This article looks at the rising popularity of corporate hospitality and its value in building profitable working relationships. It also looks at some great options for entertaining clients.
Why corporate hospitality?
Working relationships take time to forge and develop and one of the easiest ways to add extra value to the client relationship is add some fun into the working mix. This helps you to get to know your client in a new way, discuss possible working collaborations and ventures in a non-pressured environment and add depth to the relationship, within a fresh context.
Simply put, it is far harder for a client to go elswhere when they have really got to know a supplier personally and have built up strong working relationships. By extending these types of services as an ‘added bonus’ to a working relationship, the client also feels thanked and appreciated for their custom, which is another powerful tool for retention of the relationship. This doesn’t need to be overdone – but a summer BBQ, Christmas gala dinner or sports event to celebrate a large achievement in your working partnership are all viable and legitimate options to celebrate.
What sort of options are available?
There are a vast number and range of corporate hospitality options available and events companies will organise these packages for you at the right price and coordinate bookings and practical arrangements. Sporting events are very popular, including:
horse racing hospitality
sailing hospitality and more.
Sporting dinners and hospitality dinners with key business speakers are also greatly in demand, as are theatre hospitality packages and gala dinners. Corporate events agencies will also put on bespoke packages for clients as required and can pull together specialist packages that even go as far as incorporating overseas travel.
Picking the right kind of corporate hospitality
The right kind of client entertaining package depends on a range of factors. These include budget, location and the nature of the relationship. There is a fine line involved with client entertaining and societal and cultural factors must also be considered. For example, muslim clients will not appreciate being taken to a booze-up and some clients may be uninterested in more specialist sports events. Think broadly and aim to find something that appeals to the diversity of your client team. Also, consider why you are extending the hospitality – it is important not to attempt to win business on the back of client entertainment, as this can be viewed as unethical and pushy, rather than a transparent and welcoming gesture of thanks. Equally, for good clients who have spent a lot of money with you, it is more appropriate to push the boat out with an attractive and carefully considered package of greater value.
Remember to define guidelines for client entertaining within your business processes and ensure that they are in line with taxation and expenses accounting rules as laid down by HMRC. This is important for company accounting purposes and receipts must be retained for year end accounting.
Adriana Frederick writes regularly about corporate hospitality for a diverse range of business sectors and has been published in a range of industry magazines and publications. Find out more at VU Limited.
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