It’s official! Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, says the UK’s economic recovery has “taken hold”. The Bank’s quarterly inflation report raised the forecast for the UK’s economic growth this year and next. As a business that provides corporate entertainment and team building events at our venues in Surrey, Milton Keynes and Manchester, the state of the UK’s economy is pretty important to us. The general level of confidence about future demand amongst business owners has a very direct impact on their decision as to spending on both customer entertainment and team building events.
Maybe I shouldn’t admit it, but a good friend of mine is a banker. He told me in 2008 that the credit crunch would take five years to “shake out”. At the time I recall telling him that whilst the UK economy may usually follow five year cycles, it felt like the current situation was so bad it would pobably take longer. As I drove into work this morning listening to the Today Programme on Radio 4, they were focussing on the Bank’s announcement and speaking to restaurant owners who claimed that they were seeing increased spend as a direct result of the new confidence. It is similar for Daytona. Back in the 90’s, we saw over 70% of our revenue come from corporate entertainment. This dipped slightly between 2000 and 2008, but when the credit crunch came it dropped dramatically. As a result we became a lot better at focussing our attention on the leisure market.
In recent months we have definitely seen an increase in corporate demand – although the biggest difference is that budget holders are not just looking for “a jolly”. Now they want to ensure that their budget equals measurable results – whether that be in customer loyalty, staff motivation or team-building. We have spent a lot of time making sure that our event formats are geared up to deliver those results.
A team endurance race combined with our F1 Pit Stop Challenge is proving very popular amongst corporate clients. Splitting your guests into teams and giving them the dual challenge of competing in an endurance race and changing the wheels on a real F1 car helps bond teams together and teach them how to work together.
We are also seeing an increase in the number of corporate bookings that wish to use our venues’ conference facilities before they head out on to the circuit. Combining a meeting with a participative event seems to be very popular with event organisers keen to show their boss that the spend is worthwhile!
Whilst I am really glad that we are seeing the recovery, I am not so pleased that I will have to tell my banking friend that he was right!