Pre-event planning: IT solutions firm Comms-care was looking for a venue and activity in which to engage some of its key customers. In deciding to hold a golf day at the Celtic Manor Resort, one key factor shone out. "The Ryder Cup was a big reason," explains Comms-care marketing manager Richard Eglon. "We were playing the 2010 course, and to be able to tread the fairways where some of the world's best golfers were going to be playing later in the year was a real draw for our guests. It gave the day real kudos."
Objectives: The event was ostensibly a way of saying 'thank you' to major clients for their business over the past year, but there was the hope too that it might lead to new business. Rather than trying to create a hard-sell environment, the company was looking for an event that would help build relationships and impact positively on it as a brand.
Challenges: Comms-care has its headquarters in Cheshire, with other UK offices in Berkshire and Somerset, while most of the company's clients are based along the M4 corridor. So finding somewhere that would be easily accessible was of high importance, given that the event had a 9.30am start. Rush hour was a further consideration.
Solutions: Choosing a venue so close to the Severn Bridge allowed the event to start punctually. Registration took place at 9.30am in the resort's new clubhouse overlooking the 18th green. The company had arranged seven 'fourballs', with each group comprising one Comms-care employee and three guests. Scheduling the event for July meant the spectacular rain downpours that affected the Ryder Cup itself were avoided. After the golf, a prize-giving session was held over a meal in the clubhouse - a single large banqueting table was requested, in order "to create a sense of camaraderie", says Eglon. Photographs had been taken of each player teeing off, which were turned around in time to be presented as framed mementos over the meal. "They also cleaned and bagged up all our guests' golf shoes - it reflected well on us as hosts," says Eglon.
Verdict: "It was the perfect way to thank our clients," says Eglon. "The industry we work in tends to be dynamic and responsive to a little bit of friendly rivalry, so it was ideal. The venue itself was professional but relaxed, which reflects how we like to interact with our customers. It made a refreshing change from some of the more stuffy golf courses we could have chosen."
Post-event analysis: The quality of feedback from guests was "unprecedented", according to Eglon. "I'm also pleased to say that we landed a piece of business as a direct result of the golf day that meant the day was more than paid for - and some."
Event: Corporate golf day
Group size: 28
Date: 15 July 2010
Venue: The Celtic Manor Resort
Early 2009: Initial site visit
Late 2009: Venue booked
May 2010: Invitations sent to clients
15 July 2010: Event takes place