Logistical planning and preparation are the key to keeping events running. Mix interviews a leading destination management company in India and a high-tech solution provider from Australia. Christina Kautzky speaks to Vivek Tyagi, director, Tybros India
Q. How do you recommend handling airports? The airport experience can be quite dauntingfor groups.
A. We have good relationships with many of the airlines, so we can arrange for a group to take a single flight, or if they are coming from different cities, organise it so that everyone coming in arrives at about the same time. We can also book corporate flights and even get a larger aircraft sometimes, if a group requires that. At the airports, we recommend that large groups use coaches. That way, as soon as they collect their bags and they exit the customs area, there’s a representative from our team, as well as the coach company, present to direct them in the easiest way possible.
Q. And the return journey?
A. On the way back to their home, we generally fast-track our clients through the check-in process so there is less time waiting in line. Again, with a good relationship with the airlines, you can make a lot of things possible, which means that even large groups don’t have to stand around and wait for things to happen.
Q. Can you give an example of how your company handled a large group?
A. We recently organised Tupperware’s annual seminar and we ended up hiring 32 coaches to make sure that all of their representatives were accommodated. Everyone was comfortable on the drive from Delhi to Jaipur. The coaches were all air-conditioned and if a group wants, we can stock them with beverages, beer, wine, water of course, and snacks.
Q. What about areas of special importance that are likely to be crowded?
A. Agra is obviously a popular destination because the Taj is there. If you have a group of, say, 1,000 then you break into smaller groups of a maximum of 100 people for site-seeing. You can have half-day breakout sessions that go to several different sites.
Q. How do resort venues compare?
A. If you choose a place like Goa, which is popular for a ”beach“ type getaway or outdoor corporate event, it is actually a fairly easy destination for an event because once you have a group at a hotel or resort, they are happy to relax and enjoy the beach. We can of course organise golf, yoga, horseback riding and those types of activities, but as a location for a multinational company dinner, party, retreat, or just a two or three day teambuilding destination, it’s just a matter of flights, which we can make sure are organised and made easy for all involved.
Q. What is your advice for groups where transportation is concerned?
A. Plan in advance. That’s the big one. With enough notice, we can make anything possible. And, because a lot of people want the experience of the ”old-world charm“ of a lot of cities, if you want to explore on your own, at least let us arrange a driver. We can help out because of our experience. Experience and knowledge are helpful to tell people who may not have visited a destination before.
People shouldn’t forget the trains. We can brand trains and hire out carriages or even entire trains where we organise food and beverage packages. It can be a real team experience where you also get to see the scenery of the real India in between the major cities.
Miles Clarke reports from Sydney
Keeping APEC’s wheels rolling
Meetings and events sink or swim by the quality of the logistics put in place to manage them.
If the keynote speaker’s microphone is faulty or the delegates’ coach is held up in traffic, the chance of his or her message making impact is next to nil.
Some high-profile events require such finely tuned logistics, they can be years in the planning. One such was the September 2007 APEC summit in Sydney which saw 21 world leaders (pictured below) from around the Asia-Pacific gather for talks to determine the economic future of the world’s most dynamic region.
With them came thousands of support staff and other dignitaries, all of whom had to be transferred and protected with military precision.
Amlink Technologies of Brisbane, the world’s leading developer of software for the conference and events industry, used a sophisticated transport management solution for the successful execution of some 4,000 individual transport requirements during “Leaders Week” alone.
The company was contracted to the APEC 2007 Taskforce to provide a Delegate Information System (DIS), which started as a basic delegate database to provide key information (arrival & departures, accommodation, meeting attendance, demographic and contact information). This expanded rapidly as the various Taskforce areas used the DIS and realised its further potential.
Ultimately, Amlink provided a custom-built web portal that gave the entire Taskforce access to delegate information via a series of smart searching and reporting screens.
“It was imperative that this web application be fast, flexible and easily accessible and it had the major advantage of being extremely user friendly to the point where it required little or no training to use,” says Trevor Gardiner, CEO, Amlink Technologies.
“The Transport Module we developed, in partnership with the APEC Taskforce, also included the capability to manage the baggage capacity of each vehicle in the fleet as well as the motorcade and driver crew logistics. This was fully backed up by round-the-clock technical support.”
To compile the extensive daily run sheets for dignitaries, the Liaison Officers used the web-based Run Sheet Tool. “This tool had the added benefit of the Liaison Officers being able to watch – in real time – to see if their transport requests, being processed in the Transport Module in another Taskforce area, could be confirmed or not,” Gardiner says.
Amlink also customised its Accreditation Module used at this year’s Rugby World Cup in France for APEC 2007, as a strategic part of the Accreditation and Security Access Control System (ASACS) for APEC.
The development of a sophisticated registration portal, powered by eventsPro and eventsInteractive, captured data from delegates, media, workforce, security personnel and volunteers and then the data was validated via a secure Verification Zone and fed into the eventsPro Accreditation Module.
eventsPro along with its Accreditation and Transport Modules, and customised portals, were battle-tested at this large-scale, high-profile event and proved to be a very powerful engine with total flexibility.
Dave Bowden from the Project Office, APEC 2007 Taskforce, says: “The outcome for the Taskforce could not have been achieved without DIS and the role that Amlink played in delivering this tool.“