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May 18, 2008

Credit crunch leads trends in corporate hospitality

The first element of the events industry to be hit by the credit crunch affecting the financial markets could well be corporate hospitality, according to research by event agency Beyond Certainty.

Businesses are increasingly under pressure to show their shareholders value for money and are pulling away from traditional, perhaps more lavish, all-day hospitality jaunts, claims the agency.

It has already been widely reported in the media that expense claims have been cut at many of Europe’s leading investment banks. Beyond Certainty now claims that corporate hospitality, too, is under the spotlight of managing directors and finance directors, all keen to save money and not appear overtly extravagant in testing financial times.

According to the agency, events coming under pressure are those that particularly mar the lines between business and leisure time, such as the heavily entertained corporate golf day, yachting and the season’s sporting calendar of tennis, polo and rowing.

With the corporate hospitality market earning suppliers in the region of £1.5 billion last year, the summer months are set to be very competitive for companies directly involved in ticketing such events. Yet, while the more traditional hospitality activities have come under pressure, a distinct trend in niche events has grown according to Beyond Certainty director Elia Nicolas.

“We are noticing a growing demand for extremely specialised events that do not encroach on business hours, yet ensure that the corporate’s potential client will participate,” said Nicolas. “Taking a day out of the office for yachting around the Isle of Wight has long passed, as many corporates will no longer tolerate such expense. The growth is in the weekend market and after work hours. These type of events reflect the relationships that are in place and do not encroach on valuable business time.”

Beyond Certainty’s research has identified the ‘what’s hot and what’s not’ in corporate hospitality this summer:

Corporate hospitality
– Glastonbury VIP weekend
– Weekend retreats with spouses
– Michelin star Chef Table dinners, combining very good food and business chat
– A quick post-work round at City Golf to keep the handicap down
– Breakfast power networking/meetings

Corporate hostility
– A day out at Ascot, Wimbledon (midweek), Henley, Cartier Polo
– Corporate golf days/tournaments
– Ostentatious yacht hire on the south coast

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