When we first opened our first karting venue in late 1990, we were in the right place at the right time. More by luck than judgement though. Within a year of opening the circuit in Shepherds Bush (opposite the BBC Television Centre), we were fully booked every evening for “corporate” events. City banks, dealers, traders etc would book us for frequent, regular race nights.
Of course, it helped that the circuit was an awesome drive and that we invested in the best karts, racewear and staff, but there was plenty of demand for corporate events. The Porsche-driving Yuppies of the 80’s had grown up slightly, but the Flaming Ferrari’s were following close in their wheel tracks. We didn’t take the mickey – a race night cost just £37.50 in the early days, plus maybe £8 for a burger and unlimited soft drinks. With hindsight, maybe we should have charged a lot more!
Obviously things have changed. Since the “credit crunch”, the financial sector stopped going karting and that changed the event landscape.
When thinking about corporate entertainment, I am reminded of a conversation a colleague had with an event management company a couple of years ago. When one of his managers was asked what their company did, he was explaining that they provide team-building and skills training within an activity day, when his Boss interrupted and said “No… we just provide corporate jollies… we charge companies a lot of money and we give their staff and their guests a ******* great time”.
You won’t be amazed to learn that the company above is no longer trading – having seen its bookings fall off a cliff when the crunch came.
The days of corporate “jollies” are very much behind us. Daytona has always prided itself that its events provide a range of benefits to our clients. Our team -endurance races are probably the most effective team-building events you can have without sending your team 250 miles into a desert with one bottle of water, a sheet of plastic and no satellite phone. Combining your personnel and/or clients into a competitive team in an intensive race against the clock, that rewards strategy and tactics better than fast laptimes, delivers a strong bonding exercise in less than two or three hours.
If you are considering an event for your team or clients (or to combine both), here are our top five tips to make your event a success:
1) Consider your audience; Make sure that your audience will enjoy the activity. There isnt much point in taking a group of 20 year old blokes to Hampton Court Flower Show – or taking a bunch of 50 year old women to play paint ball in a forest.
2) Consider your objectives; Think about what you are looking to achieve from the day. If you are looking to bond your account managers with their key client’s personnel, maybe an individual sprint race where winner takes all is not the answer.
3) Consider the supplier; When you invest budget in a corporate entertainment event, the choice of supplier will make or break the event. Luckily there are very few people in the events and hospitality industry who aren’t actually hospitable, but you do need to ensure their facilities, equipment and staff are as good as they can be.
4) Consider the timings; How long can you or your clients spare the people for? Would a two hour long event actually achieve the same results as a two day long sortie? Can the attendees be spared during the working day or should the event be during the evening or weekend?
5) Spend enough! In some countries, companies are required by law to spend a minimum proportion of their turnover on staff and/or client entertainment. When you are trying to reward or incentivise people to help you increase turnover by £millions, don’t think that a glass of cheap wine or warm beer after work will cut it.
Once you have all of the above sorted, you can then look at the more obvious things – such as location, time of year etc – and then you can start looking forward to the event and the results thereof. But only if you do the most important thing… follow up! Think about how to leverage the positive results generated by the event into positive results for the business.