Stage and Screen put in a super effort for SANZAAR
When Stage and Screen was appointed as the new preferred travel management provider for SANZAAR (South African, New Zealand, Australian and Argentinian Rugby), the race to beat the opening season whistle began. While Stage and Screen officially took over the travel for SANZAAR on 1 September 2015, the planning to ensure a successful 2016 Super Rugby season started in July 2015.
SANZAAR is responsible for the administration and running of two of the world’s premier rugby union competitions – Super Rugby and The Rugby Championship, which incorporate teams from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina and Japan.
Super Rugby introduced major changes for the 2016 season, with three new sides added to the expanded model. In addition, the revised format is designed so each team plays a balance of home and away games. In total, there are 18 Super Rugby teams including six from South Africa, one from Argentina, one from Japan, five from Australia and five from New Zealand.
Each rugby team consists of around 38 people - including players, coaches and team management – with all requiring regular flights, ground transfers and accommodation as they travel to compete throughout the season.
A bespoke solution
A dedicated Stage and Screen team based in Sydney was formed to manage the travel planning, booking and logistics for all of the Super Rugby teams based around the world, with the exception of flights for the Argentinian team. This highly experienced three-person team is also supported by an additional Stage and Screen consultant located on the ground in Johannesburg and who is solely dedicated to looking after travel for the South African teams.
Together they manage flights, ground transport and hotels for the 18 teams, with the first round of the 2016 season kicking off in the last week of February. To successfully move these large groups around, Stage and Screen had to negotiate special luggage allowances, trucks to transport all the gear and bookings with SANZAAR preferred airline and hotel partners. Hotels in each destination are chosen for their experience with managing sporting groups and a number of other considerations including their ability to efficiently manage check-in/checkout, the flexibility to meet specific dietary requirements and having the resources to provide a private medical area for team massages and stretching.
The new expanded 2016 format also means that the August Super Rugby Final could be held in any of the five participating countries, depending on which teams qualify. As a result, Stage and Screen will only have one week’s notice to arrange flights and accommodation for the two teams vying for the championship. With either domestic or international flights being required for a large group at such short notice, Stage and Screen will draw on strong supplier relationships to make bookings at the last minute. Preferred accommodation partners across Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina and Japan will also be on standby to secure bookings as match results are decided.
While these circumstances are new to Super Rugby, for Stage and Screen they are all part of the territory that comes with servicing clients in the sports industry. Thanks to an in depth knowledge of the sector and the peculiarities of sporting fixtures, these challenges are all just part of the job for this hand-picked, rugby-mad travel team.
"SANZAAR has entered an exciting five-year partnership with Stage and Screen. Following an extremely competitive tender process Stage and Screen has been chosen to partner SANZAAR in the delivery of a complex end-to-end travel management solution for Super Rugby and The Rugby Championship. Though the partnership is very much in it infancy, Stage and Screen has demonstrated through their customised and dedicated personalised service approach it will be able to manage our unique travel requirements. Working in one of the most travel intensive environments in world sport SANZAAR is confident that our teams travel requirements are in very capable hands and we look forward to a long and rewarding partnership together." - Brendan Morris, SANZAAR Operations Manager.