Hull Kingston Rovers is a rugby league team competing in the Super League. Being competitive on the pitch is an obvious focus. But being commercially competitive is just as important, and some may say, more important – as commercial success funds the playing staff.

Player sponsorship, pitch side boards, stands, hospitality, boxes and the many enhancements need to be managed game by game, season by season. Keeping track of the open opportunities is complex, and fully optimising the revenue opportunities is critical in a sport where margins are tight.

Hull KR where not unusual in turning to spreadsheets to try and manage the complexity, but as time passed, they realised the spreadsheets had limitations which frustrated the drive to improve commercial performance.

Hull KR CEO, Mike Smith, said: “We realised that trying to manage things on spreadsheets was not working for us. We were spending way too much time cutting and pasting data and creating confirmations for our clients and our internal team manually. We could not share the spreadsheets properly which made things even harder and the files often became corrupted. It was really hard to gain insights from the data.”

“We ask for high standards on the pitch, so it did not make sense to operate in this inefficient way off the pitch, which is why we approached Vensis for help.”

Hull KR knew there must be a better way. They approached Vensis and agreed to build a Commercial Database System.

Vensis provide support to businesses who recognise there are better ways to manage data. Since 2002 Vensis has deployed centralised database systems to transform data processes.

Firstly, data was restructured and centralised into a database. The correct structure is enormously important; getting this wrong would lead to unnecessary complexity making it cumbersome to use and difficult to gain insight from the data.

The system has been designed to handle hospitality bookings across all the home games of the season, managing the restaurants and boxes. It can manage the associated tickets, packages and bespoke add-ons to maximise the experience of the guests whilst optimising revenue. The system handles different price points for premium games and allows the user to add games as the season develops to accommodate The Challenge Cup.

When the Commercial Team receives an enquiry, it is easy to summarise what is available, and assemble the perfect package for that sponsor or customer.

The system can even export fixtures as a well-presented PDF direct to an email or a data file that can be simply imported to Microsoft Outlook, and subsequently synchronised with phones. This feature ensures the Hull KR support base are kept informed about the fixtures, as they can often change. It is hoped that giving supporters this visibility will reduce the inevitable diary conflicts and help attendances.

The system has many reporting aspects. One key report is the “fixture glide path”. As a game approaches, hospitality sales should climb to hit, or exceed a target. By simultaneously monitoring all approaching fixtures, the commercial team can immediately see how a game is shaping up, allowing them to respond appropriately.

Hull KR now have the data structures and processes in place to help drive performance. Key measures and KPIs are visible and the administration of the sales process is automated, allowing staff to focus more time on value added activity.