(From New Straits Times (Malaysia))
Byline: Catherine Chetwynd
THERE was a time when corporate hospitality consisted of the managing director (MD) or chief executive officer (CEO) treating his most important client to a good lunch at a posh restaurant - or better still, the club.
But attitudes to corporate entertaining have changed. In the 1980s, the emphasis in the United Kingdom was on numbers and alcohol. Companies would take as many as 200 people to an event, supply copious amounts of champagne, enough food to keep the wolf from the door, and pour their guests home at the end of the day. Then came recession - always concentrates the mind - and for a while, hospitality went quiet.
Large organisations could hardly justify laying off dozens of staff one week and spending enormous amounts on jollies the next.
But entertaining is an accurate barometer of the state of the nation, and as the economy started to pick up, so did corporate hospitality, if on a smaller, more focused scale.
Corporate hospitality has become an essential marketing and business tool and the industry has grown from being worth STG400 million in 1992 to just over STG700 million last year.