How companies generate ROI through Corporate Hospitality Packages. A winning strategy for business growth and relationships.

European sports fans are currently in the midst of enjoying a uniquely action-packed period. So many of the world's biggest sporting events have or are taking place within our continent in what is a jam-packed 18-month period of sporting indulgence, that started last June.

The Ashes in the summer was followed by The Ryder Cup in Italy, and no sooner had that concluded and Team Europe had their hands on the coveted trophy, Rugby World Cup 2023 in France was underway in the Autumn. Now we look forward to 2024, which sees major international football and other multi-sports events. This is all in addition to the usual feast of annual showpiece events on the calendar throughout the continent every year. So it's safe to say, sports fans in Europe are spoilt for choice currently! 

Whilst these events generate huge interest from the fan/consumer market, they also represent unique opportunities for businesses to leverage. Despite the challenges so many companies face currently that come with rises in inflation and a general economic downturn, demand for hospitality from the corporate market remains strong, and in many cases has increased since the pandemic. 

So why is this? Commercial teams working in sports hospitality have to understand that corporate clients are not just weighing up whether they should buy our event instead of a competitors, but first and foremost whether hospitality at an event is the best use of their budget at all. Below we look at three of the key ways in which companies generate ROI through corporate hospitality packages, and also discuss how the changing dynamics of doing business that we have seen since the days of lockdowns have impacted on this:

Winning new business

For those of us in the corporate world, the biggest single change we have seen in recent years is with remote working, and subsequently the way that we communicate with key stakeholders, both internally and externally. In a world where commercial leaders are constantly looking at new ways to 'enhance their tech stack' and 'drive automation and efficiencies', it's easy to lose sight of the simple and undeniable fact that doing business remains first and foremost about human relationships, and relationships are always far better built and nurtured in person.

The challenge is that it's harder than ever to get meaningful face time with decision makers. E-mail response rates are down 30% over the last few years and decision makers are less tolerant and responsive to unscheduled calls than ever before. Even once you have made a break though with a new prospect, the preference can often be to schedule a video call rather than meeting face to face. So in this increasingly de-humanised process, businesses can turn to hospitality as a differentiator within the sales cycle. And differentiator isn't being used here as an alternative word to 'bribe' - hospitality at sporting events provide a genuine platform for companies to create trust and mutual understanding with a prospective new customer....if they’re more compelled to buy from you at the end as they feel they owe you one, then that's just a nice bonus!  

A significant proportion of spend on hospitality comes from the business services sectors - legal, banking, financial services and technology being some of the most dominant. Aside from the obvious fact that they are large and lucrative sectors, there are other good reasons for this. Their services are usually complex, high value and in many cases critical to the business operations of their customers. Winning new business in these sectors is particularly hard. There are often multiple decision makers, with differing objectives and opinions, all of whom ultimately need to be convinced value. A big sports event provides a platform to bring these people together for an extended period of time, in a relaxed environment where those more human connections can be made, any lingering reservations addressed, and trust built. A game changer in the sales process!  

Retain, upsell, cross sell

We're used to lazy soundbites in the world of hospitality like 'entertain your customers' and 'reward your clients', but what tangibly does this mean, and why is a sporting event the vehicle with which to do it? There can be a number of objectives to taking existing customers to sporting events. The obvious one is enhancing the relationship through shared time in a relaxed and fun environment, that also demonstrates their value to you as a client, to help ensure they remain one. Whilst hospitality is a great way of doing that, it can also be a forum to introduce conversation topics that may present you with opportunities to upsell new products and cross sell new services, and even ask for referrals.

And why do I need to buy an expensive hospitality package to do that I hear you ask? Well, if you've ever asked a client for 4-6 hours of their diary time during their busy working week, you can probably answer that question yourself. High profile sports events create invitations that people will accept, and most importantly turn up to, because we all want to be a part of those 'I was there moments.' Furthermore, the connection that can be built at something as emotive and memorable as a big sporting occasion is far stronger and long lasting than a cheaper alternative……your clients probably have plenty of nice meals at posh restaurants already! 

Incentivise and reward

In a recent survey, more than a third (36%) of HR professionals identified employee retention as their number one priority for 2024, with recruitment (30%) a close second. As we start to see economic signs of recovery after the pandemic, the job market continues to grow which gives people more opportunity to explore job options more freely. Therefore, now more than ever, if your organisation isn’t providing a good environment, salary, benefits and culture, you could be in trouble.

Benefits can come in many forms, but the unique thing about sports events is that they don't just tick the box of making an employee feel valued and rewarded by the business. They also provide an opportunity to bring staff together at the same time, strengthening bonds within the workforce and enhancing company culture. 

For the majority of employees within the average company, hospitality packages at high profile sports and entertainment events are out of their reach financially. This makes them a powerful incentive, as business leaders have the opportunity to reward and motivate staff with unique experiences that their staff would otherwise not have access to, enriching their lives, and their social media profiles……. which lets be honest is the most important thing nowadays!

Find your next event

DAIMANI and its sister company FORTIUS hold key appointments for many of the world’s biggest sporting events. We pride ourselves on providing a fully consultative service to both businesses and private clients, built on understanding their needs, objectives and preferences and finding an event and Official Hospitality package that meets their requirements.

So, whether you’re looking to win new business, look after what you already have, or you simply want to treat yourself, get in touch and we’d love to discuss how we can help you find your next event. 

Written by Dominic Hobbs – Head of Sales

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