Client hospitality is truly a great investment as it focuses on one of the most important parts of your business – the client, and without clients you do not have a business.

A common perception of client hospitality is one of an extravagant setting with over the top catering and luxuries. This doesn’t have to be the case though, as businesses with limited budgets could opt for something less formal that can still interest and engage their clients.

The reality is that client hospitality does require an investment but also provides a return on that investment when you get it right. The key is to not assume that you know what your client wants. Talk to them and listen to what their interests are to ensure that you provide them with an experience that really appeals to their nature and personality. This will also demonstrate how well you understand and connect with them when you host the perfect event.

Client hospitality is a highly effective way to take a new or distant relationship with a client to the next level. Getting away from the office into a more informal setting will create a good base for relationship building as you get to know your client on a more personal level. It is a great chance to demonstrate your commitment to them, impress them and have a fun day out. The cost of maintaining existing relationships is far less than attracting new clients to replace ones that have been lost. Clients also tend to spend more with suppliers who they have stronger relationships with, as people tend to do business with people they know and like.

Although hospitality is most often associated with client entertainment, all of its principle benefits can be equally applied to companies internally. Corporate hospitality is an excellent way to thank staff for their loyalty and to differentiate your business from other potential employers. It is also an excellent way to strengthen bonds within your own business, which in turn has valuable benefits for morale, motivation and teamwork.

The Bribery Act which was introduced in July 2010 has made some businesses more wary of client hospitality but the liability of small and medium sized companies is minimal and hospitality is not prohibited. You can find out more about this on our blog Client Hospitality and the Bribery Act 2010.

All in all, hospitality is a perfect gesture to thank clients and staff for their loyalty and at the same time creates positive, lasting memories.