SINGAPORE - Heading into its sixth edition of the Formula One (F1) Grand Prix, organiser Singapore GP (SGP) has refreshed the corporate hospitality options offered at the race this year to keep companies coming back for more high-octane action.
"Building upon the invaluable experience gained from successfully organising the night race for five years, we are completely revamping the hospitality suites this year to take the guest experience to a whole new level," said Shamini Suppiah, SGP's assistant director (corporate sales).
Improvements include changes to the layout and the furnishings of the suites, as well as more flexible seating arrangements and tweaks to the food and beverage menu.
In some suites, changes to the layout in the built-to-order corporate boxes translate into up to 30 per cent more space.
In addition, SGP has introduced a 25-person corporate hospitality suite this year to accommodate smaller groups who want to maintain their privacy.
"Clients' feedback to these enhancements has been very positive, and we're seeing 80 per cent of our dedicated suite patrons returning for the 2013 F1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix," she added.
ANZ is one of the clients that will be returning to the race this year. The bank is expecting about 70 clients from Singapore and the region, including countries such as Indonesia.
"We feel that it demonstrates our commitment to Singapore," said a spokesman for the bank.
Last year, the race promoter exercised its option to extend its five-year contract to host the F1, which means the nation will remain on the calendar till 2017.
So far, SGP has released 65,000 grandstand tickets, about 5,000 walkabout tickets and 10,000 corporate tickets. About 70 per cent of the corporate tickets and general tickets have been sold to date.
Despite signs of slower growth in some Asian economies this year, buying trends appear similar to last year, SGP said.
Tourists from Australia and Europe typically snap up tickets much earlier so they can make their travel arrangements, which cements a proportion of sales.
Spectators from the region generally buy their tickets closer to the race itself, which suggests a clearer picture of regional sales might only emerge later, but SGP hasn't seen a fall-off in sales from fans in Asia as yet.
The slightly higher prices of corporate hospitality tickets do not seem to have deterred customers either. In the first price revision since 2009, the Paddock Club - which offers the best seats in the house at the Pit building - is going at $8,500 this year, up from $8,000 previously, while the Sky Suites are priced $350 more at $7,350 and the Club Suites are $250 more at $5,750.
The Green Room, which last saw a price revision in 2011, is going for $4,226 this year.
Following a tender process, Pico and Kingsmen were among the companies which are once again involved in the construction of infrastructure, although contract wins were also awarded to new players, such as construction company Sunray and design firm Mark Ormsby which are working on the lifestyle area in the Paddock.
Also returning to the Paddock area will be offerings from famed chef Nobu Matsuhisa and celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who are expected to deliver over 25,000 and over 35,000 plates respectively, over the weekend.
The entertainment line-up is also being beefed up, thanks to the launch of a separate ticketed closing concert at the Padang this year, which will feature Justin Bieber on Sept 23. Two more artistes are expected to be announced for the closing concert.
Spectators holding tickets for Grand Prix weekend can buy tickets for the closing concert at a preferential price ($98), or about 33 per cent cheaper than the regular price of $148 per ticket.
Meanwhile, as in previous years, SGP is bringing in a series of international stars to perform around the track during race weekend in a bid to attract both F1 fans and non-race fans to the Grand Prix.
This year's headliners include mega pop star Rihanna, American rock band the Killers, Korean band Big Bang as well as Grammy Award winner Tom Jones.
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