The realm of client hospitality and luxury lifestyle is buffeted by the winds of change as much as any other industry – and it is fascinating for industry stalwarts to observe as trends and tastes shift year on year.
Whilst some events remain timelessly popular – particularly quintessential, national events such as Wimbledon, Royal Ascot, the French Open, the Masters at Augusta, the FA Cup Final, etc. – others are beginning to come to the fore of the luxury lifestyle market for the first time. 2016 sees the heady rise of the Music Festival continue, with many long-running festivals becoming increasingly popular with high-end clients. Interest has soared in backstage passes, VIP tickets that allow guests to avoid the crowds (and mud) by scooting between stages through hidden ‘rabbit runs’, and access to private parties like the über-cool Neon Carnival at Coachella Festival. Each year we find more and more elite clients avoiding the queues by booking helicopters to arrive in style and party with the cool kids at events like Glastonbury, with reservations at the luxury yurts, cabins and huts available to those in the know.
As well as the defining live performances, hedonism, hippy vibes and sunshine of the festival world, summer also holds the promise of two of sports most captivating spectacles. The Olympic Games in Rio will gather the globes best athletes, and hundreds of thousands of eager fans, keen to cheer on their nations finest. Many are taking the chance to dip their toes in Brazil’s deep reservoir of natural and man-made treasures, with guided Amazonian river excursions and extended stays in Rio being a regular feature in itineraries. Combining the Opening Ceremony and a few days watching the worlds finest sailors battle it out in Guanabara Bay with some caipirinhas on Copacabana Beach seems to be an understandably popular trend with the elite traveller.
EURO 2016 is capturing the attention of many a football fan now domestic seasons are drawing to a close, and with the tournament taking place in France, we have found that it’s not just European clients eager to grab a premium seat at the biggest games. There has been a huge spike in interest from the East Asian market, with an exponentially increasing demand from wealthy Chinese, Japanese and Korean fans combining a cultural week or two in Europe with hospitality and best-in-house seats at huge fixtures, as well as – frequently – trackside pit passes to a race at a classic Formula 1 circuit like Silverstone, Monaco or Monza.
Another palpable change of note is the broadening of approach from corporate clients booking entertainment and hospitality for their staff and guests. 2016 has so far bought with it another increase in bookings and reservations of an ever-expanding range of events. Corporate Hospitality teams are just as interested in taking their clients to rugby, football, cricket, concerts and the opera, but will now pepper their schedules with entertaining key individuals at Award Shows like the BAFTAs or OSCARs, Film Festivals like Cannes, Art Basel, Fashion Shows and Movie Premieres. Access to the red carpet for films like the forthcoming Harry Potter: Deadly Beasts and Star Wars: Rogue One have always been popular with private clients, but it has been noticeable how many corporate entities will now consider such events as an alternative to schmoozing on the golf course. Perhaps this reflects the wider changes in our increasingly globalised modern reality – as business, industry, culture, luxury, and indeed our very lifestyles diversify, so too do our tastes.
Written by Daryl Coles of Flag in the Sand