February 2, 2023

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The Compass

10 Client Appreciation Event Ideas Customers Love

Whether you’re a part of a Fortune 500 company or are running a boutique hair salon out of your home, your business wouldn’t exist without clients. Showering clients with appreciation can help businesses, large and small, build a base of loyal customers, especially now, as we head into the holiday season. While some leaders choose gifts or special offers to recognize loyal customers, others host client appreciation events. In addition to providing leaders an opportunity to connect with customers face to face, the right client appreciation event ideas can demonstrate your genuine gratitude for all of the business that keeps your business going.

In this post, we’ll review a range of client appreciation event ideas that planners, sales managers, marketing teams, and business leaders can use to shower their customers with gratitude. We explore one-of-a-kind appreciation ideas that can have a lasting, positive impact on your business relationships. If you’re searching for appealing event ideas that excite your clients and propel them to interact with your business, this list is for you.

Drive customer satisfaction with these unique client appreciation event ideas

Appreciation, recognition, and personalization have a major effect on the way modern consumers behave. 91% of shoppers are more likely to give their business to companies that recognize their customers, appreciate clients, and provide consumers with personalized, relevant offers. Fill your calendar with a variety of appealing and enticing client appreciation events to achieve a range of business objectives, such as:

  • Improving the customer experience
  • Making personal client connections
  • Boosting the credibility of your company
  • Strengthening your brand reputation
  • Creating a culture of recognition
  • Building a local profile
  • Cultivating networking opportunities
  • Driving client satisfaction and retention

Expressing gratitude and appreciation for the business you receive from loyal clients can significantly impact the success of your business. 30% of consumers switch products or providers if they do not feel rewarded for their loyalty. Too often, sales and marketing teams put all of their efforts into creating loyalty programs, missing out on the incredible impact that client appreciation can have on retention. While customer rewards programs are a valuable tool, we explore client appreciation event ideas that will wow your loyal patrons and keep them coming back.

1. After-hours client reception

Throw an onsite after-hours reception for clients once a month. Invite customers to join business members in the lobby or courtyard for complimentary drinks and snacks. Send monthly email reminders to clients, detailing the changing theme or menu served at each event. Let customers know that you’re hosting the event for appreciation purposes only; there’s no pressure to engage in shop talk or make a purchase.

Encourage loyal clients to swing by after work for good company, gourmet snacks, and a glass of wine or locally brewed craft beer. Serve charcuterie boards or antipasto platters. Showcase fresh fare from local farmers or partner with event caterers in your area to provide guests with rotating, seasonal menus. A high-quality rotating menu, seasonal beverages, and a new source of entertainment each month will help ensure that client receptions stay fresh and exciting, offering new experiences at each event.

Try to avoid treating client appreciation event ideas like you would traditional corporate events. They should feel like a treat, not an obligation. Tackle planning a client reception similar to planning a cocktail party, focusing more on guest entertainment than personal goals or business objectives.

2. Valuable informational sessions

The promise of learning something new, for free, can be a powerful attendance driver for employee appreciation events. Host informational sessions, demonstrations, and lectures on topics that your clients care about. Provide loyal customers with a no-cost opportunity to learn a new skill, improve their business, or achieve personal growth.

Invite experts in the field, motivational speakers, and other special guests to lead sessions, answer questions, and attract more attention to your client appreciation event. Organize casual, catered informational sessions on topics that your clients will find valuable, and generate buzz for the session by promoting the event speaker. Educational sessions can be wide-ranging, covering a variety of topics, such as:

  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Launching a startup
  • Internship programs
  • Leadership skills
  • Business innovation
  • Technology trends
  • Modern marketing techniques

Ask clients which topics they want to see discussed at informational events. Strive to book experts with real-world experience in the areas your clients care about most. By consistently providing your patrons with substantive information they can use to improve their lives and businesses, you create a valuable educational loop that clients want to be a part of. Satisfied, valued customers are more likely to keep coming back.

3. Group tastings

Invite valued clients to join you for a fabulous group tasting session. Book a wine, beer, champagne, or bourbon tasting for a group of loyal customers at a renowned local venue. In addition to hosting tasting sessions, many wineries, breweries, and distilleries offer guided tours, cooking classes, seasonal dinner events, and other activities. Look for a venue that offers a variety of activities, allowing you to treat clients to a tasting, tour, and delicious snacks in a stunning location.

Microbreweries, distilleries, and tasting rooms may also be excellent locations for future networking events, workshops, or seminars, so make notes about the different venues you visit. Track attendance to determine which of your client appreciation event ideas are the most successful and which venues are most popular with your target audience.

4. Appreciation dinners

Reserve banquet space, a private dining room, or an intimate outdoor terrace, and host a delicious appreciation dinner with your most valued clients. Explore your finest local fare or invite guests to join you to try a trendy new restaurant. Work with the restaurant to confirm the size of their event space, deposit policies, how group service will take place, and when the final guest count is due. Extend a plus one to each guest and set a deadline for RSVPs.

5. Golf outings

Take your clients to the golf course, a relaxing place where everyone can feel at ease. Hosting client appreciation events on the course allows you to interact with customers in a new location, away from a traditional business space. The setting is perfect for building stronger client relationships as it provides opportunities for one-on-one conversations. Host golf outings to connect with clients you may not get to chat with very often.

Organize a golf tournament for clients, take a group golf lesson with a local pro, or spend a beautiful day playing all eighteen holes, but don’t bring up business unless the clients do first. Your objective is to show gratitude for your clients and get to know them better. In addition, it’s typically a good rule of thumb to hold off on drinking or smoking on the course until members of your party do. For many, having a cigar or drinking a few beers is synonymous with a day at the course, but every client is different. Avoid making your guests uncomfortable by waiting for them to take the lead.

Keep golfing groups small, as many courses do not allow more than four players in a group. If you’re hosting a large golf outing, keep track of client RSVPs. Allow clients to form small groups or assign players yourself. Course reservations can fill quickly, especially during peak golf season, so plan ahead. Contact the resort to organize and pay for the event in advance.

6. Wellness events

Promote a sense of wellness within your company and with your clients. Host wellness events that focus more on cultivating a sense of well-being than outcome-based events centered around a specific goal, like weight loss.

Connect with local fitness groups and instructors to create a network of skilled professionals with experience in a variety of fields, including fitness, nutrition, mental health, and mindfulness. Choose wellness-focused community event ideas that appeal to clients of all ages and ranges of physical ability, including:  

  • Yoga classes
  • Organic cooking classes
  • Hiking trips
  • Community walks
  • Foraging classes
  • Meditation seminars
  • Health screening fair

Get creative with your client wellness event ideas and locations. Host wellness events in the park, community centers, recreation fields, and other local spaces. Offer clients healthy snacks, smoothies, and wellness-focused promotional items, like sustainable branded water bottles or reusable totes.

Contact your local Parks and Recreation department to inquire about the rules and regulations for group events in public spaces. Some localities may require you to obtain a permit or pay a fee for groups over a certain size. Confirm the details in advance to avoid an embarrassing encounter with public officials who could ask you to leave.

7. Support the arts

Become a patron of local artists in your community and show your support through art-focused client appreciation events. Give back to the community by becoming a patron for local artists in the area, providing them an opportunity to showcase their work to a new audience. Invite clients to enjoy the sounds of local musicians, listen to readings from emerging authors, or visit a trendy local gallery to view a new collection. Celebrate diverse voices by hosting an open-mic event, poetry night, or art show.

Host artistic client appreciation events that appeal to your customer demographics. Exclusive shows that feature established artists often appeal to high-earners, whereas a community open-mic night may feel accessible to a wider audience. Organize an event that will appeal to your client base and promotes your company values.

8. Out-of-the-box classes

Host one-of-a-kind classes and create unforgettable experiences for your clients. Offer unique, memorable courses that will leave a strong impression on clients. Give customers a chance to have an experience with your company or business leaders, creating a fond memory that they are sure to share with others long after the event is over. Some of our favorite out-of-the-box lesson ideas for client appreciation events include:

  • Mandala rock painting
  • Pottery throwing
  • “Paint Your Pet” night
  • Identifying local flora and fauna
  • Plant-based living
  • Cooking with wine
  • Tie-dye workshop
  • Axe throwing workshop
  • Dream home design

Mix up your offerings so that your client appreciation event ideas appeal to patrons with different hobbies and interests. Provide clients with opportunities to explore art, food, nature, philosophy, the universe, and their own backyard.

9. Night at the movies

Host a private movie screening for your next client appreciation event. One of our favorite budget-friendly client appreciation event ideas, private theater rentals are affordable and easy to book. AMC, for example, offers private theater rentals starting at $99-$149, with additional snack and dining packages available for purchase. With the ability to accommodate large groups, event organizers can easily turn the affair into a family-friendly function.

10. Virtual appreciation events

Show your appreciation for long-distance clients and remote partners with virtual client appreciation events. Schedule a group video session on a virtual meeting platform like Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts. Make virtual events easy to access and connect to. Send virtual attendees email reminders one day and one hour before the event, providing a link to the virtual meeting room and any required login information.

Before the event, send appreciation gift baskets or boxes to each client, ensuring they arrive before the virtual event kicks off. Instruct clients to hold off on opening their gifts and participate in a live unboxing instead. Pack each gift with branded swag, scrumptious treats, gourmet coffee, event tickets, exclusive offer coupons, or even a bottle of wine for a virtual tasting session.

Kick off virtual events with an engaging speaker representing your business. Help attendees feel more comfortable by leading virtual event guests in a fun activity or group icebreaker. Discuss the special offers and products included in client gifts, and offer your sincere thanks before signing out of the event.

Frequently asked questions about client appreciation event ideas

  1. Should I talk about business at client appreciation events?

Appreciation events are about showing gratitude for what clients have given you, not asking them to give more. Don’t try to sell or pitch to customers during appreciation events. If an opportunity presents itself, however, and a client approaches you regarding a business-related topic or opportunity, you would be remiss to let the moment slip away. Instead, find a few minutes to slip away from the main event to discuss the matter alone.

  • Can attendees bring a guest to client appreciation events?

Yes! The whole point of hosting client appreciation events is to make clients feel comfortable, valued, and appreciated. Extending an invitation to friends and family is likely to make clients feel more comfortable at your event. Opening up client appreciation events to guests can transform them into entertaining outings, preventing them from feeling like business events.

  • How do you plan a client appreciation event?

Start by selecting your favorite client appreciation event ideas and identifying potential dates. Set a budget, book a venue, hire vendors, and invite clients. Hire or schedule enough event staff to meet client needs and provide additional customer service assistance if necessary. Send clients an event reminder that includes the date, time, and event location. Promote event speakers, door prizes, major giveaways, and special guests in email reminders. Extend a unique offer to employees unable to attend in-person appreciation events.

Put these client appreciation event ideas to good use!

Now that you’re equipped with a list of appealing, engaging client appreciation event ideas, let’s take a closer look at additional events that can benefit your business. Up next, we’re reviewing a list of corporate event ideas that actually excite attendees. Whether you’re hosting events for current clients, potential clients, business partners, or corporate leaders, you’ll find tips, tricks, and ideas in our next list.