Global communications company Alcatel-Lucent makes it a point to choose a new destination each time for its annual Asia-Pacific sales conference. In late December last year, the company sent out the invitation to bid for the event.
Event management company Off-Site Connections won the pitch that took more than 300 members of Alcatel-Lucent sales forces from across the region to the tropical island of Bali in Indonesia.
The key factor in choosing the venue was its ability to comfortably seat the group over the course of a two-day programme. The Grand Hyatt was selected for its large and well-equipped ballroom and its function rooms that allowed Alcatel-Lucent to hold multiple breakout sessions simultaneously.
While Alcatel-Lucent took care of the conference contents, it left the nitty-gritty of airport logistics as well as the execution of the conference and two big gala dinners to Off-Site Connections.
“As the event was booked with less than a month to go, we were onsite very early to inspect all the venues and we made sure that the hotel and the local DMC were well prepared,” says Melissa Julie, project manager at Off-Site Connections. “Working in Indonesia for the first time definitely made it challenging and a great learning experience. Also, as the clients were based in Hong Kong and Singapore, we met them face to face for the first time onsite.”
The date was set for March 1-3, 2011 with the message “Accelerating APAC Growth: Putting the customer in the driving seat”. The theme of the conference drew its inspiration from the world of professional racing, so it was not surprising that at the awards dinner, the tables were dramatically covered in black fabric and topped by a couple of chequered racing flags. During the pre-dinner cocktails, ladies on stilts – who were entertaining the guests – had some parts of their attire made from the black-and-white chequered prints reminiscent of a racing flag.
The awards dinner was a tip of the hat to Alcatel-Lucent’s top sales performers in the region in the previous six months. It also started the two-day event on a positive note that was essential in motivating every participant to step up his game in the half-year to come.
A Balinese experience
While the conference was essentially all-business, Alcatel-Lucent made sure that its APAC sales team got to see, taste and feel a little bit of Bali. For this purpose, one highlight of the itinerary was a special outdoor dinner at the Taman Bhagawan heritage property in Tanjung Benoa, about five minutes’ drive from the Nusa Dua complex.
Taman Bhagawan sits on a 1.8-hectare beachfront lot. It has amazing gardens and lawns, which are surrounded by elegant Javanese Joglo structures and antique wooden pergolas. The Joglo structures came from Randublatung in the Blora Region of East Java as part of conservation initiatives to save old and rare Indonesian architecture. The venue can host events of up to 2,000 seated guests in a unique beachfront garden setting.
Ladies in traditional dresses served arriving guests with refreshing fruit drinks. Guests where given time to explore their unique surroundings before being ushered to their tables as the sun set for a dinner that included mouth-watering barbecued dishes.
The garden fountains, the magnificent sculpture of Rama Shinta and other stone carvings at the Rama Shinta Lawn, where the dinner was hosted, offered the perfect backdrop for the traditional Balinese dances that were the evening’s entertainment, adding to the authenticity of the experience.
“Taking the group out to this heritage venue was a key highlight of the conference,” says Julie of Off-Site Connections. “It was a great reward for the participants to get them away from their desks and enjoy some time in a tropical setting.”
EVENT: Alcatel-Lucent Sales Conference
VENUE: Grand Hyatt Bali
DATE: March 1-3, 2011
NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS: Between 300 and 350
ORGANISER: Off-Site Connections