Planning effective corporate entertainment for clients and staff
Successful business is all about building strong relationships on all levels: with clients, with staff, and with business connections. Relationships are strengthened away from the office, through shared experiences and enjoyment. Investing in key relationships is crucial for businesses of all sizes and in all industries.
Like any investment, throwing money in the general direction of ‘corporate entertainment’ is ineffective at best and damaging at worst. Successful corporate entertainment requires strategic planning, tracking, and flexibility to adjust your approach.
The value of good corporate entertainment
When corporate entertainment is done well, it can have powerful effects across your business. It’s all about building relationships: with staff, with clients, and with other businesses. Whether you’re offering fine corporate dining, corporate football tickets or sports experiences, concerts or theatre packages, corporate travel or other premium packages, entertaining has the power to build trust and strengthen relationships.
Differentiate your business from the competition Get new clients across the line Build trust Encourage loyalty Reward major clients Celebrate new partnerships Encourage good word of mouth
Build team cohesion Celebrate big events and milestones Reward high-performing or loyal staff members Encourage staff loyalty
With other businesses:
Create new partnerships Celebrate collaborative projects Tend existing relationships Offer value by introducing contacts to one another
How you spend your money communicates your values to the world. Generous corporate hospitality packages signal that you are a company that values your relationships and understands the importance of people around you.
The #1 mistake businesses make in corporate entertainment
Too many businesses establish a one-size-fits-all corporate entertainment plan that is then applied to every situation indiscriminately. This often means committing to something like a corporate box at the SCG or ANZ Stadium over several years, or reserving seats at Etihad Stadium across the entire AFL home & away season, and then finding opportunities to use them. This is expensive and can create the illusion of effective corporate hospitality purely because so much money is going towards it.
There are a number of reasons this old style of entertainment remains commonplace. Making a decision once and using that template as you approach different situations and clients is simple and can be perceived as requiring less ongoing management. Of course, you’ll need to work out who is using your corporate tickets and when, but you won’t need to start from scratch putting together a new approach for each situation.
A corporate entertainment strategy that is built around one or two expensive long-term commitments works on the assumption that all your stakeholders will see value in the same experiences and hold the same priorities. This will always be hit and miss, and less effective than customised choices.
A better way approach corporate hospitality
In life and in business, personalisation is increasingly necessary. People want things to be tailored to them and to be given freedom of choice. Corporate entertainment is no different. Businesses want the flexibility to put together packages that work for them, and their stakeholders expect to have their needs and tastes catered to individually when they are being entertained.
Tixstar allows you to choose the right entertainment package on an individual basis. Instead of committing to one entertainment template, you become completely flexible. It’s as simple as buying tickets: log on, find an event or package that sounds right for you, and buy the number of tickets you need. There’s no commitment, and a huge range on offer, which means you buy only as often as you need to and can change what you purchase each time.
Choose the right entertainment every time, know who you are entertaining
Before you make choices about business entertaining, you need to know who you are entertaining. This means understanding the category they are in (‘client’, ‘staff members’, etc.) as well as their more specific position in the web of your relationships (e.g. ‘our third biggest client, brings in a lot of referrals’).
Knowing who you are entertaining also requires developing an understanding of who they are as a person so you can tailor your choices to them. This means going beyond ‘our number three client’, into details like an individual’s name, their personality and interests, and any relevant information you can glean. The more layers of information, the better. Just talking to them and asking questions about what they like will show your genuine interest and allow you to cater to them.
Some questions to ask:
Do they follow sport? Do they like AFL, NRL, cricket, or another sport? What team do they support? What teams do they hate? Do they like attending games, and who do they normally go with? How do they typically spend their weekends? Do they drink alcohol? Do they have dietary requirements?
Of course, you shouldn’t sit down and ask these questions like it’s a test, but pay attention to what they talk about and get to know them. The more you can understand your client, staff member or associate, the more effectively you can entertain them. Someone who doesn’t drink alcohol might be okay with coming along on a winery tour, but will this be as effective as choosing something else? Someone who is famous for hosting an annual AFL Grand Final barbecue might not actually want to spend the day in a corporate box at the MCG with work colleagues. If you hate two sports teams, you’re probably not going to appreciate the opportunity to see them clash, especially if you could have had the chance to watch your team play instead.
Know your entertainment goals
Once you know who you are going to be entertaining, you need to identify your goals and intentions for doing so. Your goal might be to close a deal, or to move closer to closing. You might aim to build trust, or simply to put yourself back on somebody’s radar. Perhaps you are looking to reward someone valuable, to encourage someone to stick around for another year, or to build morale among a team.
Sometimes your entertainment goals will be specific and measurable. There are ways of tracking them so you can tweak your approach in future. These include things like signing a new client, meeting three new business connections, or up-selling an existing client to a new program or tier of service. At the end of the day, you will be able to answer definitively whether you have met your goal.
Other goals are more abstract and difficult to quantify. You can’t measure ‘building trust’ or ‘encouraging loyalty’, but these are common aims when approaching your business entertainment choices.
Making the most of your corporate entertainment events, be proactive
Once you’ve booked your tickets and made the necessary arrangements, it’s easy to assume your job is done. It might be possible to take a hands-off approach, but it’s not usually the best choice. Regardless of your goals for the event, consider what you might be able to do to capitalise on the opportunity presented. For example:
Be prepared - go into any corporate event knowing as much as possible about the people involved and with a clear idea of your goals for the day. Do your homework and you will increase the chances of a successful event. Be professional - at any work function, you want to present yourself and your company in the best possible light. Even in a casual context, it pays to be professional. Have some beers, but don’t get out of control. Barrack hard for your team, but don’t break anything. Think about how your behaviour impacts your ability to achieve your goals for the occasion. Be strategic - know your goals and have a plan for how to achieve them. Look for opportunities to make new connections or to introduce important people to one another. Be genuine - a social event usually isn’t the time to sell hard. Avoid being manipulative or giving the impression that you think you are owed something for providing the experience. Be strategic, but in a genuine way. If you’re not relaxed and enjoying the entertainment, it will keep your guests from relaxing. Follow up - make sure the event isn’t a dead end by ensuring it’s not the last people hear from you. Follow up to thank them for attending and to get feedback on how things went. This keeps the lines of communication open and is a great opportunity to show that you have an ongoing interest in them.
Examine and tweak
Once an event is over, it’s always best to examine the results and learn from them. This involves reflecting on the event yourself, as well as asking attendees for feedback.
Some questions to consider within your own team:
What worked well? What didn’t work? What (if any) measurable results were achieved? What feedback did you receive from those involved?
When it comes to asking questions and seeking feedback from guests, you need to be more subtle. Ask them if they enjoyed the event and gauge how genuine their response seems. Chat with them about what you might do together next time and even consider asking them if there is anything that could have been done better. If you’re seeking negative feedback as a way to improve, let them know they’re helping you improve it for other people so they don’t feel like they’re being greedy or complaining.
Popular corporate entertainment options
Looking to begin planning a corporate entertainment package, and wondering where to begin? Here are some popular choices to consider. Sport
Australia is the sporting capital of the world, giving us a wealth of opportunities for entertaining over a game. It’s the ideal event: sport brings people together like few things can. Some of the most popular sports include:
AFL, NRL, rugby union and soccer Cricket Tennis Horse racing Basketball and netball Motorsport Polo Golf Cycling Marathons, triathlons and athletics.
VIP sporting experiences are popular around Australia, from the MCG and Etihad in Melbourne to the SCG and ANZ Stadium in Sydney, and at other venues like the Gabba. You might choose to entertain during the AFL home & away season or the AFL Grand Final, the Grand Prix, the Australian Open, or The Ashes. From a meet and greet with the players to fine dining or a private box, there are a range of packages to set your business apart.
Some of the most popular sports experiences to consider include:
An ANZ Stadium corporate box is one of the most sought after entertainment solutions in Sydney. From State of Origin corporate packages to tickets for rugby union, ANZ Stadium corporate packages allow you to enjoy the game from prime position, and while long-term ANZ Stadium corporate box prices are high, tickets bought on a single-event basis can be far more affordable. The ANZ Stadium corporate box dress code is smart casual, meaning your guests can enjoy the game in premium comfort yet in a relaxed environment.
The Australian Open
From first week packages to finals tickets, Australian Open corporate packages are a favourite for companies based in Melbourne or looking to travel for a sporting event that attracts international attention. For corporate tickets, Australian Open packages and other tennis season entertainment options, it makes sense to buy individually through Tixstar.
Cricket corporate hospitality is one of the most popular choices for sporting entertainment packages in Australia. Whether you’re interested in test cricket, one day internationals, or Twenty20, there are various cricket corporate opportunities and tickets to choose from to suit your needs.
Many companies consider using an Etihad Stadium corporate box as their standard entertainment choice, especially for the AFL home & away season. An Etihad corporate box can be booked on a per-event basis, which means you can pick and choose your spend on individual games and you’re flexible to book events elsewhere as well.
A Gabba corporate box is one of the very best sporting entertainment options available in Brisbane, and is sure to impress. Whether you’re watching the Brisbane Lions play or enjoying The Ashes, your guests will love the opportunity to relax and enjoy the luxury. Book a Gabba corporate box for any individual sports event instead of paying for one year-round and feeling pressure to use it even when you don’t want or need to.
AFL corporate packages are one of the most popular corporate sporting entertainment options in Australia, whether you’re looking for a standard AFL corporate box during the home & away season or AFL Grand Final corporate packages. Whether you’re in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Geelong, Adelaide or Perth (and more! AFL corporate packages are even available in Tasmania), there are options for entertaining your guests with the footy.
An MCG corporate box is one of the most sought after premium entertainment options in Australia. Many companies mistakenly believe that MCG corporate box hire needs to be a permanent entertainment solution, hired on a contract over multiple years. The truth is, MCG corporate boxes and corporate suites don’t have to be prohibitively expensive. You can order corporate box MCG tickets on a per-event basis and enjoy sports events when it suits your needs.
An SCG corporate box is perfect for entertaining in Sydney. From the cricket to AFL, rugby league, rugby union and more, the SCG will deliver great sporting entertainment with a VIP experience.
A Suncorp Stadium corporate box will give your guests the opportunity to enjoy rugby league, rugby union, soccer and other sports in style. Instead of booking a corporate box Suncorp Stadium that extends throughout the year or across multiple years, you can book for individual events as required to make the most of your corporate entertainment spend.
Concerts and theatre
Concerts, theatre performances, celebrity tours and other major events provide opportunities for premium packages to entertain your clients, staff members or associates. VIP backstage tickets are popular, along with dining and accommodation packages to complement tickets to the event.
Whether you’re considering tickets to the ballet or a heavy metal concert, an orchestra or comedy show, a little culture can be perfect for discerning guests.
Other functions and events
Perhaps the most common form of corporate entertainment comes in the form of wining and dining. From five course meals to winery tours or brewery tours, sharing a meal is one of the best ways to bring people together and build relationships. It also has the benefit of allowing for conversation throughout the day or night.
Corporate entertainment packages are not limited to those listed. Other popular options include corporate golf days, travel packages and luxury spa days. Whatever your guest will enjoy most is the right choice.