It’s Time to Build an Olympic Management and HR Strategy

The 2012 Summer Olympic Games are exactly 5 months away. How will your business prepare?

The Olympic Games are one of the world’s largest stages of sportsmanship and the spirit of humanity. But they’re not just a premiere athletics event; they’re also a prime business opportunity. The International Olympic Committee reports that during the last quadrennial (2005-2008), Olympic marketing groups generated over 5 billion dollars in revenue.

The downside to Olympic marketing initiatives is that nearly everything associated with them are licensed or trademarked. In fact, the London Olympic Games Organizing Committee (LOCOG), like most host city organizing committees, has made it nearly impossible to refer to the Games in any manner, unless you’ve been awarded a contract to be an official vendor of the Games.

Many businesses don’t have the time or money to sell licensed merchandise, so how can they take advantage of the sudden onslaught of visitors they’ll be receiving this summer?

olympic countdown

The countdown is on! How are you preparing? Flickr/Andy Roberts

In London, this year’s host city, whether or not a business can sell a t-shirt or commemorative pin is irrelevant. For 14 days, the city is going to be flooded with tourists from around the globe, who all need places to eat, shop, sleep, receive healthcare, perform business tasks, and experience the local culture.

In other cities around the world, many businesses should still expect an increased flow of customers and cash. Bars and restaurants will see more people out to watch high-profile events. Sports stores will see sudden interest in less-popular sports. Technology shops will see more people buying new TVs.

The changes aren’t limited to retail. Even online services will see changes in their traffic—the Olympics will no doubt trend on Twitter, and here at TribeHR, we’d be stunned if there aren’t a few “thanks for the awesome olympics party” kudos, or increases in employee time off during or after high-profile events.

Don’t Wait. Prepare Now!

You should start developing your Olympic strategy now. Reflect on other big events that have drawn crowds to your business. Were you able to meet expectations? What did you do well? What went wrong? If you’ve never experienced a large-scale event, just imagine your busiest day. How did your staff handle it?

Manpower is going to be vital during the days leading up to the opening ceremonies, and perhaps even for a few days after the closing ceremonies (especially in London!). You may want to consider hiring additional staff, even if only for a short duration, especially if you’re in the food service, retail, or hospitality industries.

Customer service will be critical. Instill in your team the importance of your customers leaving with a lasting positive impression. Don’t wait for the Olympics to start before vamping up those service skills! Start now.

In London, businesses will want the locals to point tourists in their direction, but that won’t happen if you haven’t formed great relationships with your current customers.

Cultural Difference Shouldn’t Be Ignored

You may want to consider offering training in cultural diversity so that your staff is prepared for the diverse population of people that may contact you. You never know when an expat community will decide that your business is the best choice for them.

Take the time to now to prepare for an experience unlike any other. In London, even businesses that weren’t able to get contracts to be official vendors of the Olympic Games are an important part of the experience for millions of visitors. Abroad, make sure you’re prepared to tap into the public’s interest while it lasts.


Hire the best team, and build a lasting culture of success. Get started with TribeHR today.


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