In the summer of 2012, the world will come to the United Kingdom when London hosts the 2012 Olympic Games. You have entered the sport tourism industry for just this type of opportunity. Jet Set, the official hospitality provider of the Canadian Olympic Committee, has tasked you and your team of travel consultants with the job of creating the ultimate youth travel package for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Your team has been challenged to create and promote an action-packed tour package that features London’s historic and cultural highlights, and offers the chance to see Canada’s best athletes go for gold. With only months to go before the London 2012 Olympic Games, you must act fast to produce a presentation or video to promote the travel package to youth.
Welcome to London, host to the 2012 Olympic Games. From July 27 to August 12, records will be set, history will be made, and heroes will be crowned. It will be London’s chance to “wow” the world, and those fortunate enough to be there will have the time of their lives.
London is no stranger to the Olympic Games. This is the first city to host the modern Olympiad for the third time. “That is a record,” says Jordana Novak, Olympic Program Manager with Jet Set Sports. Jet Set Sports is the Official Ticket Sales Agent for the Canadian Olympic Committee. They provide tickets and tours to the Olympic Games.
“London will be showcasing where they are now. They are looking for ways to incorporate youth.”
London first hosted the Games in 1908, when the city’s population hadn’t quite reached 7 million. The second time was in 1948 and dubbed the Austerity Games as the first post-World-War-II Olympic Games. The War had left a lot of poverty, and the Games budget was small. This time it’s different. London 2012 promises to be big. It’s also one of the greenest Games. Significantly, it will leave a run-down industrial area known as Lee Valley (about 11 km northeast of Central London) transformed into a source of revenue, housing and recreation for years to come.
During the Games, Lee Valley will be home to the Olympic Park, complete with the 80,000 seat Olympic Stadium, the Athletes’ Village and the Aquatics Centre. The Park includes sculptures and footbridges with rubber coating in blue, pink and orange. “It’s going to be vibrant,” says Novak. “It’s a fantastic revitalization.”
Tickets are for sale online, but going through a travel agent may increase the odds of scoring the ones you want.
“Artistic Gymnastics is always a hot ticket event,” says Novak. She says Swimming events are popular “and all things Track and Field… that’s where you see people breaking records.” As for Canada, “we’re very proficient” in Rowing, Track Cycling, Diving and Synchronized Swimming. Other events to watch for strong Canadian showings include Judo and Weightlifting.
London is divided into zones, and it is worth learning them if you take the Tube, the underground system. Each line is a different colour, and each stop a different name. “The London subway system has been around forever,” says Novak.
A free day pass comes with each competitive event ticket—otherwise a single Underground pass costs four pounds, or about six dollars. If traveling with a group, designate one person the go-to person to coordinate travel plans. Ideally, find a hotel near a Tube stop. “Travel along main streets” and in a group, advises Novak.
Along the way, there’ll be free events and live-streamed competitions, thanks to the BBC and large screens at 20 locations throughout the UK. In London, try Hyde Park, Victoria Park or Potter’s Field, next to City Hall.
For these Games, visitors are encouraged to budget between $5,000 and $15,000 says Novak. Airfare and accommodation are the two biggest expenses of any trip, but also plan for extras like shopping, sight-seeing and entertainment.
As tour guides know, it pays to be two steps ahead of what people want to see and how they plan to get there. Scheduling, transportation, accommodation, food, and sight-seeing can be complicated, but not insurmountable. Be sure to allow a lot of time for transit. Millions of people will be out and about, and crowds will slow you down. Plan to take at least an hour to clear venue security prior to an event. Don’t over-schedule your days. Plan for lineups and book reservations in advance.
Once you’re there, you’ll realize London is a “very, very multicultural city,” she says. “The restaurants cater to all different ethnic cuisines… but try at least one that specializes in British cuisine. Check out the menu. Ask questions. What’s bangers and mash? Or bubble and squeak? Try steak and kidney pie.” And, if someone needs to use the washroom, they may call it the loo or WC (water closet). Be ready to learn some new terminology.
If you are on a tight budget, try a Food Hall in a major department store (similar to a food court in Canada) or one of London’s many delis. Food is pre-packaged and cheaper. “Tipping is not expected the same way it is in Canada,” says Novak, “but it is appreciated.”
Not all attractions will cost money. Some of the free attractions include London’s National Gallery, the Science Museum, the Tate Modern gallery with its massive display spaces, National Portrait Gallery, and Covent Garden. Plan to spend some down time at Greenwich Park on the River Thames, where Henry VIII hunted, and be sure to see the Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace.
“The atmosphere of an Olympic city is different, because the city is excited and proud to be hosting the world. Each Olympic Games is very unique because of the city that hosts the Games.”
Novak’s advice? “Soak up the experience like a sponge, because those memories will be with you for a lifetime, even if you’re standing in a crowded square.” Soak it up. Put in the time to plan … and then enjoy every minute.
When Jet Set hired your team, the instructions were clear: create a tour to the London 2012 Olympic Games that will excite Canadian youth.
In the summer of 2012, London will become the only city to host the Olympic Games three times, and you are part of a team of travel experts in charge of designing a the ultimate youth Olympic travel experience. The travel package that you create will be the tour of a lifetime and will profile the best Canadian medal hopefuls and the classic sites and cultural activities in one of the world’s most historic cities. It will be a mix of sport, culture and history.
Your task will be to develop a promotional video or Prezi/PowerPoint presentation that will outline the activities, costs, itinerary, and historical and cultural sites. The purpose of your video or presentation is to inform the viewers and to persuade them on why they can’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
To guide this initiative, Jet Set has done extensive market research to determine what Canadian youth would feel is an ideal trip to the Olympic Games. Their findings are presented in the Research Results Table.
Based on available airline, rail or bus tickets, your package can span any seven days from July 27th to August 12th.
Use the market research data to determine which Olympic events to include in the package. With Canada’s goal of finishing among the top 12 nations in the overall medal count, research Canadian medal hopefuls and plan the viewing schedule accordingly.
London is one of the most historic and culturally rich cities in Europe. As a result, Jet Set insists that you arrange the package to include a variety of cultural, culinary and nature-loving experiences.
Your previous market research has found that youth travelers enjoy exploring the backstreets of a city and “everyday life.”
Thought will need to be given to safety and specifically how to enable participants to explore the streets of London and visit such iconic sites as Buckingham Palace, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Big Ben, the Tower of London, London Bridge and national museums. Don’t forget the great theatre, art and cultural events that will take place during the Olympic Games.
One of the greatest challenges will be ground transport. While it is important to make this tour an experience of a lifetime, it is also critical not to overbook. Although the Tube is an extensive transportation system that spans the city, it will be very crowded and getting between venues and sites will likely be slower than normal. Ensure that the itinerary provides adequate transit time between activities, as Jet Set will have to compensate all travelers who miss a scheduled event due to ground transit delays. Adequate time for sleep and meals must also be taken into consideration.
Arrange for five full days in London above and beyond flight times. You and your team of travel consultants need to produce a video or presentation that will clearly lay out this travel package and promote this trip of a lifetime!