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Do's & Don'ts of Corporate Hospitality

Hosting events rarely comes cheap and you need to ensure you make them work for you.

Return on experience

By focusing on "return on experience", rather than "return on investment" you can set objectives for your corporate hospitality at the outset. Thinking about what you want to achieve such as establishing a long-term client relationship, creating an elite club for top customers, giving a thank-you, or introducing new clients, will help you set measurable objectives and decide the best means of achieving them. You will need to consider your budget and weigh this against the value, and potential value, of the clients you are entertaining. If you are going to offer hospitality, you need to do it well – but you also need to ensure the return doesn't outweigh the cost.

Know your audience

Corporate hospitality comes in all shapes and sizes, from major sporting events to VIP tickets for "sold out" concerts, private dinners and bespoke activities. Having decided exactly why you are doing an event, you then need to consider your audience and their profile. Hospitality suites at major football stadiums have always been popular with football fans – but what if your audience prefers a quiet dinner with partners? Many sporting events offer the opportunity to wine and dine your guests (and partners) as well as offering VIP access to exclusive areas. This allows you and your team to spend time getting to know your clients whilst also giving them an experience they couldn't get for themselves. And one that passes the "pub test" – it will be talked about for months to come. This sharing of high quality, memorable experiences is an excellent means of establishing a closer rapport with key business partners.

Alternatively, some companies embark on a planned series of bespoke hospitality which includes both big events and smaller, low key activities designed to appeal to different clients. Each event can be tailored around your objectives, so a country house weekend maybe perfect for getting to know key clients and discussing their issues while pulling out the stops at a lavish annual party may be just the thing to celebrate success and thank clients for their continued loyalty.

Priming your people

Once you have decided on the type of event and your guest list, you need to ensure that your No. 1 asset, your people, are all primed and ready to go. They need to be briefed on what they are expected to do and be fully familiar will all elements of the event (timings, location, car park, special menus), as well as having an in-depth knowledge of all the guests and their respective companies. Everyone needs to be treated as a VIP and your people are your ambassadors – so make sure that's exactly what they are!

Corporate Hospitality as an incentive

Whilst hospitality is most often associated with clients, it can work equally well within an incentive environment with your key staff. By using it as part of a structured incentive programme it can be used effectively as a "once-in-a-lifetime" prize or a thank you for extra effort.

For ideas on how to make the best of your corporate hospitality budgets, give us a call ...

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At a Glance

When executed well, corporate hospitality can be an invaluable tool for generating and retaining loyalty among clients (both new and existing) and among your own staff.

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