Corporate events with a difference will help conference organisers defy credit crunch

22nd December 2008 reports news from Caterer & Hotelkeeper that there is a lot that event organisers in the catering industry can do to adapt to the current recession. Many firms are concerned that they will be the first to suffer from reduced spending in the corporate tourism sector, but there are many ways to appeal to cash-strapped UK businesses.

Diversification will be one of the key elements to running a successful events catering business for the foreseeable future, and less reliance on the Christmas period will be crucial for many firms. Businesses across the UK are dramatically reducing their Christmas party spend and a large chunk of the market this year has gone unsold. As a result, caterers need to diversify in order to appeal to a wider market. Companies that work in sectors such as finance and sport are less likely to be as badly affected by financial turmoil in the coming months, and so caterers need to expand their appeal to cover these markets rather than focussing on one speciality.

Charles Beer, chief executive of Crown Group, one of the biggest independently owned group of catering and event organiser companies in Britain, advises businesses to exercise caution when it comes to picking clients. He urges companies to run credit checks on clients so as to reduce the likelihood of a firm experiencing financial troubles before it has had the opportunity to deliver payment. This safeguards the monetary interests of the event organiser.

Minimising expenditure is clearly a key element to running a successful catering events business during the credit crunch, and the event organiser's selection of the party venue is crucial to this. Julian Saipe, managing director of Zafferano caterers, told the website: "The more the events venue already has the right kind of lighting, the right sound system, the right backdrop and so on, the less you will have to do to it."

In this way, choosing a purpose-built party venue can be a great way to save money, while an historical event venue can also be considerably cheaper than a more popular city location. Places such as museums and art galleries have the added benefit of stunning atmospheres and decors.

Alternatively, parties can be taken to the office itself, meaning that expenditure is limited to the food. In this case, Mr Saipe advises that more savings can be made by event organisers if they choose the "fun factor" rather than luxury food and drink items. White wine can be used to replace champagne, while focussing on an entertaining party environment reduces the pressure for more extravagant items on the menu.

In short, there are many ways that event organisers and caterers can adapt their business strategy to contend with the uncertainties of the current economy, and maintaining a positive outlook is certainly beneficial, alongside a healthy slice of lateral thinking. reports new research from Monster showing that 90 per cent of surveyed UK employees would ditch a Christmas party in favour of a cash bonus.