by Ken Hanscom | December 18, 2017

While there is uncertainty in the headlines about the upcoming Winter Olympics 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea, for incentive planners who have brought groups to the Olympics in the past, this is nothing new. We can remember concerns over the Zika virus as recently as Rio 2016 and different threats and worries surrounding other Olympic Games. Yet the Olympics continue to be a powerful way to entertain clients and measure the ROI. So, while we can't control external events, it is possible to manage the internal process to ensure the Olympic experience for your clients, partners, and employees is positive, exciting, and memorable. Below are three ways to be sure this happens if you have plans to attend PyeongChang 2018.

Wi-Fi and Mobile Connectivity 
For your incentive attendees (as well as for yourself), having confidence in Wi-Fi and cell service is essential. And, for PyeongChang 2018, it can all be done in advance. South Korea already has a very developed mobile network, primarily with 4G / LTE speeds, and by February, it will be even better with the emerging 5G network piloted by Intel & KT Mobile along with inexpensive unlimited data plans at only $30 for 10 days. Order a prepaid SIM card online a week or more in advance of your trip through their website. Upon arrival at the airport, approach a kiosk (signs are in English) with a printout of your order and they will give you a SIM card, reboot your phone, and test out the connection. If you wait and do the initial ordering and purchase on site after you arrive, not only will you be faced with long lines, but the kiosks are likely to run out of SIM cards, which would be a disaster for everyone involved. NOTE: If any of your guests require a local South Korean number, the EG service includes both voice and unlimited data and you can pre-order them from this website.

Local Transportation
We know the first order of business for every meeting planner is arranging for the attendees to get from the airport to the hotel, but that is only the beginning of getting from here to there for the Olympics traveler. In order to fully enjoy the Olympic experience, it is critical to know how your guests will get from the hotel to the first event and then on to each event that follows. And, just as important to know is the length of time required to reach each location so that every performance can be fully enjoyed. There is no Uber or Lyft in South Korea, but there are taxis. However, they should not be counted on when escorting your guests from event to event. Instead, use taxis or pre-arranged private transportation to bring you to the station of the high-speed train, called the KTX. They have set up convenient park-and-ride centers at Korea Rail as well as bus transportation hubs, and the train can bring you to every venue. This link has travel times to the event venues, which will be helpful in your logistics planning to be sure you get to the Olympic Games -- and other client activities including tours, restaurants and hospitality suites -- on time. Knowing in advance all times and distances is a must to be sure your clients don't miss a moment of this tremendous experience. 

Olympic Event Tickets
Corporate sponsors who attend the Olympics are usually set with ticket packages in place. But funny things can happen on your way to the Olympics when more tickets are needed for last-minute guests or what was considered a non-event will quickly become a momentous must-see performance. Whether you need more tickets or don't have a package and are going "a la carte" based on client requests, knowing how and when to buy event tickets is critical to enjoy PyeongChang 2018. Right now, 90 percent of events have tickets available for immediate purchase and you have your choice of pick-up, print-at-home, and mobile ticketing. A larger release of high demand tickets such as men's figure skating went on sale early November and quickly sold out but there may still be opportunities to find and buy them. Tickets can now be purchased at Box Office locations, at Tickets.PyeongChang2018.com and via the Fan-to-Fan exchange. All three of these options will save you at least 20-30 percent over purchasing from your local Olympic Committee (known as ATRs) and provide you flexible options including mobile entry. Be sure to check both the primary and fan resale sites before purchasing. And, while you can also buy tickets at the box office when you get there, you risk missing out on the most popular historic events that your clients will remember for the rest of their lives.

Advance planning, reservations, and early online purchases are the ultimate keys for making your PyeongChang Winter Olympic 2018 client experience one that is remembered and treasured for a long time to come. There are many pieces to the puzzle for entertaining clients at the Olympics, but these three tips will put you ahead of the game and your competition.

Ken Hanscom is COO of InviteManager, a leading SaaS cloud-based platform that manages more than 30 million sports tickets for corporate programs annually helping prove the ROI of their client entertainment programs. Ken Hanscom is a veteran fan of the Olympic Games and the recognized expert in ticketing, corporate sponsorships, traveling to and experiencing the Olympic Games. He can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @KenHanscom.