Published on January 25th, 2016 | by admin0
Some Top Events for Client Entertainment
The events industry continues to grow and offers the potential for big business for businesses! But at the heart of events for client entertainment lays client engagement – a way of sharing what’s important about your business with your clients and of acknowledging that you recognise what is important to them. So what kinds of events will entertain your clients as well as help to set up this engagement?
Traditional events are essentially the ‘wining and dining’ that have been a part of business networking, entertainment and reward for a long time in the UK, with events such as:
- Wine tasting
- Lunches and after-dinner speaking
- Cabaret and dancing events
- Breakfasts, brunches and lunches
Whilst of these events still prove popular in their traditional formats for 21st century business, it’s possible to add a contemporary twist by inviting a celebrated or locally acclaimed chef to cook in-house or at a special venue, or by creating the entertainment as a ‘pop-up’ event.
Innovation and exploration in events
But whilst traditional still has its place, innovation in doing business through entertainment events means a constant morphing and exploration of new and exciting ways to engage clients. Current trends include:
- Taking meetings outside – not to the nearest coffee shop, that was so last decade, now innovative events and interesting meetings take place in scenic spots such as landmarks, view points and arboretums or hostelry and country house gardens. Alternatively, when the weather’s grim, heading for a hostelry with an open fire or a covered and comfortable roof garden where the elements can be experienced from a warm and comfortable position can add an aspect of connection which doesn’t necessarily happen in a corporate setting.
- Fringe debates – exploring issues, research and ideas with clients through fringe debates is a rising trend. Organising debates which involve keynote speakers and involve digital technology for follow-up is a way of demonstrating to clients that you understand and appreciate what is important to them and offer a way of exploring these issues through entertainment and education.
- Creating links for your clients between the location of your event and something of interest for them will make the event additionally memorable for them and is another way of increasing engagement. For example, if the client’s business is related to engineering, then an event held in the event space of a steam engine museum offers additional interest and shows considerable thought, as well as an alternative conversation topic which can be used to build and foster positive relationships.
Events for entertaining and networking with overseas clients have been on the increase since London particularly and the UK generally became a major international event hub following the success of the 2012 Olympics. Sharing the British culture or exploring how this combines with your clients’ cultures can be brought into events very successfully by:
- Showcasing Britain’s history with tours for overseas clients to London landmarks and by identifying unusual locations and event spaces which have a hidden bearing / meaning or interest on the project you have been / will be working on with the client.
- Sharing the history with historical venues and historical themed events such as medieval jousting and banqueting.
- Sharing the geography with places of interest – clients from landlocked areas may enjoy an event at the seaside whilst visitors from a country famous for its wines may enjoy a visit to a British vineyard or brewery.
- Bring on the British – identify events which encompass British traditions, from afternoon tea served by buttoned-up waiters to a kiss-me-quick-hats, ice cream and bingo on a UK pier trip.
- Considering the capitals as the capital and major cities of the UK can offer a lot to overseas visitors partly because they are home to such diverse communities. Seek out venues in the heart of these communities which fit with and celebrate the culture of your clients as a way of showing respect and unity, but ensure that it’s peripheral rather than central to the event itself as the chances are your overseas visitors are hoping for something a little different to their own traditions whilst they’re with you.
- Considering the most local community – look for local park concerts, festivals and exhibitions and gallery events to allow your visitors to explore and engage with where you’re coming from.
When entertaining your overseas clients though, do take into account that overseas visitors may have varying levels of English. Choosing doing rather than watching and listening activities can help ensure that best intentions are not lost in translation and that your visitors gain from the event. Physical activity is also good for bonding with the clients and bringing teams of all nationalities together.
Variation – make it personal
Whilst it’s useful to tap into major trends in events, such as technology and pop-up innovation, even trends can quickly hold a ‘same old’ aspect once they have peaked. Adding your own variation to an event trend can be a way of keeping it original whilst also making it more affordable (if your entertainment budget is low) as well as personal for the clients. Examples of how this could be achieved include:
- Hosting events in your own home or garden – this micro-entertainment brings events to a very personal level, creating engagement which can be lost when going large and creating distance. By offering something of personal value to yourself, such a time in your home, you are creating a connection with your clients and you can combine this approach with traditional event favourites, for example by hosting a wine tasting in your own home.
- Organising an entertainment event which reflects a personal charity or concern. For example, organising a wheelchair basketball experience to highlight support of disabled staff or sporting endeavours.
- Taking a leaf out of TED’s book by organising industry or sector–specific TED talks with an entertaining as well as educating thread for like-minded and like-sector clients. Ensure the event and the talks are recorded to allow for follow-up contact and sharing of key points in on-going dialogue.
- Setting up group events in local places of interest, such as a team barbeque or beach games to bring clients together with the team who will be working on their project.
Think Third Party
Finally, when it comes to entertaining clients who matter with events that mean something, sometimes it’s necessary to step outside of your own perspective and invite professionals to input into the process. Particularly where a special type of activity or location is required, such as a tour of London and team building activities, specialist companies such as Team Tactics can offer a cost-effective solution to waning enthusiasm for client entertainment, with a fresh, on-trend approach and an enthusiasm for events which few businesses can offer for themselves without an on-staff event management team.
Of course you’ll still bring that personal touch to the event, with your insight into what both your business and the client need out of the event, but without having to organise every practical aspect, all of which leaves you more opportunities to engage with the client at the event, something that the top events are all about.
Content provided by: Team Tactics