What’s different about VU LTD? What do you offer/do that sets you apart from other corporate hospitality players in the sports arena?
There are many corporate hospitality companies in the UK offering access to the major sporting events but what sets us apart from all the others is our commitment to our clients in offering a truly bespoke, highly personalised and trusted service. As MD of VU Ltd and as a former England + Bath rugby player, we are known for our rugby hospitality: The Six Nations, Lions Tours, the newly named Old Mutual Wealth Series, the 7’s etc , It is an offering that we do extremely well and one that my staff and I very much enjoy delivering. I, together with my former rugby colleagues host all the events and we endeavour to get to know our clients, spend time with them and ensure that they have a really good time with us. But it is not just the rugby that we are known for. We are able to secure tickets and hospitality to all major global sporting events, but again with our focus being on the high end and very much tailored to our clients.
What relationship do you have with the UK travel trade? i.e. how can the trade work in partnership with you to book groups and events with you and what incentives do you offer bookers?
As we look to grow the business, we are now in a positon to offer increased trade partnerships. We offer trade commission based incentives to all our partners.
What booking trends are you noticing right now? i.e types of corporates, size, sports in demand, etc?
We are continuing to see an appetite for all the major sporting events both UK and abroad. The large corporates remain persistent bookers, as are a handful of small to medium sized companies. However, the Bribery Act and increased regulation especially in the financial sector has meant a huge reduction in spend by that sector.
Domestic rugby remains a constant in terms of popularity. Naturally if the home nations are doing well, it helps. England’s recent spectacular performance against Australia this year has already resulted in an increased demand for the Old Mutual Wealth Series this autumn and the Six Nations 2017. We are also seeing a steady interest in weekend packages to European events where individuals are now booking these privately rather than relying on their corporate spend.
How is the world of corporate hospitality in sport evolving? i.e. what’s new?
The Rights holders to the main sporting events are increasingly tending to have greater control and the terms that they now offer corporate hospitality companies. The effect is polarising one side of the market: the companies that offer hospitality to large numbers. This results in niche operators like us, having to focus even harder on offering our clients something different and even more personalised.
What are your plans for growing the business?
Our plan for the coming years is to very much stick to what we know. To very much concentrate on the events where we know where we can deliver a high standard on all aspects. This is not a time to deviate, it’s a time to strive yet harder to distinguish ourselves from the others in this market place.
One of our greatest testaments is our repeat business; our clients booking year after year. Our aim is to continue to build on this very solid foundation.