We meet Charlene Nyantekyi, Head of Hospitality Sales and Operations at Formula E, to talk about what’s new in the hospitality sector of electric high-end racing.
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How is the hospitality sector of Formula E doing in 2017?
We are almost mid-way through our third season, so it’s crucial we continue to improve and evolve our premium experiences while welcoming fans, customers and clients to follow Formula E for the remainder of the season at some of the most exciting venues in motorsport.
The EMOTION Club continues to be a success, with sold-out lounges at our inaugural events in Hong Kong and Marrakesh. The Monaco race is one of the most popular for hospitality packages. What better way to watch Formula E than on the harbour in the Principality.
We are also pleased to be hosting the FIA Smart Cities Forum at select events for the remainder of the season in the EMOTION Club, providing us with an opportunity to showcase our incredible facilities to a whole other audience.
Formula E continues to attract some of the biggest names in sport, music, film and television to experience the electrifying wheel-to-wheel action that the electric street racing series has to offer.
Has the face of Formula E changed, in your opinion?
I don’t believe we’ve changed much as a series, but we’ve grown with the addition of new partners, manufacturers and increased fan base. Our fundamental values of being an exciting, accessible and engaging racing series in the heart of the world’s leading cities haven’t changed.
Each ePrix brings a new opportunity and the chance of innovative and unique experiences, allowing us to learn from any failings, celebrate our successes, learn from both and look ahead to the next event.
Once the goggles come off, they are able to lunch with drivers and have the opportunity to go on a tour of the team garages enabling us to create a 360 experience.
How could the high-end racing hospitality sector still be improved?
In order to stay ahead, each series has to focus on what makes them unique and build on this. We race in the heart of cities, so our premium experience is often set against the most incredible backdrop providing an extra special touch to the guest viewing experience. Inside the EMOTION Club, guests can test their skills by racing in one of our simulators, or put themselves in the seat of one of our drivers and relive a previous ePrix using virtual reality headsets. Once the goggles come off, they are able to lunch with drivers and have the opportunity to go on a tour of the team garages enabling us to create a 360 experience.
When new sponsors, brands or manufacturers enter Formula E, what kind of impact does that have on your work?
It’s a very exciting time to be in Formula E. This season Panasonic Jaguar Racing joined the series, Roborace has also become part of the Formula E family, demonstrating their incredible driverless Robocar. Allianz was also recently announced as a global partner and official partner of the eVillage fan zone.
For me, this provides a wealth of opportunities to add to and create new types of experiences on a variety of levels. Our teams and partners are very engaging, and always keen to activate in innovative ways.
Last time you talked to us about creating memorable, detailed moments for your guests. Tell us about a few surprises that the VIPs of Formula E might experience or have experienced already?
I won’t give away any secrets, but we are working on a project creating a 10-piece sustainable fashion collection highlighting the synergy between sports, fashion and sustainability.
This will be showcased in the EMOTION Club at the Berlin ePrix with the pieces to be auctioned off at the end of the season. This is just one example of bringing a different dynamic to our event day experience, providing guests with something that they may not have been expecting but will absolutely enjoy.
The rest – if I told you… well, you know how that sentence ends!
Absolutely. So where do you think the global hospitality sector is going in terms of technology, client profiles, or the way people buy/get these experiences?
I believe there is an increasing focus on engaging with clients outside of the event day in order to anticipate their needs. Mobile apps can be an extension of the online and race day experience, providing a platform to share relevant content in preparation for, or following on from, the event day.
Today many tasks are executed through various apps. Whether you are paying a bill, checking-in for a business flight or even seeing if you have hit your target step count for the day. The reality is more people are purchasing tickets via mobile platforms than ever before, so our industry needs to be ahead of the curve to maximise on this. Having a solid CRM system around this is also key for us to truly see what the “needs” are, how we respond to them and where we go next.