An international event, which stands out as a good example for both the number of participants handled (2,500 persons in total) and the complexity of its planning and operation was an incentive program of a well known “Natural & Health Products” company.
Two thousand five hundred persons arrived from 16 different countries by more than 80 different flights and stayed in 7 different hotels. The first interesting point of this operation was that the initial request for a proposal was received only 7 weeks prior to the arrival date. In this last minute International cancellation, Athens emerged as the best back-up solution where hotel accommodation in the summer is not an issue.
After securing accommodations and receiving the confirmation of Athens being the destination for the program, in the planning process we had to prepare for the fact that each nationality needed customized social events, customized menus, and tours to be conducted in their mother tongues. An even higher challenge was the fact that the program had to be treated and handled as seven individual incentive programs with common only the 2,500 guest meeting and gala dinner.
The fact that the event had changed destination at such a short notice led to an additional problem: the organizer, was unable to communicate to us, the DMC, the exact arrival flights of the participants, with the exception of the French delegation (approximately 220 persons), since the participants booked their flights individually. A pure challenge to know for sure who was coming, when and on which flight.
The Account Executive in charge of the program was leading a team of 7 Operation Managers (one per hotel), each of whom was responsible from A to Z for their own group requirements and operating each as a separate incentive group. Daily meetings of the above 8 (Account Executive and 7 Operation Managers) along with the Transportation Manager were held late each evening and included two phases: “Report of the day’s activities” and “Tomorrow’s needs”. As all hotels were booked through Horizon, our company was also responsible for the smooth operation of all services within the hotel (room block, conference, F&B, room gift deliveries).
The lack of organization of this particular client led us to be all the more vigilant in accounting matters, to the point that we managed to present the entire final bill the day after the departure of the group.