We asked three event organisers to respond to a corporate hospitality brief provided by a business publisher. The details were vague: The business publisher has a budget of between £20,000 and £30,000 to entertain 20 to 30 people (without spouses). The guests will be a combination of current and potential advertisers, and the object of the exercise is to show appreciation of current advertisers and network with potential ones. The event is restricted to one day and people will want to be home by about 6.30pm. Also, the activity should not involve driving, as most people will want to drink. Nor should it be too dangerous, bearing in mind insurance costs. Motivforce, Taste of the Vine, and Concept2Reality responded to the brief.
Motivforce is aware that measurably successful results are only delivered by innovative, strategic and tailored responses to a client’s brief. Therefore, Motivforce researches every event it undertakes, gathering and analysing the client’s corporate objectives, competitive activity, guest profile and previous corporate hospitality experience. This research forms the foundation of the event and provides the benchmark by which future events can be measured effectively.
Audience sophistication demands that events offer guests an experience that is unique and special.
Against the budget that was set, the audience specification and the additional research that was undertaken, Motivforce proposes a day of two halves. And no, it’s not football.
From their doorstep, the publisher’s 20 to 30 guests will be collected by cab and taken to Hatton Cross. Here they will be met by their hosts from the client organisation and a British Airways captain.
After breakfast and the captain’s debrief in BA’s Special Event Lounge, the pilots-for-a-morning will fly a Boeing 747 – in the safety of a British Airways Flight Simulator.
The “pilots” will also tour BA’s flagship craft Concorde and be invited to participate in an emergency evacuation drill aboard a Jumbo jet. This will be followed by a champagne reception and a short award ceremony to recognise the Top Gun pilot of the morning – and the most kamikaze.
With the wheels firmly on the ground, guests will then travel, by limousine, to Cliveden, one of England’s finest country homes, changing the pace and tone of the day entirely.
Cliveden, designed by Sir Charles Barry, is set in 375 acres of parkland, which guests will tour on their arrival. Led through the house, into the landscaped gardens and down to the secluded Thames Riverbank, guests will be transported back to the Twenties.
Wearing boaters and striped blazers, a barber shop quartet and jazz band will play in the bandstand while guests sip the quintessential English summer cocktail – Pimms – on the riverbank prior to lunch in the lavish dining room at Cliveden.
Lawn tennis, croquet and a river tour on Cliveden’s river boat the Suzy Ann are just some of the activities guests can enjoy after lunch before being whisked back to London for 6.30pm.
This recommended itinerary provides a mixed pace to the day, from the excitement of a morning’s flying to a more relaxed and sedate afternoon in the tranquil setting of Cliveden. The day seeks to ensure that all of the 20 to 30 guests take home the memory of an experience that stands out from the everyday.
A day out of the office for the majority of corporate guests is a considerable sacrifice, and one that has to be justified. One key justification is the opportunity it gives executives to network and the day that Motivforce has proposed offers numerous opportunities to do so. Obviously, this is key to the client as well – its objective is also to network with potential advertisers and consolidate their relationship with existing ones.
While the client indicated that it had no corporate hospitality strategy and employed no measurement, Motivforce has factored into its proposal a qualitative post-event analysis to measure its success against the benchmarks that the initial research set.
Taste of the Vine
Taste of the Grain – Whisky Challenge Day
Morning – Guests arrive at London City Airport
Guests are greeted by Jilly Goolden (BBC Food and Drink) and the Taste of the Vine team.
Over coffee in the private departure lounge, they are presented with the agenda for the day and allocated to teams.
Depart London City airport in a private jet (one-hour flight time)
Following breakfast onboard, Goolden will brief all in the art of wine tasting and whisky nosing, prior to the Taste of the Vine clue show, which will assist the group with their first challenge.
The Champagne Challenge tm
Two mystery sparkling wine samples are served to the group and from tasting notes and clues given on the display screens, they will be asked to assess, not guess, the country of origin, grape varieties used and even the vintages of the wines.
Arrive at Inverness airport
From here, two waiting helicopters will take guests above some of the most stunning scenery in all Scotland, to a top malt whisky distillery. A piper will be playing on arrival.
The Mystery Whisky Tour
Here the party is set a “whisky puzzle”, which will lead them on a gentle mystery tour of the distillery and grounds. The clues will give leads to information on the history, production and storage of whisky. Guests will also have a rare opportunity to taste from the casks. They will need to answer the riddles set and solve the combination to the “Whisky Vault”, where a four-course lunch and a dram await them.
At the distillery’s five-star private restaurant, Goolden and the Taste of the Vine team will introduce the guests to the mysteries of food and wine pairing with dishes created using malt whisky.
The Blending Challenge
After lunch and under the expert eye of the distillery manager, guests will be given the opportunity to create their own malt whisky blend from different casks. They will also have the chance to acquire work experience as a distillery employee by rolling the barrels and barrel coopering. Points will be awarded for their creativity and skill.
The Taste of the Grain Malt
With a short animated clue show, the group are led through the characteristics which distinguish the malt whiskies from the different regions of Scotland, before being set among six premium single cask, single malts.
The clues given will lead the teams to the region, cask type and the age of the whisky.
Prize-giving, coffee and farewell from the distillery
Each member of the winning team receives a rare bottle of vintage single cask malt, the overall whisky champion receives a case of ten-year-old malt. All attending receive an engraved hip flask.
Helicopter transfer to Inverness.
Flight to London City Airport.
Arrive back at 7.00pm.
To maximise the effectiveness of a hospitality day, Concept2Reality believes the goal to be threefold:
Get clients there. Advertising is all about stimulating the senses and emotions to attract and keep customers; we call it “sense & appeal”.
Demonstrate your company’s ability to deliver promises by designing an itinerary that allows clients to experience the main strengths of your business: for example, creativity (ideas, design, production); experience (cultural, market); customer focus (evolving relationships based on awareness); and, of course, people (your team on the day will make the biggest impression).
Ensure your clients are clear as to why they are there. Achieving the right balance between direct and indirect promotion on the day will help maximise your return.
The objective is to give clients confidence that you can meet the claims of your own advertising.
Our proposals are usually based on customer profiles, developed through personal interviews and questionnaires. In this case, however, we are working from the initial brief and suggest the following day as an example of an itinerary that achieves maximum impact.
Send an executive car to collect the delegates from home. This creates an excellent first impression, and ensures all delegates arrive on time. Welcome packs would be provided for the clients to examine during the journey as a first opportunity to introduce yourselves and your business.
Breakfast 140 feet above the Thames in the Walkways of Tower Bridge. This is a great venue to start the day as it’s one of the most unusual breakfast locations in London.
Transfer to London’s Heliport, where a fleet of helicopters await to fly your team and your clients out of London to a country retreat by the Thames, for example Marlow or Bray. If preferred, we could head down to Le Touquet in France.
The helicopters would take the guests over London’s landmarks and millennium developments and out over the countryside. We would arrange for an advertising feature to be watched en-route, for example a “grass-painting” that had a special message for your guests and a statement about your company.
After touchdown, it would be time to focus on business. We would produce an interactive multimedia experience that appealed to imagination, memory, intellect and humour to ensure the business message had a secure anchor in everyone’s memory.
Effective communication of the company’s message is a vital part of the day, and is an opportunity to underline the professionalism and creativity of the company through the people in your team.
A first-class lunch would follow, where the cuisine, service and entertainment would be conducive to building a rapport between the team and the clients.
A river boat would then provide a relaxed cruise down the Thames, which would include music and a wine tasting session, with a complimentary gift to take away. This is an opportunity to consolidate relationships for future business.
Finally, return to London by limousine.