Discover how Emily Cole turned traditional baseball into a viral, fan-first experience with the Savannah Bananas.

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In this episode of “Give an Ovation,” host Zack Oates interviews Emily Cole, the innovative owner of the Savannah Bananas. Emily shares her journey of turning traditional baseball into a unique and entertaining experience. She discusses the importance of a fan-first mentality, the challenges of balancing fun with competitive sports, and the strategies that have made the Savannah Bananas a viral sensation.

Here are some highlights:

What’s the most important aspect of the guest experience? (9:14)

We are constantly pushing ourselves to be different, to stand out, and I think that that’s what it is. I think the uniqueness of fans or customers or guests, I think the uniqueness of their experience is what is going to differentiate a company from all of the others.

Any tactics or tools that you specifically have found to be successful in creating a great guest experience? (3:30)

Yeah, when we first started out, we really wanted to put ourselves in our fans’ shoes, and so one of the first things that we said was, ‘what are the frustrations for fans when you go to an event, when you go to a concert, when you go to a sporting event, what are the frustrations?’

And the first thing that we all commented on was being nickel and dimed. You pull in, you pay parking, then you walk in the gates…

…The idea of the all-inclusive ticket was born about 10 years ago, and so we rolled that out in Savannah when we first launched, and really what we wanted to do was just make it a more fans-first experience for people.”

Who’s someone who deserves an Ovation in the restaurant industry? (19:20)

“We get a lot of inspiration from the cruise industry. I don’t know if this is a topic that gets talked about a lot, but the similarities between cruising and sports is actually pretty large, to the point where we’re actually doing a private cruise this fall for 2000 of our fans.”

For more information on the Savannah Bananas, visit their website or follow them on social media @thesavbananas. Listen to the full episode for more insights and tips on creating an outstanding guest experience.

Thanks for reading! Make sure to check out the whole episode, as well as other interviews with restaurant gurus by checking out “Give an Ovation: A Podcast For Restaurants” on ovationup.com/podcast or your favorite place to listen to podcasts.

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