Saturday, February 28, 2009

To entertain...or NOT entertain?

Count the corporate hospitality/entertainment industry as one of the casualties of the current economic crisis and the focus on corporate mis-use of government funding.

The following article appeared in today's Weekend Edition of the Wall Street Journal.

Corporate hospitality has been a key component of selling and retention efforts by corporations for years. And, golf has been a sport that lends itself to corporate entertainment. Typically corporations will bring customers and prospects in for a long weekend of golf playing, golf viewing, and food and drink.

The current dilemma--do corporations continue this kind of activity? Can entertaining, at the corporate level, be rationalized...or does it go away in light of the scrutiny?

"You've got to let businesses do what they know how to do best to make money," a quote reads in the article. The question--are we willing to trust those companies who are receiving federal monies?

One of the problems is the appearance of lavish spending which are the optics of any corporate entertainment. Other marketing expenditures (e.g., advertising) aren't under the same scrutiny--or so it appears-- for those who receive relief funding.

It's a thorny problem and one that is affecting the golf industry and those businesses linked with corporate entertaining. It will be interesting to see how it affects those companies who have used corporate entertainment as a key strategy to win business...and keep customers.

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