Paddock magazine gets a chance to talk to Véronique Rousseau, Director of RC Concepts Monaco, an impressive company specialising in organising incentive and public relation events. We discuss the luxurious hospitality business and what exactly is it influenced by.
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Véronique believes that the hospitality sector of Formula 1 was doing very, very well until the financial crisis of 2008-2009. Since then, there can still be a decline felt in this sector, due to the economic situation and the lack of funds for marketing and communication of these particular events.
Later, the situation was not at all made any easier when certain governments applied new strict rules for hospitality events by controlling “public relations events” and so on. This had a huge influence on the European hospitality market, especially for the Formula 1 sector.
“Basically, the hospitality market is most influenced by the overall economic situation of Europe and the United States – it’s simple as that. It’s not true that fewer people choose to take part in Formula 1 VIP events or buy luxury hospitality packages because of something that’s going on in the sport itself”, Véronique states. “So what do people care most about Formula 1 hospitality today? Well, apart from the economic situation, the main thing is, of course, the view. And it usually doesn’t matter whether you’re on the second floor and right over the start/finish line or you’re on the twentieth floor overlooking the whole circuit – it’s crucial to just have this VIP feeling in your venue, which most of the time is unexplainable. Then come all the other arrangements of whether you can provide a brilliant breakfast/lunch or not, is the venue spacious or not and so on. A great balance of all these things assures a great balance of the Formula 1 hospitality experience, so every company is doing their best to achieve this perfect harmony”.
OM could and really should rely on the local hospitality agencies and companies more.
The business bonds
Formula 1 hospitality events still are a perfect place to start new business relationships and make other important contacts because they have this exclusivity that attracts the key players in the market, and everyone knows it. An event like the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix, for example, remains a very lucrative chance to explore the inside of the industry and shake hands with the right people you need to know in the business. Véronique is certain that Grands Prix like the one in Monaco should definitely keep their exclusivity and mystery, they should be limited and hard to reach.
As for the inside of managing these big events, Véronique is positive and direct: “FOM could and really should rely on the local hospitality agencies and companies more. That would make the whole Grand Prix process better for every single sector of Formula 1 events. Smaller companies can share the responsibility and take care of the whole event more delicately, thus making the spectacle more luxurious since they could spend more money on the actual spectator’s experience. Of course, this healthy competition would improve many other aspects of business too”.