Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) is delighted that Rugby Travel and Hospitality (RTH) has won the prestigious International Sports Event Management (ISEM) Award for best hospitality.
The award was presented to RTH for its hospitality operation at Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand, an event that has been heralded an exceptional success on and off the field.
RTH picked up their award at a glittering gala ceremony at the Cumberland Hotel in London last week, having received the prize for demonstrating an innovative and enterprising approach to hospitality that made a significant contribution to the event's revenues and spectator experience.
RTH is a business consortium comprised of the foodservice provider Sodexo and sports hospitality and event management experts the Mike Burton Group. Sodexo and the Mike Burton Group, as a separate joint venture Prestige Ticketing, also won the runners-up hospitality prize at the ISEM Awards for their operation at London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
It is the second time that RTH has won the prestigious award, having been recognised for the superb delivery of the hospitality operation for Rugby World Cup 2007 in France, a tournament that saw almost 300,000 travel and hospitality packages sold (more than 1999 and 2003 combined). RTH has also been awarded the hospitality and travel programme rights for Rugby World Cup 2015 in England and Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan.
The award was one of a brace for Rugby World Cup 2011 with Auckland, the city at the very heart of New Zealand 2011, securing second in the Sport City Award for its outstanding delivery of a programme of dedicated events and activities that 'welcomed the world to play', including innovative fanzones, music and cultural festivals. Last year, the event won the Sport Business best sporting event digital platform award.
The awards cap a tournament that delivered above forecasted visitor numbers (133,000), ticket sales (1.35 million), television coverage (207 territories) and financial injection for the development of Rugby worldwide (£90 million), while the action on the field produced the most competitive tournament to date.
RWCL Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “These thoroughly deserved awards not only underscore the incredible success of a tournament that exceeded all targets regarding ticket sales, visitor numbers and competition, but also demonstrate the strength of New Zealand as a warm and excellent host for major events and Rugby World Cup as an all-round exceptional experience for fans from all over the world that reaches beyond 48 world-class Rugby matches. I would like to congratulate RTH and Auckland for their awards.”
Kit McConnell, Rugby World Cup Tournament Director, said of the RTH award: “I'm delighted that RTH's outstanding contribution to a successful Rugby World Cup in New Zealand has been recognised by this prestigious award. Their programmes were highly creative and ensured that fans enjoyed a world-class hospitality experience. The ISEM hospitality award symbolises the excellent relationship we have with the team at RTH and we now look forward to continuing our successful partnership with them for Rugby World Cup 2015 in England and 2019 in Japan.”
Andrew Burton, Chief Executive Officer of RTH and Prestige Ticketing, said: “It is an honour for everyone connected to both RTH and Prestige Ticketing to be presented with these awards. Rugby World Cup and the Olympic and Paralympic Games are two of the biggest sporting events in the world so to receive this special recognition from our peers in the sport events industry makes us very proud. Through a combination of innovative thinking, skilled event execution and excellent teamwork with our rights holder partners, we're delighted to have helped deliver a truly memorable hospitality experience for global sports fans.”