Martin Lines, marketing director, Nestle Professional
What type of hospitality events have you run in the past year?
We ran golf days, two incentive programmes to Iceland and Monte Carlo, plus four key industry-related event sponsorships. These were all part of a long-term strategy that ensures we keep a good profile in the industry, and allows us to build long-term relationships with our customers.
What do you have planned for 2009?
As one of the 12 founding partners of The O2, we use the venue as our primary vehicle for hospitality. We have a suite there that is for our exclusive use. With such a great choice of acts available, ranging from music and sport through to comedy and opera, we are able to bring customers, suppliers and partners to share with us the world's most popular entertainment venue. Also, we are a partner with Wembley so we can use that venue as a total contrast. Working in this way with our customers, we are able to ensure that our hospitality spend is maximised, with little need to go elsewhere.We also participate in a number of industry events and dinners.
Why is your suite at The O2 a good investment?
The O2 has proved to be a real crown jewel when it comes to offering clients something different. There is no other indoor arena like it in the UK, if not Europe, and we use it for both internal staff incentives and external customer client entertainment. As an exclusive partner, we are also given the chance to showcase our products to customers so they can see how they too can share in our brand success. Our relationship with AEG has meant we can offer a whole range of additional benefits that no other company in our industry can. For me, it has to be the best sponsorship partnership I have ever worked on, and that includes working on the Grand Prix in a previous role.
What changes have you made to your programme in the recession?
By having partnerships with the likes of The O2 and Wembley, we have been able to secure long-term value, so the recession has not affected our investment levels in the short term. Keeping close to our customers and partners is even more vital in tough times, and we will continue to look forward to ensure that we make the most from our strategic partnerships.