How have client attitudes towards
VIP stadium hospitality changed
over the past five to 10 years?
Rak Kalidas: Market trends suggest clients are less
likely to buy corporate packages and are looking
for more experiential services. They need to appeal
to many demographics and offer different events,
locations and stadia. In the US, the trend is less about
providing white linen tables for five to 10 guests.
Instead, customers want to socialize and have a good
time. Exclusive access is also changing how people
experience events, including the AMEX Lounges
and access to Sky backstage passes.
Nick Gratwick: Technology has enabled
customers to not only choose their experience,
but also personalize it. Informal hospitality is more
prevalent. No longer is the starched white tablecloth
the only way to represent a premium product. It’s more
about offering a varied experience with areas to wander
and engage with like-minded people. With so much
competition, each venue is working hard to stand
out from the crowd.
Bill Dorsey: The industry has changed over 30
years. Today, the buyer has most of the power. The
days of long-term leases have declined. Buyers are
negotiating more with teams who have some inventory.
Meanwhile, customer experience has improved greatly
from the days when suites were sold out automatically.
At the same time, the price of suites and premium
seats has risen dramatically.
Roy Westwood: Hospitality used to be an open
goal. If the team was doing well, the club had a readymade
captive audience for hospitality spaces. Those
days are over. People now benchmark their venue
experience against other areas of their lives – the
high street, hotels, members’ clubs, holiday resorts,
airports. This means venues have to work harder
to grab their share of leisure spend.
What is the current standard for
stadium VIP hospitality? And in what
ways is this standard being raised?
RK: Because of changing attitudes and demographics,
we are creating tiered packages at a range of prices
at Tottenham Hotspur FC, Twickenham Stadium,
Aston Villa FC and Chelsea FC. New and exclusive
experiences attract not only brand loyalists, but also
people wanting an experience based on content and
access, as much as on the sport. Premium hospitality is
becoming more accessible so there’s growing demand
to create more experiential spaces. For example, at
Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium we opened The
Tunnel Club, an immersive super-premium experience
featuring a glass-walled restaurant and bar area with
a behind-the-scenes view of the players’ tunnel.
“Premium hospitality is
becoming more accessible
so there’s growing demand to
create more experiential spaces”
Rak Kalidas, commercial director, Levy
VIP HOSPITALITY ROUNDTABLE
80 www.stadia-magazine.com Showcase 2020