Meet Josh. Josh is the head of The Queen’s Club Championships, hospitality sales. We spoke to Josh to find out what it takes to create the ultimate hospitality experience at the Queen’s Club Championships.
Tell me what we can expect from the hospitality experience at the Queen’s Club Championships?
So at the Queen’s Club Championships, there are two very different areas of hospitality, one being the Club House. A very traditional and exclusive facility; they take great pride in what they offer and rightly so. Within this area sits the President’s Room, The Real Tennis Dedans and the Real Tennis Museum – three of our premium hospitality facilities.
The second experience we offer is a temporary structure specifically for the tournament. It’s built on top of their practice courts and offers a range of hospitality to cater for all budgets. These facilities include the Roof Terrace and the Club Lounge, both with access to the terrace. This outdoor terrace is extremely attractive part of the package due to tournament being hosted in June and the proximity of this hospitality area to the practice courts. The third temporary facility we offer is Love Fifteen, located below the Roof Terrace and Club Lounge, but equally well located near the courts.
So you said there’s something for everyone – is it just the different budgets that you cater for?
Again it’s a range, but there’s definitely a package to cater for all budgets.
However it’s not just different budgets we cater for, but also different entertaining priorities – some facilities focus more on the food, while others cater for companies to entertain large groups, with a more relaxed dining option.
Secondly, the tickets within the packages are different; different options offer different seating positions. We understand the client’s priority and make sure these needs are met. We work very closely with the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) whom through years of working together, offer us a blank canvas to create these hospitality options.
And how does that blank canvas get filled – how soon do you start work on the next year’s event?
From the first day following event there is continuous communication between the LTA and Keith Prowse. A thorough assessment is done during the tournament, looking at what can be improved and adjusted. As we build the structure from the ground up, we have the flexibility and freedom to add and adjust year on year.
It sounds like innovation is quite important. Would you say that The Queen’s Club Championships is a good demonstration of Keith Prowse’s ability to innovate?
Yes, and I don’t think it’s just within hospitality either. The event itself is growing year on year with the LTA increasing last year’s capacity by an extra 2000 seats.
It means that there’s a constant list of things that are changed from their end and we have to adapt to these changes. It’s a constant evolution.
The fact that it’s moved to an ATP 500 event has increased demand, meaning we have needed to increase our hospitality capacity. In turn, creating different challenges for the events team – can they innovate and make improvements whilst also showing that they can add more numbers in?
You keep talking about your relationship with the LTA, it sounds like the partnership is quite close. How important do you think that is when you’re building this kind of experience?
I think the LTA and Keith Prowse do work very well together. Each team has its own point of contact, whether it’s sales, marketing or events. We all meet regularly to ensure that everything runs smoothly in the lead up to the event. The event wouldn’t be such a success in terms of hospitality if we didn’t have such a close relationship.
Going back to the event itself, what do you think sets the Queen’s Club Championships apart from other events?
The event itself is so unique in that it’s a central London based tennis tournament tucked away from the hustle and bustle. It’s so exclusive and intimate – the fact that it’s now an ATP 500 event is drawing in even more of the top players which is amazing. You don’t need to go to Wimbledon to see the best players play.
Queen’s doesn’t have that big stadium feel; you’re not one of many. It really is exclusive and the hospitality is completely unique. Where else can you stand outside in the morning with a glass of champagne and watch Andy Murray warm up? That’s something really unique to Queen’s.
Normally hospitality is seen as a corporate thing to do – would you agree? Or do you think that more and more people are coming for personal enjoyment?
I think that there is a mix. There is a significant corporate appearance, especially during the week. But there is also a notable move towards people going on a personal basis. It’s a way to get access to the best seats and often get access to a sold out event. There are facilities that are more corporate than others, but the way demand is developing the events team make sure that both types of guests are catered for.
Moving on to hospitality as a business tool – how important do you think it is for businesses to use hospitality in the modern world?
Very. If you look at the event side and using the LTA as an example, the money that is generated from hospitality is so important to what they do at grassroots level.
From a corporate point of view, nowadays people are so busy and their time is so stretched. Having eight hours with a client, where you actually get to know them on a personal level, as well as a business level, helps develop and maintain key relationships.
So through the grassroots element business are able to use it as part of their marketing strategy as well as their CSR strategy?
Of course, there is this issue sometimes that people think this is the price of hospitality and this is the price of a ticket, why is there so much difference? One of the reasons is the charitable work that comes out of it; I think that if companies understood what they were contributing to it would be different. If people realised that through buying a package from Keith Prowse their money is going into these grassroots schemes, often changing their perception.
How long have you been working at Keith Prowse?
Three years at Keith Prowse and just over a year as an event manager.
Finally in three words how would you describe the Queen’s Club Championships?
Intimate, Exclusive, Growing
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