Hospitality Plan Saves Time, $, and Stress - (2023)

Last updated on November 1st, 2022 at 11:48 am

A swim meet hospitality manager, or committee, prepares and servesfood and drink to coaches, officials, and sometimes other workers at the meet. Not all meet hosts offer hospitality, but many do because of meet length, anticipated weather, or other factors. Swim meet hospitality may be as simple as providing a bottle of water during a short but hot afternoon meet. It can also be as complex as providing several meals, snacks, and drinks for multiple days or anything in between. It’s a large, variable meet expense, so warrants careful planning. Using these tips and forms to create a plan helps save you time and stress and the meet host, money.

How to provide Hospitality at a swim meet

  1. Get with the meet director and find out the expectations, budget, and any other limitations for Hospitality.

    Prepare yourself with the forms and questions below to make the discussion more effective.

  2. Create a plan

    Use the downloadable forms in this post to A) Clarify the process, B) Record decisions, and c) Provide notes for future planners.

  3. Approve locations for food preparation and storage as well as review serving plans with the meet director. Someone should also get approval from the facility. Who will do that?
  4. Arrangeto get everything and everyone needed to the swim meet
  5. Determine how to deliver food and drink to coaches and others on deck. Make arrangements as needed.
  6. Follow the plan, adapt where needed, and provide hospitality at the meet
  7. Clean up and properly store, distribute, or dispose of leftover food and supplies
  8. Make notes about what worked well and what didn’t. Share with the meet host to help future swim meet hospitality personnel.

Creating an Effective Swim Meet Hospitality Plan

Spending time upfront creating a well-conceived plan can save both time and money — two resourceswe all need more of! This post is sectioned into three parts to help you set up an effective hospitality plan.

  1. Forms. The forms help 1) Clarify what to discuss and consider, 2) Record decisions, and 3) Provide notes to help future swim meet hospitality planners.
  2. Influencing Factors. Because swim meet hosts, venues, and many other factors vary widely, it’s important to carefully review the Influencing Factors section before finalizing your plan. Use it to help customize your plan.
  3. Example. See the plan and notes used by the hospitality director at the 2016 Utah Swimming Senior State Championships. Download and modify if desired.

Downloadable Forms

Early in the planning process, it’s important for the meet director and the hospitality manager to set up a mutually agreed-upon plan. These two forms help guide the discussion and ensure each gets the information they need to be successful.

Hospitality Planning and Evaluation Form

A detailed form for use by the meet director and hospitality manager to start and build a plan. Use page one before the meettoplan and page twoafterward, to record theevaluation. When complete, share the form with the meet host. Ask them to save and share it with future swim meet planners.

Hospitality Plan Saves Time, $, and Stress - (1)

Swim Meet Hospitality Planner -- PDF

1 file(s) 619 KB

Hospitality Plan Saves Time, $, and Stress - (2)

Swim Meet Hospitality Planner -- WORD

1 file(s) 54 KB


Hospitality Head Count Worksheet

A detailed worksheet used to determine the headcount of people receiving swim meet hospitality. You can also record other details by swim meet position. The same worksheet is available in three different formats.

Hospitality Plan Saves Time, $, and Stress - (3)

Hospitality Head Count Worksheet -- EXCEL

1 file(s) 21.29 KB


Hospitality Plan Saves Time, $, and Stress - (4)

Hospitality Head Count Worksheet -- WORD

1 file(s) 81 KB


Hospitality Plan Saves Time, $, and Stress - (5)

Hospitality Head Count Worksheet -- PDF

1 file(s) 415 KB


Influencing Factors

This section identifies factors you may need to consider when creating a swim meet hospitality plan. Not all factors will affect every meet equally. Nor will every factor carry the same weight in your decision-making. In other words, some factors are more important than others. Others, though relevant, may not have much bearing on your particular plan. Listed below and grouped by category you’ll find many factors that could influence your plan.

MONEY Questions and Considerations

  • What’s the budget? Is there “wiggle-room?” (What if we end up going over budget?)
  • Donations: Can we seek and use them? Any parameters or ideas? Is there a fundraising committee or others who can help with this? Can we offer to advertise those who donate? (Examples include, vendor ads in the meet program, an ad sent out in the next team email, or hanging a banner at the meet. NOTE: The facility may need to approve some methods, like hanging banners.)
  • Are there specific vendors we need to use?
  • How to handle purchases?
    • For example, do people spend their own money and then get reimbursed? If so, what is the process? Do they need to save and provide receipts? Is there a purchasing procedure to use meet host funds instead?
  • Before purchasing, be sure the vendor accepts the anticipated form of payment

FACILITY Related Factors

  • Who is the point of contact for hospitality with the facility? Is it the Meet Director or the Hospitality Manager?
  • Where can food be prepared? What resources are available for meet use? (Refrigerator, freezer, counter/tables, running water, sink, soap, paper towels, etc.)
  • Where will those receiving food eat it? Will it be in a hospitality room, on deck, or both? Does this vary by position? For example, officials eat in the hospitality room during their break and timers eat on deck.
  • Is there any equipment available at the facility that we can use to help move food and/or serve? (Wagon, dolly, hand truck, wheeled cart, wheeled cooler(s), trays, etc.) Consider how crowded will the deck be during the meet. This affects what workers can realistically use to deliver food and drinks on deck–some methods may not work on a crowded deck.
  • Any instructions for deliveries from vendors? What about items brought in by team members or other individuals?
  • Storage: Where can we store food, drinks, coolers, and other needed items? When? Can we bring things in before the meet? Will it be secure in between sessions? Clarify specifics. Arrange for proper, adequate, and secure storage.
  • Garbage: Where is the facility dumpster located? Can meet workers deliver garbage there, or is it preferred for our workers to use on-site garbage cans and have facility employees dump it? Who provides the garbage bags?

“STUFF” Related Factors


  • What will be served?
  • What is available locally?
  • Does it fit into the budget?
  • How deck and white-shirt-friendly is the food you plan to serve? (Officials often wear white shirts)
  • Healthy? Many involved with swimming are health conscious. Some also consider the example set for the swimmers.
  • Any instructions on what to do with leftovers? For example, a team that regularly hosts swim meets may want to save non-perishables. If so, how, where, or by whom?

Serving ware

  • What type(s) of serving ware will we need? (For example, plates, bowls, forks, spoons, napkins, cups, platters, serving spoons, tongs, large bowls, etc.)
  • How “mobile” is it? (ex. Styrofoam “Clamshell” vs. plate)
  • Will the serving ware keep food safe if it can’t be consumed immediately upon delivery?
  • Can it be marked? (Sometimes several people will work in a small area so marking names helps.)
  • Any instructions on what to do with leftover serving ware?

Getting Stuff to the Facility

  • How will food, drinks, serving ware, coolers, ice, and food prep stuff get to the facility? When? By whom?
    • Be mindful of items that need refrigeration and freezing. Be sure to keep them at safe temperatures until used.
  • Place any orders with vendors well in advance. Clarify delivery time, address, and point of contact if applicable. Follow-up a day or two before the swim meet.

Supplies and Equipment

  • Does the meet host already have any supplies or equipment that could be used?
  • Can anything be brought from home?
  • What needs to be purchased?
  • How much will purchased supplies cost? Does it fit within the budget?
  • Clarify the specifics of “who brings what by when” with anyone bringing supplies or equipment

PEOPLE Related Factors

Those receiving hospitalityHow many? Where served? How will those distributing hospitality on deck clearly identify those who receive it from those who should not? Consider using lanyards or wristbands if needed.
Hospitality workersThe number and skills of people available to help prep and serve food both at and before the meet
Set-up/Clean-upNumber of people available to help set-up and clean-up (both at the beginning and end of the meet and also each session)
Who gets hospitality workers?Which person recruits helpers? (Possibilities include: meet director, volunteer coordinator, hospitality director, etc.) How & when?
Reporting and training of workers– How will workers know when and where to report?
– Who will train the workers? When? Where? On what? Is a training list available?
– Is there something to distinguish those who receive hospitality from those who do not? How will servers find out about it?
– If the meet has multiple sessions, will there be new volunteers each session? If so, plan for training each session.

PROCESS Related Factors

Set-up/ Clean-upWho does this? (Before, during and after the swim meet meet) What needs to be done?
PrepWho will prep the food and where? For example, Will a vendor prep and deliver the food to meet? Do team parents prep the food at home and bring to the meet? Does the hospitality manager bring food to meet for the workers to prep there? Be sure to follow all local health laws and guidelines.
Safe Food Handling Practices: How will they be practiced at the meet? This includes both prep and serving. How hygienic is the available food prep area?
Liability Note: When vendors are used, the liability for safe food handling prep is transferred to the vendor.
ServingWhat do you need to get food ready to serve? Who does it? Where? When? How long will it take? If you’re serving a lot of people, allow more prep time. Are any additional supplies needed for specific foods? (For example, Napkins, utensils, plates, or clamshell-style containers?)
Where will the food and drink be served? (on deck, hospitality area, both?) By whom? How?
When will the food and drink be available? (During warm-ups? At designated times? Throughout the swim meet? Will some things like snacks or coffee always be available but meals only available at designated times?)
– If possible, avoid delivering during 50’s. (Events that are 50 yards/meters) This is typically a very busy, and often hectic, time for all on deck.
– If there are distance events at the end of a prelim session, there may be considerably fewer people on deck. For example, if athletes provide their own timers, they don’t typically receive hospitality. This may greatly affect the number served.

Example: Championship Swim Meet Hospitality Forms and Notes

Thanks to Lorinne M., a championship meet hospitality director from Utah Swimming for sharing her notes. Although the specifics of each meet vary, some find it useful to see the plans of others then tweak the ideas to meet local needs. Every plan differs. The important thing is that it both works for the hospitality manager and provides the needed food and drink within the established parameters.

Example Meet and Plan Overview

Meet: 2016 Utah Senior State Championships

Date: February 2016

Format: 1 evening distance session, 2 days prelims/finals

Number of sessions hospitality served: 5

The approximate number of people served per session: 94

Budget: $3500

Plan Features:

  • Menu
  • Detailed headcount by position
  • Instructions for hospitality workers
  • Hospitality timeline
  • Supplies & equipment list
  • Shopping list
  • Hospitality Director & team providing hospitality not from area where meet was held (LSC was meet host, Hospitality was managed by a team)


The Hospitality Plan& Evaluation and Hospitality Head Count forms were completed after the meet using information from the original swim meet hospitality plan.

  • 2016 Senior State Champs Hospitality (Click to download WORD document)
  • 2016 Senior State Champs Hospitality (Click to view PDF document)
  • HeadCount Worksheet2016 Senior State Champs Hospitality (Click to download WORD document)
  • HeadCount Worksheet2016 Senior State Hospitality (Click to viewPDF document)

Hospitality Director Notes are the original notes/plan used by the Hospitality Director.

  • Director Notes2016 Senior State Champs Hospitality (Click to download WORD document)
  • Director Notes2016 Senior State Champs Hospitality (Click to view PDF document)


Swim meet hospitality varies greatly depending on the size and scope of the meet. Smaller, shorter meets may not need in-depthplanning to offer hospitality. However, because of the cost and the number of people affected, larger meets demand careful planning. Fortunately, the forms and other information available here can help guide you through the process. Thus enabling you to provide terrific swim meet hospitality and still conserve your time, effort, and the meet host’s money.

Preparing for a swim meet? Check out The Ultimate Swim Meet To-Do List. Then, get a bird’s eye view of Who does What at Swim Meets. Both include easy-to-follow links to related information. Doing a smaller, simpler meet? Host a High School or Developmental Swim Meet will help.

Need more help? See 20+ Ways to Get Swim Meet Timers and Officials: 20+ Ways to Get them for Swim Meets.

Also, discover a few things you can do to Increase Safety at Swim Meets. Find ideas to implement before your meet as well as last-minute quick and easy tips!



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