Companies want to look after their customers; they want to attract new customers and they want to ensure their distributors or channels partners feel appreciated and therefore focussed on selling their products. This used to be as easy as inviting them to the Formula One Paddock Club. However, with entertainment budgets being squeezed and compliance laws preventing people accepting generous hospitality offers companies have had to re-evaluate the way they interact with their customers.
Over the past 6 years while working in Formula One and for the last two years at Apex Sports Marketing I have worked with clients to address the above-mentioned issues and found there are several ways to overcome these obstacles.
First priority is to look at reducing costs, are there are alternate hospitality options available that still offer a degree of exclusivity? Do you have to stay so close to the event you are attending? Would a 4 star hotel suffice when previously it had to be a 5 star? Would a shorter stay still allow you time to interact with your customers to the level you had imagined? Perhaps just attending an event for practice rather than the race? Lower costs increase the chance of budgets being approved, measurable ROI being achieved and more importantly hospitality being accepted.
Secondly, the phrase we all hear all the time “Content”. If you can ensure the content is relevant to attendees it increases their chances of wanting to attend and justifying it internally as a necessary business trip. Content may be a key note speaker; an industry roundtable or perhaps a talk from a member of a Team demonstrating how the sponsors product assists them in finding the necessary hundredths of a second to make the difference. A nice trip away simply cannot be justified anymore without relevant business content.
Thirdly, who pays for the event? If the content is relevant enough and the networking opportunities are good then guests will pay to attend. That amount may be subsidised by the hosts, or perhaps the guests will just pay flights and hotels and the host will provide the other elements. Finally, the addition of a sponsor for certain parts of the event will also help to soften the blow for both parties.
One point that must not be overlooked is that each client’s requirements will be unique. They might be similar but they are unlikely to be the same. Just because you know you have a great event concept doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement and customisation.
For information about how Apex can help you create a unique business focussed event please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call it’s always good to talk +44(0)7787 546 095.