Is your hotel advertising during Rio 2016?

With the television landscape becoming increasingly fragmented by cable, satellite, social media and internet streaming options, reaching many people at once via traditional, 20th-century media placement methods comes with its fair dose of anxiety. One interesting effect of this channel nichification is that large-scale events and compressions are now all the more precious.

Think nationwide and world-sweeping live broadcasts like FIFA, the Super Bowl, the Oscars and, as the title suggests, the Olympics. These annual, biannual or quadrennial events get a lot of attention and a lot of hype, and therefore present a lucrative short run marketing opportunity. As any economist will tell you, though, with a limited supply and demand on the upswing, the advertising price is bound to increase with each passing year. 

In fact, NBC owns the national coverage rights for the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics and has already sold over US$1 billion in commercial sales. The 2012 games in London topped out at US$1.3 billion in the US, and this year has already crossed the triple-comma benchmark significantly earlier than its predecessor. With television networks are in an industrywide panic over how to solve the millennial-cord-cutting-Netflix-PVR-piracy problem, the advertising sales metrics for Rio 2016 are already on their way to set new records for any network or media event in U.S. history.

But alas, it is already May and the torch will be lit in just over two months. Hardly enough time to fund, write, produce and distribute a video advertisement for broadcast. Nevertheless, this compression is one that you can definitely capitalize upon without sinking millions on ad buys.

With video out of the realm of possibility, you can throw away YouTube and Facebook as two outstanding mediums for last-minute advertising channels. Far easier to produce are, say, banner ads which you can set up to target and retarget eager viewers of local or regional sports news pages. National editorials also work if you are a multi-state or countrywide operator. Similarly, static ads for other digital channels like social networks and newspaper print (magazines likely require a longer lead time) are both well within the range of possibility.

It’s still only May; by conservative estimates you have six weeks to plan, write, design and disseminate a simple, cohesive campaign to draw eyeballs during this large-scale event. Remember that the games only last for a brisk 17 consecutive nights, so your bids for digital real estate on websites and specific pages that see heightened Olympics-related traffic can be markedly greater than a yearly budget may mandate because it isn’t a long-term venture. One small caveat you must beware of is that the phrasing of “Olympics,” “Olympic Games” or any other iteration is heavily trademarked, as is use of the versicolored five interlocking rings. The easiest workaround is to not mention this sporting event at all, but if you have to call it simply “The Games.”

If you roll your sleeves up, I have little doubt you can come up with something great, whether it’s a blanket aspirational advert or selling a specific package, and getting it placed with the appropriate vendors who are most likely to experience larger than normal audiences. So, what are you waiting for?

(And for guests already onsite, the key is to make watching the Olympics as effortless as possible. Know the times and channels for the most popular events in your region, and woe to you for not already have them on in your lobby bar, restaurant or lounge. You may even decide to post schedules or have specific F&B offered. This is the topic for another article altogether, but the point throughout is that you should be doing something.)