Choosing the right corporate hospitality experience

Adam King, eventpod’s Managing Director has been involved in the corporate hospitality industry for close to 20 years. Having witnessed many changes in the client entertainment space over this period he’s penned this piece on how to get the best out of your corporate hospitality entertainment budget with some of the pros and cons of the industry along with some helpful tips.

The current landscape

Since the arrival of the internet and its sudden uptake by consumers in the late 90’s the business landscape has changed considerably. Add to this the dot-com bubble, the commodities boom in the 2000’s, accompanying bullish and bear markets and then the more recent GFC – all of these events have had a dramatic effect on the way companies would and could entertain and engage with their clients.

Other factors such as probity and regulations creeping into more and more industries have led to many organisations looking for the optimum way to maximize their marketing/entertainment budget.

So what what are the best and most effective solutions for your business? Let’s have a look the pros and cons of some of the more popular options.

Major sporting and ticketed events – AFL, NRL, Rugby Union, Cricket etc

The big matches always offer up a sense of occasion. NRL/AFL Grand Finals, AFL local Derby’s and International Cricket matches see stadiums filled to capacity and the atmosphere is a large part of the appeal with the best of the best on show.

Being part of a corporate facility ensures your guests are treated with VIP benefits which gives them a sense of belonging and a feeling of being a valuable ally to your business.

It also allows a few hours of engagement often over a sit down dinner or at the very least some degree of hospitality involved. On most occasions guests are emotionally invested in supporting one team or the other adding to the atmosphere of the event.

Obviously costs can be a major factor at these events, likely ranging from $1000 up to $3000 per person. This can limit the amount of clients you are able to engage with in any given period subject to your companies marketing budget.

Depending on the venue often the experience of getting home from an event can be frustrating and perilous. It’s not the last impression you want your guest to remember after such an investment.

Cultural events – theatre, concerts and shows suitable for clients and their partners

We find with cultural events on the calendar, there’s a higher rate of invite acceptances and an appreciation from both client and their partner. More often than not the cost is significantly lower than ticketed events. The events are also more intimate which leads to a closer relationship between client and guest.

The one thing to understand at most of these types of events is that the interaction with the client is at a minimum as the show takes center stage.

Participation based events – sailing regatta, drive days, Masterchef style cooking events

Participation events are a great way to promote group achievement and personal bonding all while delivering some friendly rivalry and banter throughout the day. They create a memorable experience which are remembered long after the day is finished. We find that there is a much stronger association with guests and they tend to remember the company and individual who hosted the day over other shorter event experiences.

Annual Event – during or at the end of the year or to align with a business milestone

Some companies have a large evenly distributed client base, so economies of scale come into play allowing a less expensive cost per head which opens up the option of partners also being invited. Holding an annual participation event allows anticipation for this to build year on year. It also allows companies to align and showcase their brand based on an event idea or theme that is the most suitable and appropriate to their mission.

It can be tricky for companies to get all of their clients together at one event, there may also be a conflict of interest in some cases. As these events are usually on a much larger scale, clients may find time spent with each guest a little limiting depending on the size and type of event.

A money can’t buy experience

Who doesn’t love an experience they can brag about to their colleagues or friends that can’t be acquired simply by buying from a package online. These unique experiences leaving a lasting impression for years to come and are often talked about and associated with your company or host.
These types of experiences are usually catered to smaller groups and can take a lot of creativity and organisation on both the client and event partners sides.

Bespoke Events – Unique from eventpod

Unique from eventpod is aimed at clients who want to create something unique for their guests. Catering to any style or format it allows you to create an experience best suited to what your client enjoys most based on their passion or demographic. It could be anything from a helicopter ride to a culinary food and wine experience, it may also include an educational element or even something for adrenalin junkie, or it could be all of the above! – The choices are unlimited.

Based on your budget and objectives, you want to feel completely comfortable with whatever corporate hospitality option you choose.

It should be a memorable experience that is looked back upon fondly and associated with your company for a long time to come. An experience that creates a stronger bond and strengthens relationships is a must.

A handy checklist of some important points to consider before making your final decision are:

  • Longevity of interaction to maximise their attention ie a couple of hours, half day, full day or even an overnight or weekend experience.
  • Who is your target audience? Are they a C Level or 2nd tier client/customers?
  • Can you gauge any future return on investment?
  • Does the event or experience align to your brand and is? It a good cultural fit?
  • What are the FBT implications and how can they be reduced?
  • Work life balance has become imperative across all walks of life. Is the event best delivered to be inclusive of partners/ families or with a client only focus?
  • What are your competitors doing in this space?
  • Why do you want to do it?
  • What do you want to achieve?

Finally, there is no right or wrong so long as you have considered what your objectives are and what is a realistic budget you have to spend.

Should you wish to discuss the options that best suit your business, the experienced team at eventpod would be happy to help.