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Conference & Expo for 800+
Rome Marriott Park Hotel, Rome, Italy
MPOWER represents McAfee's largest single bi-annual event for customers, prospects, partners and sponsors. Featuring a Partner Summit, Sponsors exhibition area, gala dinner, 2 days of breakout sessions and lots of networking opportunities, MPOWER EMEA is the European session of the global MPOWER tour.
The city location was fixed and dates for the event were tightly constrained based on executive management availability. With up to 800 delegates travelling from across Europe plus a complex multi-stream agenda and Expo, we needed a flexible conference venue, close to the airport and with accommodation. There was only one suitable venue with availability, but it came with its own challenges.
The event included an Expo exhibition space with several high-profile, paying sponsors, each with their own stand and branding requirements, all of which needed managing. And lastly, integrating our delegate badging and tracking with the existing MPOWER bespoke booking site and mobile app offered technical and management challenges.
The Chill Out Solution
Welcome to Rome
Delegates arriving into Rome Fiumicino airport were met at a dedicated welcome desk near arrivals and transferred directly to the hotel, which was a relatively short and easy transfer. However, the number of delegates arriving at different times meant that we needed a selection of various-sized vehicles available as necessary. We worked with our local destination management partner and a local transportation company to ensure that delegates were not left waiting at the airport.
Welcome to the McAfee Park Hotel Rome!
Chill Out has run several events in Rome and would normally offer a choice of venues to meet the brief. However, the timing constraints meant that only one venue had availability – and it wasn’t ideal. The Rome Marriott Park Hotel is a dedicated conference venue with all the space we needed and accommodation available in-house and in nearby hotels. But on our initial site visit, the venue was obviously tired and in need of refurbishment, especially for hosting a high-profile, hi-tech Summit and Expo.
The venue may be tired, but the conference and banqueting staff were really on the ball. We worked with them to dress and brand, not just the main plenary stage, but all the areas we were using. One executive even commented that they thought they were staying in a McAfee hotel. Job done! With signage, branding and private transport from nearby hotels we were able to provide real McAfee hospitality for all from beginning to end.
This event turned out to be the largest MPOWER EMEA yet with over 800 delegates attending. Despite the publicity before and the pre-registration pages, a significant number of attendees had not completed registration or paid the fee. In planning the arrivals area, we took care to have on-site registration, badge-printing and payment services to cover this eventuality. All our delegates, registered or walk-ins, were able to register and were seated ready for the Plenary Session to start on time – as we always do!
As with most conferences of this type of, a critical aspect was managing the transition from main plenary sessions into the 8 individual streams for the afternoon under extremely tight time constraints. Chill Out! coordinated dedicated break-down and set-up crews consisting of venue staff, our AV and production suppliers and our own on-site team. Our delegates enjoying lunch in the Expo area were happily unaware of the frenetic activity happening all around them.
The afternoon sessions were able to start on time and stayed that way. Using clear signage, on-line and on paper information plus trained support staff as guides, we made sure that every delegate knew where they had to be and when. We used room captains to coordinate sessions, ensure that every speaker ran to time and enable delegates to move between sessions without interrupting speakers.
Turning an exhibition into an Expo
Chill Out! manage sponsorship payments and exhibition set up for many clients and this one was no different. We worked closely with one of our larger stand-builders to create a package of options for the Sponsors. Taking the management headache of collecting sponsorship fees and coordinating branding and materials allowed our client to focus on the agenda and content of the Summit – as they should do.
One thing Sponsors always say to us is that it’s only worth their while if the delegates actually get the opportunity to spend time in the Expo and visit their stands. One thing we always do is make sure the hosts provide these opportunities. In this case we created space within the Expo to serve food and drink and arranged for the Welcome Reception, coffees, lunches and the Closing Reception to be hosted in the Expo. By providing places for delegates and Sponsors to network, the feedback from the Sponsors was excellent. They will definitely be returning in 2020!
Keeping everyone happy
While our Delegates are our primary focus, it’s as important to ensure that everyone has a positive experience of these large events. Setting aside separate areas for Press and VIPs to work or meet in private as we did in Rome is always welcomed. Providing a help desk to ensure that these important guests can access business services, or request meetings or materials, really makes a huge difference to their perception of the entire event.
McAfee were delighted with the post-event outcomes as they signed up new users, networked with existing customers and new prospects and set the scene for 2020. They had the largest attendance yet and some of the best feedback ever. The hashtag #MPOWER18 was trending globally during the conference (ref: @WhoTrendedIT). Thanks to everyone who tweeted their comments and feedback!
Having addressed (or should we say ‘redressed’) the limitations of the venue, a lot of hard work paid off and delivered a successful event, many happy delegates, satisfied Sponsors and a very happy client.
A Very Happy Client
You guys have been nothing less than phenomenal. Thank you so much for your truly exceptional service.
Executive Briefing & Dinner
Hyatt Hotel and Sala Bua, Impiana Resort, Thailand
A high-level executive event for a select group of business partner executives and senior global and APAC Sitecore executives to meet and discuss the needs and challenges of partners throughout the region. The PAC meetings drive company and partner investment strategies for years to come and so are a serious commitment by management and partners.
The event itself included meeting facilities, an exciting but casual welcome dinner and a formal off-site banquet and tour.
Chill Out before Dinner
Chill Out! had already run several PAC events in the UK and Europe so we understood the importance of this event for the APAC region. Having worked in the region before, we talked with our local contacts to suggest suitable locations and venues to meet the brief. From a list of options, we agreed with the client to use the Hyatt Hotel on Phuket island in Thailand as best meeting the travel requirements.
Coordinating travel, transfers and transport are all part of the day job and Phuket has a good infrastructure for group travel. However, the geographic spread and time differences of the various customer and partner delegates did require a serious amount of coordination with our local contacts and flexible meet-and-greet transportation – but everybody got there in time to chill out before dinner!
The meeting facilities were inspirational as can be seen from our gallery. We worked closely with both our local agent and the hotel to source multi-lingual translators and transcribers for the meeting. Detailed notes were made available to all delegates shortly after the sessions.
Executives Dining Out
The Hyatt Hotel was a wonderful venue and an elegant host for the meeting. The arrival dinner in the Pool Bar was extraordinary with selections of regional food with a local twist to make our guests feel welcome. The meeting facilities and on-site support were excellent.
The Sala Bua restaurant in the Impiana Resort provided a spectacular beach front location for a fabulous meal which impressed everyone – even us! The central location allowed our delegates to go walkabout and sample the local life in Phuket. Our delegates all managed to rendezvous with the return transport and the business discussions continued happily into the evening back at the hotel.
Having previously developed good relationships with local contacts, we were able to make recommendations that exceeded our clients’ expectations. Careful planning and clear communication can make delegates feel welcome and valued throughout the event, from their initial registration through to the flights home.
Another Happy Customer
Thank you Julie for all your help organizing our recent PAC. We had great feedback from our partners on the location and the seamless organization. We could not have done this without your support!
Conference and European Live-Stream
Sofitel St James, London, UK.
VMware is a long-standing client of Chill Out! and we work with them on many events every year. This was the second of the London VMware EVOLVE events for 2018 and by far the most complex. These events are the UK part of a global EVOLVE tour featuring VMware executive board members and VIP speakers. This event was also live-streamed across Europe as a taster for future EMEA EVOLVE events with separate streams for Customers and VMware Business Partners.
The dates for the event were already fixed based on executive management availability which limited our choice of suitable 5* venues. The Sofitel provided the elegance and charm that was a clear winner with our client but came with its own challenges for the on-site plenary staging.
Streaming multiple live sessions on-line required a dedicated high-speed internet uplink and tight management of speaker session timing, especially as there were ‘special event’s during the day.
We have run hundreds of events in a wide variety of London venues, and so were able to recommend several venues. The Sofitel is a beautiful and elegant venue for high-profile events, and yet offers a flexible meeting space that really works for smaller mixed plenary and break-out sessions. They are always a pleasure to deal with and worked closely with us to accommodate registration and a small exhibition space within their central catering area. They were also able to supply the dedicated high-speed internet required by our livestream supplier. That they were also in a prime location to view the RAF 100 Centenary fly-past during the day only confirmed our recommendation to our client.
Despite its old-fashioned charm, the Sofitel is extremely well equipped with dedicated audio-visual facilities. Some rooms, however, have low ceilings and feature chandeliers which in our view are not always suitable for every event, particularly for larger audiences. In this case we worked with our preferred AV staging supplier to create a bespoke branded stage and backdrop to fit inside the in-house plasma screens. This gave us the impact and branding we wanted while keeping the presenters more visible and making best use of the in-house facilities.
Our live-stream supplier worked with us to set up separate on-line registration sites for Customers and Business Partners. This worked well for managing the on-line sessions for several hundred registrations. As on-line delegates were registered for individual sessions, it was important to keep to time, especially for the break-out streams. We used room captains to coordinate sessions and ensure that every speaker ran to time. We displayed messages directly to on-line delegates with links to live news feeds and to warn them of the delayed start to the afternoon proceedings. Meanwhile our London delegates enjoyed the spectacular RAF air display live from the balcony of the hotel.
Our role is to understand our clients’ needs and objectives and translate those into an event that is judged successful by the Delegates, Sponsors and the Client. In this case, our experience of running high-profile VIP events in various London venues meant that we could confidently recommend a solution. By working closely with the venue and our trusted-suppliers we created an outstanding event, in this case both on-site and on-line.
We asked “Would you recommend this event to a colleague?”
Yes! Very much so. It was inspirational.
Executive Technical Briefing
Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa Resort Hotel, Singapore.
An advanced technical event for senior technologists and technical architects from customers in the APJ (Asia Pacific, Japan) region. These technical contacts act as the solution evangelists, providing thought-leadership influencing many more customers than are represented directly at the meeting. This event was part of a global roll-out of the new TAB initiative reporting directly back to the senior leadership team.
This needed to be presented as an executive level event with an up-market venue easily accessible from the airport in Singapore. However, the fixed budget was set centrally and did not take account of the local geography. It certainly did not accommodate the spectacular, and spectacularly expensive, downtown Singapore hotels.
Feeding such a diverse group from a broad geography threw up some challenges regarding dietary requirements. The devil really was in the detail on this event which prompted a blog article - here.
Chill Out has managed events in the region before, so we worked with our local contacts to offer suitable locations and venues to meet the brief and fit the tight budget. We discussed the pros and cons of alternatives with the client and they accepted our recommendation of the Shangri-La Rasa Santosa Resort Hotel on Santosa Island. This hotel is only 15 minutes easy travel from the city and is famous as Singapore’s only ‘beachfront resort’.
This venue provided the option of formal and informal break-out areas as requested together with a spectacular plenary presentation space. As this was a highly interactive technical forum with a limited formal agenda, the hotel was supremely helpful and reactive to our client’s needs. Coffee and drinks were on-demand as the meeting stopped for breaks and a wide choice of menus were available in the areas set aside for our delegates.
In choosing the venue, we were aware of the possibility of ‘losing’ delegates to the many delights on offer in such a beautiful resort. We room-dropped additional itinerary information and guides to ensure that every delegate – whether speaker or attendee – was aware of where they needed to be at any time. We arranged flexible transport to make sure any stragglers didn’t either delay the main party or miss the event.
The gala dinner at the prestigious Sentosa Golf Club impressed everyone, including us. Our hosts could not have been more hospitable and dinner was a culinary feast of the senses. We had worked with the Club to ensure that our guests with specific dietary requirements were catered for so that everyone could relax and enjoy their evening. The feedback was excellent all round.
Given the original wish to host the event in downtown Singapore, a lot of hard work paid off and delivered a successful event and many happy guests. We showed that it is possible to create a statement event that meets the brief while working within the limitations of the budget.
Thank you for all your effort and hard work Julie. The whole event was a success!
Chill Out! deliver all types of events across the globe. Brilliantly! From intimate executive dinners for 10 to international incentive trips and conferences for 2000+.
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© Chill Out Event Management Ltd. 2020
Chill Out Event Management, The Old Byre, Billingbear Farm, Billingbear Lane,
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