IN MY VIEW: Don't ignore the changing face of hospitality in the UK

There was a time back in the late 1980s when corporate invitations to hospitality events came so thick and fast that the number a person would turn down became a standing joke. But these days, with a typical cost of £1,000 a head for hospitality at events such as Ascot and Henley, companies are beginning to look long and hard at whether they are getting value for money. Which is why the definitions of what is corporate hospitality, what is an incentive and what is a motivational event are not as clear cut as they used to be.

Today, most events that could be termed corporate hospitality are designed to build stronger relationships with customers. If organised with an agreed strategy, objectives and aims, such events will last in the mind and they will communicate strong messages, provide feedback, and cement relationships.

An agency needs to look beyond the organisation of the event itself and see the bigger picture, to ensure that hospitality is the right approach, and to ensure the event is effective. We no longer start with the event - we start with the business objective, then plan how best to deliver it.

Today, it is no longer acceptable to go on a "jolly", and specialist knowledge is required to plan an event that is not just about showing off, but demonstrates that the hosting company listens, understands and reacts to the individual business needs of its guests.

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