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Corporate thrills reach new highs

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Entertaining your client with a flight on a MIG-29 will cost you $18,000.

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LONDON, England (CNN) -- When it comes to corporate hospitality, companies are constantly trying to outmaneuver each other.

It is no longer about cocktails and canapés -- instead it's toys and tanks.

Excitement, entertainment and experience are the new buzzwords being used in the corporate entertainment business.

London firms are now taking their favorite clients on driving lessons. The only difference is, it involves a tank, as well as target practice using the armored vehicle's guns.

The winner of the day's contest gets a chance to run over a car with the tank.

"A lot of traditional corporate hospitality events like racing at Ascot and tennis at Wimbledon have been around for so long, and so many companies have actually done these things," says Rachel Elnaugh of entertainment firm, Red Letter Days.

"Yet every year they have the same clients they need to entertain, so they have got to come up with new, fresh and exciting things."

Another event aimed at thrilling clients involves flying a jet fighter, reminiscent of the movie Top Gun with Tom Cruise.

"There is a bit more risk involved in this one. But it is a good bonding activity and people are a little bit edgy," says Daryl Manning from Web site Warehouse, who used the service.

But catching the imagination of corporate customers comes at a price.

Entertaining at events like the Henley Regatta near London costs $600 a day, while a corporate hospitality seat at center court for the Wimbledon tennis tournament can set you back as much as $2000.

"The budgets are absolutely huge. But it is much more cost-effective to keep that customer than to actually go out and find new ones," Elnaugh says.

A day in a tank costs $400 a head, while a 30 minute flight in a jet adds up to $1,000. If you want something more authentic, a ride in a MIG-29 jet fighter in Russia will set you back $18,000.

"The whole team is relentlessly looking out for new ideas and increasingly we are actually creating events in response to what is in the media and what is popular," Elnaugh says.

Corporations are now able to offer trips up Everest or treks across Antarctica for their clients.

It is a bid to offer a once in a lifetime experience clients are unlikely to forget, although hot-air ballooning and health spa makeovers are more regular corporate fare.

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