Venue is All About Location, Location, Location – MOD018

Build your location development strategy using the scout, planner, and course designer roles to help you decide which locations can support a race.

Show Notes

Welcome to the Merchants of Dirt Podcast Episode #18, hosted by founder Kyle M. Bondo. This is your insider’s guide to practical recreational engineering where I teach you the art and science of building, promoting, and directing off-road races. In this episode, I help you explore the beginnings of your location development strategy and the 7 venue areas that reduce customer confusion, control customer flow, and show your customers how organized you really are.

In This Episode
  • 0:01

    The Beginnings of Your Location Development Strategy

  • 0:01

    Ricks Roasters Coffee Company Fire

  • 0:01

    7 Venue Areas

  • 0:01

    And Now You Know

  • 0:01

    Coming Up Next

  • 0:01

    Call to Action

The Beginnings of Your Location Development Strategy

Without successful locations, McDonald’s may have never become the popular franchise that it is today. The same is true with the development of a sports venue. A prime location for your event needs to be:

  • Accessible to your customers
  • Useful to your off-road discipline
  • Far enough away to be considered country, but close enough to the city

This is why location development is one of the most important processes in event management.

Deciding on your location evaluation process

The next phase of your location development strategy is understanding what roles you need to fill before evaluating a location.

Ideally, you need to have defined roles for:

  • How you will scout a location?
  • How you will plan a location layout?
  • How you will set your course design?

These can be filled by three individuals within your organization, or have all these roles achieved by one person.

Regardless of your process, the importance of these specific roles are as follows:

How you will scout a location?
This is the location scout role and is responsible for discovering potential locations for events.

How you will plan a venue layout?
This is the venue planner role is responsible for locating a venue specific areas that can serve as the central location for registration, timing, start/finish, and spectator viewing.

How you will set your course design?
This is the course designer role is responsible for locating venue specific areas that can serve as the primary race course, what areas can and cannot be accessed during the event, and identifying risky and/or dangerous property features.

Documenting your research for future use
The final phase of your location development strategy should be documentation. Each role provides you with a specific product that will become critical to event management process.

Ricks Roasters Coffee Company Fire

Todays “Coffee’s for Closers” is a special request to give a local business some support. Ricks Roasters Coffee Company in Fredericksburg, Virginia, had a fire last month. Nobody was hurt, but it did some damage to their building and shut down operations for a few days. If you don’t know who Ricks Roasters is, Ricks Roasters Coffee Company is a fellow Veteran-owned coffee roaster located in Stafford, Virginia, just North of Fredericksburg. You can visit them at to choose dozens of hand-selected blends of some of the best coffee there is. My favorite blend is their Four Horsemen coffee. Sean and Keely Ricks have really created something special with this company. So please support my local favorite Ricks Roasters Coffee Company by visiting their website: Please visit them online and help them get their little company back on its feet. Tell them Kyle from the Merchants of Dirt Podcast sent you!

7 Venue Areas
  • #1 – Parking: Parking is an important element of your venue selection. If you don’t have good parking, or parking is far away, it could be an issue with your customers.
  • #2 – Registration: Registration is the first place your customers will need to visit before they can race.
  • #3 – Starting Line: When racers start, they will need to be staged in a cluster around the start line, so that they can be organized into categories, and launch in their correct waves at the appropriate time.
  • #4 – Viewing Area: This is an area where spectators gather to watch the race near the finish line.
  • #5 – Finish Line: When racers finish, they tend to cluster around the finish line to cheer on their friends, talk with spectators, and exchange war stories with other racers.
  • #6 – Timing: Put the timing area on one side of the finish line, and the viewing area on the opposite side.
  • #7 – Awards Podium: Place for the awards podium is near the place that most customers came into registration so that the parking directly behind everyone.

And Now You Know

The beginnings of your location development strategy will require you to do some work. Take this work seriously and put some effort around scouting good locations. Make sure it includes all the features your event requires to be successful and has some amenities that can help you offset costs (like bathrooms and power). Once you have a set of good locations picked out, you need to turn it into a venue by laying out all 7 areas.

This will go on to be an effective way to keep your race, and your customers, flowing to the right places at the right times.

Confused customers make upset customers. Upset customers are often NOT returning customers. Always make your venue layout simple, and make your customer flow as logical as possible. Allow your venue design to help you achieve your race direction goal of not making your customers have to think.

A customer that doesn’t have to think about where they need to go is a happy customer. And happy customers can become returning customers.

And now you know.

Coming Up Next

This may seem elementary, but the major event in course design is to physically walk the thing! Course design is just as much a physical job as it is mental and that means getting out into the wild and seeing things with your own two eyes. Don’t miss this next episode on Course Design Strategies.

That and more on the next Merchants of Dirt Podcast!

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