When the time came to decide the destination for the annual national marketing convention of the Malaysian arm of Allianz General Insurance Company last year, it had a choice of cities around the country. The fact that most delegates were carrying a torch for Penang because of its rich culture and food made the island a hands-down choice for the yearly event.
Penang, the second smallest state in the country, has the propensity to punch above its weight with a dynamic economy that is one of the best performing in Malaysia – its diversified industry mix includes manufacturing, commercial trading and retail, tourism, agriculture and real estate, among others.
But the best asset of this island is the tenacity of its people in steadfastly holding onto their culture and heritage. The capital George Town has retained the charm of its historic colonial past to the extent that it was declared a Unesco World Heritage site in 2007. Experiences that evoke nostalgia are popular here.
And for food lovers across Southeast Asia and beyond, the local cuisine is in itself a good reason to make the trip to this land on the Strait of Malacca.
The Allianz event was to run for four days and the destination management company chosen for on-the-ground support had to ensure that the programme had a good balance of activities. According to Pat WK, sales manager at BMC Travel, they had a three-month lead time to arrange the nitty-gritty. “We went for site inspections with the clients and had a few rounds of discussions with them to finalise the programme, which was to include unique tours and night activities such as a theme dinner for each night.”
There was a serious side to the proceedings as well. The motivation course for the 285 delegates focused on the bond developed between a mother and her disabled child that allowed the latter to become an internationally renowned artist and pianist, through maternal nurturing.
For the theme dinners, Allianz picked a beach party for the first night, a street party for the second and a Hawaiian theme for the Awards Gala Dinner on the third and final night.
It was when the group hit the streets of Penang that the event went into high gear. To cater to the varying preferences of members of the group, the programme provided three options for the outdoor activity. The gourmands went on a fabulous Penang food trail, accompanied by food columnists who added value to the experience by sharing their knowledge of the local cuisine. Others went on a heritage tour around George Town on the local trishaws, while the rest chose to sweat it out with golfing and dragon boat racing.
For the company’s top marketing “qualifiers”, there was a special half-day sailing trip from Pulau Langkawi to Penang Island.
Logistics was a major challenge for the event organiser, WK says: “ The delegates were from all over Malaysia – from the east and west coast – and all had to arrive on the same day at approximately the same time. We had a multimodal transport arrangement whereby some delegates travelled by plane, some by luxury coach, while others self-drove.”
BMC Travel received an overwhelming thumbs-up for the event. “Allianz has advised us to arrange the event for this year,” says Pat WK.
EVENT: National Marketing Convention 2010
COMPANY: Allianz General Insurance Company
VENUE: Penang, Malaysia
DATE: June 23-26, 2010
NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS: 285
EVENT ORGANISER: BMC Travel Sdn Bhd