1. Does the company have a wide range of hospitality packages and products on offer? Check the company’s website thoroughly – a good, reputable supplier should have a comprehensive selection of packages available across a wide spectrum of events. To be able to offer hospitality at premium events such as the Six Nations Rugby, Test Cricket, the Cheltenham Race Festival and British Open Golf, the company will by definition have to have good working relationships with the senior players in the sports hospitality industry. To sell official packages at these events, companies have to be approved ‘Secondary Ticket Agents’, and therefore an official supplier.
2. Does the company organise its own events, as well as being a third party provider? This is another indicator of their standing in the hospitality industry. If they organise their own events, what is the calibre of the sports people they work with? A company that has a solid track record of working with household names in the sporting world is likely to be a good choice, as this shows that they are well connected and trusted. The type of venue in which these events are held is also worthy of consideration; a well-regarded venue such as a suite in a top stadium or a high-end hotel is always a good sign. Judging the overall quality of bespoke events in terms of speakers and venues is definitely one method of sorting the wheat from the chaff.
3. Is there an Events Gallery, and a video archive of previous events? If a hospitality company is proud of the events it hosts for clients then there should be plenty of visual evidence to check out on the website. Taking a few minutes to view coverage of past events will give you a feel for the calibre of what is on offer; video footage is particularly useful as it will often include interviews with clients.
4. Does the company have a Testimonials page, on which there is plenty of positive feedback? Good hospitality companies always have a Testimonials page on their websites, and it is worth reading through the comments that people have left. Consider if the feedback left rings true – there is nothing to stop disreputable providers making up positive comments, so don’t be afraid to do a quick search on the internet to make sure the referee’s company actually exists. Ideally, testimonials should include a full company name and surname of the referee, so that the authenticity of the entry can be cross-checked with a bit of research.
5. Are you able to easily contact the company both over the telephone and via email? Before making any booking with a new company it is always worth calling their customer service number, and sending an enquiry via email to check that it is easy to contact staff, and that queries are dealt with promptly. Well-established companies should also have a secure on-line payments system, and it is important to check what security safeguards are in place before you make any purchase.