The age of austerity has meant hospitality can no longer be seen as just a jolly out of the office, rather it has to be justifiable and beneficial in the longer term too. It can be argued that from this new age, corporate hospitality is increasingly being recognised as an important function for building relationships with key clients. This is not to say it never has been, but now the emphasis has shifted when buying hospitality to elements such as the length of face time buyers will have with their clients and what they can take away from the event, such as it’s memories of meeting a sporting hero or a cookbook signed by a famous chef.
However an often overlooked benefit of corporate hospitality is the benefit to internal communications it can have. The benefit can be to varying degrees, for instance a hospitality experience may be for staff rather than clients and if so the benefit is quite obvious. However there is still an internal communications benefit even if the hospitality is for the key clients’ benefit. By observing account managers, executives and directors interacting with key clients, other staff members may feel a wealth of benefits.
There can be direct benefits from staff attending a key-client hospitality experience as they’re able to observe their colleagues interacting with clients, revealing the different roles and relationships within the company. For instance they could notice that Colleague A has a very friendly relationship with Client A, which has been built over the years, whereas Colleague B may have a more formal relationship with Client B as the relationship is still in its formulative stages. Through a direct observation of the different relationships the company has with outside clients, staff will be better placed to coordinate their efforts and achieve a greater understanding both internally and externally.
Furthermore face time with both colleagues and clients allows staff members to see in action a clear corporate message. By directly observing the message being presented to key clients at a hospitality experience, this message may be further reinforced in the staff members. Seeing action from the top levels of management can have a powerful effect on staff.
Lastly let’s not forget the shock and awe element of a hospitality experience, particularly at a major sporting event. An informal atmosphere can break down traditional barriers as guests, as the promise of exciting sporting action creates a common. Clearer, franker discussions can take place when there is the common theme of sporting action, which is undoubtedly beneficial to both external and internal communications.