You’ve been to one of our hospitality experiences. You’ve walked into a beautifully decorated room, had a lovely hostess take you to your seats. You’ve eaten a meal so delicious it makes your mouth water just thinking about it. You might have noticed a few special details that have made you stop and smile. You’ve watched an incredible sporting event and thoroughly enjoyed your day.
At some points during the day, you might have stopped to consider how it all works – who comes up with the ideas? How exactly do you bring a hospitality package to life?
At Keith Prowse, we’re hugely passionate about giving our guests the best experience possible. In innovating and taking your experience to the next level. And part of that is having an incredible team behind the events.
And we want to introduce them to you.
Rob is the Head of the Twickenham Sales and he sat down with us to talk about the hospitality packages we offer at this exclusive London-based venue.
Let’s start with going over the hospitality options available at Twickenham?
Hospitality at Twickenham is based over a number of different areas with six different package options. There is Rugby Club and Rugby House, which are our entry level packages based in the South Stand. We have Obolensky’s and Wakefield’s restaurants, which are more formal packages located on the third level of the East Stand with seats right outside. Then there’s St George’s suite, which is a premium package also located on the East Stand with East Stand tickets and Michelin-starred dining at the major international matches from renowned chef, Jason Atherton.
There’s also the Player’s Lounge which is one of our top hospitality packages based in The Live Room of the South Stand and has premium West Stand tickets. A number of England players that have just taken part in the match will head over for a Q&A and autograph signing session.
Then finally we have the Wakefield’s Boxes; four private boxes of 20 people next to the restaurant on the third level on the East Stand.
You seem to have a real mix of packages – is there something for everyone?
Everyone is pretty much catered for, especially in terms of prices. For the Old Mutual Wealth Series, you’ve got from £249 pp right the way up to £829 for a box – we’ve made sure there’s something for everyone here.
Twickenham is also really easy to get to via public transport and we do offer parking, though it is subject to availability.
And what, other than the range of packages, do you think makes Twickenham so unique?
As an iconic, world-famous stadium, it’s a destination in itself. Twickenham is the mecca for Rugby, it is the national stadium for the English rugby team and, arguably, one of the best in the world. It’s all about the game and the people who live and breathe the game.
If you add that together with the service and the quality of food that is here on every match – that’s what makes the experience so special. Whether you’re in an entry-level package, right the way up to the private box, you’ve got the support of the team: the hostesses, the chefs etc. – around you that make the experience what it is. It stands head and shoulders above a lot of other stadiums, which is why Twickenham has won awards such as ‘Best Stadium’ – it’s pretty indicative of the experience it provides.
What would you say the audience of hospitality is? Is there a selection of different types of guests or is it predominantly business clients?
The market for hospitality has changed in recent years with SMEs bringing in more targeted, higher profile guests to events, but the private market has also expanded. We’ve created a wide range of packages at Twickenham to cater to each. There’s something for the ‘dads and lads’ as well as for businesses taking clients out for hospitality.
Has there been a growth in personal bookings over the years? Or do you think it’s always been the same?
In the time that I’ve been here, I’ve certainly seen an increase of personal bookings; it’s been growing slowly but steadily.
Given that the majority of clients are businesses, how important do you think hospitality is in the business world?
Well, it always has been important. It essentially allows the client to cement relationships with their customers and on a deeper and a longer-lasting level. It gives business relationships more authenticity – their customers see them as people rather than just a business name and that’s really important.
Hospitality takes you out of both of your trading areas and puts you into neutral ground, with a common interest that you can share and enjoy together. And it’s a talking point moving forward.
How do you think the need for hospitality has changed given the change in how businesses communicates? With the dawn of emails and phone calls etc. do you think hospitality has become more or less important?
I think, arguably, it’s become even more important than before. Everything is so immediate nowadays, especially when you can get an email from across the world in seconds. That immediacy means you can cut a deal online without ever having to actually talk to anybody.
But, at the end of the day, we’re still people and getting to know your customer is still important. Nowadays, when you put a face to a name and build a relationship, you’ll find you’ll deal with that person for a longer period of time because of it.
Going back to the hospitality that you offer – you work in partnership with Twickenham. How important do you think that relationship is in order to create the packages that you do?
It’s hugely important; we work closely together with TEL (Twickenham Experience Ltd.), which allows us to develop packages that are in line with the overall goals set by the club.
TEL approve all of our hospitality experiences; we have a common goal and a common interest. We pride ourselves on being an official partner, and that shows in the entire journey you take – from the moment you step through the door, to the food you eat and the service you get. And, as official partner, we have to maintain that high standard and, going by the repeat bookings we get each year, I think we do it pretty well.
What advice would you give someone who was tempted by an unofficial package that may (or may not) be slightly cheaper?
I think there normally has to be a re-education in what the difference between official and unofficial means. It’s my job to give the client all the information they need to make an informed choice.
An unofficial supplier isn’t sanctioned by the RFU. The hospitality isn’t official and takes place outside of the stadium. The level of the ticket you get also isn’t guaranteed – basically you just can’t be certain of what you’re buying into.
With us, ultimately, we are the official supplier inside the stadium. You’ll get an official match ticket. You’ll have hospitality within a short distance from your seat and you can be confident and comfortable that you know what you’re getting and it’s from a reputable supplier.
Keith Prowse has its partnership with TEL, amongst other venues. They are known as the leader in hospitality, but what do you think puts Keith Prowse a step ahead of the pack?
Simply because we’re official, that’s it in a nutshell. Having that link with those respective venues, whether it be Twickenham, The Jockey Club, or the All England Lawn Tennis Club. It’s those partnerships across our events that sets us apart. It’s the authenticity those relationships bring, and the level of service we provide because of it. That counts for everything, in what we do and, more importantly, how we do it.
Do those official partnerships put the onus on Keith Prowse to always push ahead and innovate?
Without a doubt, with the label of ‘the official partner’ it’s in our interest to develop those packages and enhance them as much as possible. We’re always moving forward and looking ahead; seeing what areas there are in which we can improve for each and every one of our guests.
I know you’re still new to Keith Prowse, it’s been almost a year? But how long have you been working in the industry?
I’ve been working in the industry for 12 years. I worked in event management prior to this as well so I certainly understand the hospitality world in sports.
Finally, how would you describe the hospitality experience at Twickenham in 3 words?
Unique, distinctive and memorable