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.