A one day conference with breakout sessions and networking opportunities for 50 delegates plus dinner in Prague, organised at short notice for a new client with specific requirements. Their budget was reasonable but also had to cover travel and accommodation.
Working with our trusted suppliers, we proposed a selection of venues with suitable accommodation and facilities, found a stunning solution for a combined dinner and networking event within the budget, and delivered multi-company branded merchandise to tight timescales.
Our client and their delegates were very kind in their feedback.
The organisation of the event delivered by Chill Out! was just excellent. From the beginning considering every small detail and preventing any possible eventuality...
This event was an opportunity for the client and representatives of their new partner company to come together from all over Europe and get to know each other - the people, the products and the sales techniques. One of the host companies was based in Prague so that city was a given, but everything else was to be decided.
Westcon-Comstor distribution Symantec Connect Summit.
The format for business was quickly decided as a plenary session plus multiple break-out presentation sessions. A 'get-to-know-you' activity was required as well as dinner on the first evening. Accommodation was needed for up to 50 attendees travelling from around Europe and the UK.
The client asked for suggestions for venues to meet their requirements and for the dinner and networking activity. They also needed help with jointly branded merchandise to meet the brand guidelines for both companies as well as accommodation and travel. Time was tight and they had limited resources and availability to manage the event.
- 1 day event for 50 delegates plus overnight stay
- Conference with plenary session and multiple break-out sessions
- Evening networking event and dinner
- Jointly branded gifts to promote the new relationship
- Pop-up banners and on-site branding
- Travel and accommodation arrangements
- A completely new and unknown client referred to us by a long-term contact
- We were not an approved supplier and so had no contract when we started work
- Relatively short timesales - 8 weeks from initial meeting
- High risk for us - it turned out to be less than 2.5 weeks from PO to event day
- Two large companies involved in jointly branding the event to corporate standards
- There was no opportunity for pre-event site visit to hotel or the dinner venue
The Chill Out! Solution
The timescales of this event meant that a number of things had to happen in parallel.
Approved Supplier Status
Firstly, Chill Out! had to complete the requirements to become an approved supplier to the client - not a trivial or quick process. Not being a supplier meant that we would have no contract for the work until well into the process - something we rarely do. More importantly it meant that we could not raise POs or contract venues and suppliers on behalf of our client.
Fortunately our long trading history and financial stability made this easier than it might have been. Our wonderful finance manager worked through all the requirements for the client so as not to distract from the detailed event management.
We communicated with our suppliers and venues as we always do to keep availability and contracts open. We completed the process in time to obtain final approvals for POs and contracts to lock down the event itinerary.
Finding exactly the right venue (venues!)
The Prague city location was a given, as were the dates of the event. Prague is full of beautiful venues, but we needed choices that could accommodate the event requirements. And of course we needed availability of both suitable presentation and break-out facilities, and accommodation for a not insignificant number of delegates.
With no time or opportunity for a pre-event visit with the client - something we almost always recommend - we called on our network of approved and trusted suppliers to work with a Destination Management Company (DMC) who had local knowledge and experience. With their help we were able to narrow down a shortlist of suitable venues to put to the client.
During an online meeting we were able to walk the client through the options and settle on a final choice that gave us the right balance of old-world charm and service in a great location, as well as a modern, flexible and very well equiped conference facility that could accommodate all our needs. With no on-site visit, we used virtual tours of the facilities to decide how to structure the event.
The best laid plans... be ready to react and adapt
Once on site, we realised that the hotel's suggested break-out rooms, while perfectly acceptable, were not to the same modern standard as the plenary session space. We were able to work with the venue to adapt the main session space during the breaks to accommodate our break-out needs. The whole event ran seamlessly within the main conference area, giving the delegates an excellent experience.
Creating a fabulous dinner and networking experience
We needed a fabulous venue for the evening dinner and networking activity. Working with our DMC we put together a list of local restaurants and fine-dining venues for the client to choose from. However we also discussed the real requirement of this 'get-to-know-each-other' event.
For us, events are always all about the delegate experience. Your guests will always remember how much they enjoyed their time with you and what value they took from it, more than how much you spent on a swanky venue and top-class chef. And the real question is whether an activity actually meets your business needs.
In this case the primary need was to get the two camps of delegates talking. We felt that a formal sit-down dinner would restrict guests to only talking to the people around them. For us, a buffet style, fun, informal event that encouraged people to mingle was the right solution. Our client came on board with our idea and the rest, as they say, is execution!
Our DMC came up trumps in that they had recently hosted an event on the brand new Bohemia Rhapsody - the latest addition to the fleet of cruise boats that ply the Vltava River that cuts through Prague. This delivered exactly what the client was looking for to give their delegates a memorable experience and build some great relationships. And the changing scenery of beautiful Prague was a constant conversation starter!
We were able to provide a great experience, a high-quality buffet dinner and drinks, games and entertainment as well as transfers between the hotel and the boat for less than some of the quotes for restaurant dinners. It just shows the value of looking at options and remembering the original brief!
Everything else is equally important
Our ethos is "On budget, on message, on time, every time!" So you can imagine that managing budget is a key focus for us - and we recommend it is for you too! It's very easy to allow brief creep and good intentions to drive over-spend.
For this event we had a reasonable budget but there's never any point in wasting any of it. We uses our travel contacts minimise flight costs and our network of trusted suppliers to deliver the branded gifts, banners and branding to meet corporate standards at an acceptable price - despite tight timescales.
Comments and quotes
Feedback from the delegates only highlight our earlier comments on memorable events -
Thank you for hosting a great event in #Prague. It has been a good opportunity to find synergies within our strategies and teams in order to deliver greater value to our customers and partners... also to enjoy a nice and interactive boat trip along the Vltava river.
This from the EMEA Business Lead at the client
The organisation of the event delivered by Chill Out! was just excellent. From the beginning considering every small detail and preventing any possible eventuality. This is what made us go to the event with the comfort of knowing that everything was taken care off, allowing us to focus on business relationships without any disruption. Giving great ideas to help us build the best atmosphere to engage with our Partners. The team was very professional at every stage, resulting of an amazing event from beginning to end.
For Chill Out!, that customer quote says it all. We believe that it's our job to deliver great events so that you get to chill out with your customers.
This is what made us go to the event with the comfort of knowing that everything was taken care off, allowing us to focus on business relationships without any disruption.
The first event for any new client is always the most difficult - you're both getting to know each other, your likes and dislikes and the way both organisations work. Be open about it, communicate and, most importantly, listen to the underlying needs as much as what's said.
Whether it's your first time with us or, like some of our clients, we've run hundreds of events together, it's all about becoming part of your team. It's about delivering every individual event to the same high standard our customers have come to expect.
In this case we know we have started a relationship that will last for many years and deliver some wonderful events and many happy experiences. What can we do for you?