Have you ever been asked to organize an event at the last minute? Then you are no doubt familiar with how difficult that can be. If, on top of that, you have to welcome 150 international guests from all corners of the world, all of whom must get to the hotel in Spa in time for the congress and, to top it all off, you have to put together an evening event at a nearby venue (destination unknown), than you can’t help but break into a bit of a sweat. A fine challenge, we thought, and one that we did not shy away from. Read below to find out how we pulled it off.
One of our international clients asked us at the last minute to help organize a two-day congress, including an evening event. The location of the congress – a hotel in Spa – had already been booked. For the evening event, we were given carte blanche. Executives from various head offices in Russia, Ukraine, the United States and Great Britain, to name but a few, flew in to airports in and around Belgium, all to attend the congress. That in itself is a considerable challenge. Executives at multinationals have an extremely packed agenda, and as if that were not enough, there were changes to flight arrangements to boot.
An overview of the challenges:
- Find a unique location for the evening event.
- Arrange transfer from the hotel to the evening event.
- Organizing the guests.
- Arrange transport for all guests from the airport to the hotel – and back again at the end.
- Provide support during the congress.
Down to work!
Finding a unique location is not so easy. You can scour the web for hours in search of the ‘next big thing’. But since at De Buck we are all travellers, we are used to crossing borders, we go the extra mile for our clients. To pick out the perfect venue for this client, we went to Spa to scout out the area. The result? The lovely abbey of Stavelot.
✔ A unique location customized for the client
Providing transfer from the hotel to the evening event and back was, of course, no problem for us. Thanks to the Coach Operations we offer, we have extensive knowledge of the coach fleet in Belgium. Hiring three coaches for the transfer was a piece of cake for us.
✔ Return transfer hotel-evening event
150 senior executives received an invitation to the event. To organize all these people, we developed a customized website where attendees could RSVP. Besides the classic surname – name – position fields, the guests could also enter their flight information, food preferences – and allergies – and the name of their roommate on the website. This way, we were able to collect all the information we needed. We then converted all this data into an Excel file that we could use as an attendance sheet.
✔ Organize all the guests
One of the most difficult aspects of organizing this event was getting the guests, all from different countries, with various flights and arrivals at different airports, to the hotel in Spa on time. Flight arrangements kept changing and your transport had to be prepared for that. Communication is key in this process. Constantly checking your email and phone calls from secretaries, keeping drivers and the hotel updated. You have to ensure that everything keeps running, even when there are changes. It is very important that the guest do not notice any of this. For this operation, we sent various cars and minibuses – complete with driver – to airports in Zaventem, Eindhoven, Cologne and Amsterdam.
✔ Return transfer airport-hotel
During the congress and the evening event, two Project Managers from De Buck were present to ensure everything ran smoothly. We are the contact point both in front of house and behind the scenes. For front of house, we provide answers to all the questions and requests of the attendees. Behind the scenes, we ensure that all parties involved are at the right place at the right time. During the event, we set up an Event Office, a sort of mobile office, you could say. Always handy if a new badge has to be made, or if a guest speaker wants to print something at the last minute.
✔ Assistance and support during the congress and the evening event
What did the client think of it all?
“We have been working with De Buck for years, and we have always been very happy with the service they provide. Thanks to the many years’ experience working with them, they know precisely what we expect. If they organize an event for us, they always do so with the same levels of care and enthusiasm. The physical and mental support they offer have become indispensable for us. Whatever happens, De Buck is always a step ahead of the most unexpected moments.”