and I’ve grown up supporting this team. I have an entire room dedicated to Rockies memorabilia (407 pieces & counting!), and throughout the years, I have attended, conservatively, 1,000 games.
    Despite the fact I practically bleed purple and black, there’s one fan activity I had yet to experience: Rockies Fantasy Camp. Basically it’s a five-day excursion to the team’s spring training facilities in Scottsdale, Ariz., where you’re treated like a professional athlete the entire time. They give you authentic Rockies uniforms plus other swag, and you play baseball on teams coached by current and former Rockies players.
    I’d known about camp for years, but despite my Super Fan status had always been hesitant to take the plunge. The total cost – and this is the early bird price – was a whopping $4,495. I don’t care who you are or how much you like a team. That’s a number that makes you go Hmmmm.
    But, as luck would have it, 2015 was full of signs that finally convinced me to commit. Most notable was the unexpected death of my grandfather after a sudden illness. Seeing this formerly vibrant, healthy man (a business owner into his 80s!) deteriorate in a matter of months slapped me in the face with the reality that no one is guaranteed tomorrow. If I wanted to attend camp the time was now.
    So, in January 2016, my dad (aka Rockies buddy extraordinaire) and I went. And while it turned out to be one of the coolest experiences of my life, it also had the unexpected benefit of presenting three business lessons that can be applied to bridal:

1. Little things matter. The cost of Fantasy Camp included airfare, hotel, food, uniforms and daily gifts. But it was the numerous little touches that really helped drive home the message that the Rockies cared about us and wanted to ensure we had a first-class experience: complimentary bubble gum and sunflower seeds provided before games; a full-service (free!) postage station we could utilize any time; a bucket full of ice-cold beverages waiting in our hotel rooms after a long, hot day on the field – the list goes on.
    Application to bridal: Seemingly “little” things, like mini gift bags containing lip gloss and lotion or refreshments in the lobby, contribute to the bride having a wonderful experience. In fact, they’re often what customers remember most.

2. You can network anywhere. I didn’t go to Fantasy Camp intending to work, but in the end it was inevitable. The other 103 campers came from a variety of fascinating backgrounds; by the end, many of us had exchanged business cards, vowing to help each other out.
    Application to bridal: Your business radar should always be on, no matter where you are. You never know, via an innocent conversation at a social event, when you might encounter your next employee or bride.

3. Keep in touch. Fantasy Camp isn’t just a five-day excursion to Arizona. There’s also a Clubhouse and batting practice event at Coors Field several months prior and a follow-up reunion game in the fall. These extra events are awesome no doubt but also serve another useful purpose: to ensure campers keep Fantasy Camp front of mind year-round.
    Application to bridal: Your interaction with brides shouldn’t end after the sale. Keep inviting them to special events, sending anniversary gifts, chatting on social media.  After all, it’s much harder to walk away from a business when you feel like part of a family.

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