How to turn your hospitality activations into real business-generating opportunities
There are two ways to look at hospitality. Some marketers view it as a nice value-add to a comprehensive sponsorship package. Other dare we say smarter marketers look at it as a unique opportunity to move the dial on sales or other business objectives.
But making hospitality events a key player in your event portfolio requires a commitment to measuring and tracking the effectiveness of those events along with the cooperation of your sales force. In the end it’s up to them to invite and interact with those clients.
“It’s important for us to track our [hospitality] efforts so that we’re maximizing the effectiveness of our marketing efforts ” says Bruce Delahorne senior manager-national advertising at IT giant CDW. “If something is working well we want to expand it. If it’s not we’ll look to adjust or change how we’re hosting the event or ultimately stop doing it.”
What to keep in mind before and after your event to make the most out of your hospitality investment:
Don’t take it for granted. Instead of simply treating hospitality events as a way to schmooze with your best clients create solid objectives for client entertainment beforehand just as you would with any other event program. First determine what you want to get out of it suggests Keith Bruce cmo at Larkspur CA-based agency SportsMark. “Is it a shift in attitudes toward the brand versus competitors? Is it a shift in business? These are measurable entities.” So define them and measure them.
Keep track of invites. Once you know the goals determine what methodology you’ll use to identify which customers to invite including how they will qualify to attend.
Tony Schiller executive vp at Skokie IL-based Paragon Marketing Group works with brands on a web-based ticket accountability program that manages the ticket request process. Such an accountability system Schiller says ensures “that the salesperson is taking three or four different clients over time as opposed to bringing the same client over and over again.” (For more on ticket request systems see EM’s Emerging Technology Report on pg. 80.)
Follow-up. Once the event’s over focus efforts on surveying attendees. But wait a few weeks to reach back out Bruce says. “It’s still on their mind but they’re not influenced by the halo effect.” For business metrics—such as sales—wait even longer to check back to see if the entertainment influenced an uptick in sales.
Analyze. If you’ve kept track of the invite process your survey results and the sales generated from attendees an analysis of that data is where you’ll really discover how effective your hospitality programs are. “You can determine if Tuesday night tickets are used more than Friday night tickets or if baseball tickets are used more effectively than basketball tickets ” Schiller says. “It’s about creating an environment where you’re thinking intelligently about how this asset enhances existing relationships.”
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