Each year, healthcare product company Henry Schein Halas organises a sales conference for its Australian and New Zealand teams. Past destinations have included the Hunter Valley and greater Sydney.
According to Andrew Hoggard, national sales manager of the company, who put the event together this year, this was the most successful conference of its type and the venue and destination played their part in ensuring that the elements of reward and motivation ran through the entire event.
“The whole thing went like clockwork. We had enjoyed a very successful year prior to the event and the Gold Coast conference was a fitting celebration of that.”
With a team spread across an area as large as Australia and New Zealand, gathering them in a single location is essential to ensure better communication and instil a consistent corporate message.
“We wanted to take our whole contingent out of their normal states, particularly our New South Wales team, who don’t usually get to travel too far.”
While sales conferences are used as powerful platforms to increase company revenue, there are always spending restraints.
“Our major challenges were flying staff in from all over Australia and New Zealand and staying within budget.
“Additionally, we had fears that any venue on the Gold Coast would not be able to cater for our large-sized team in terms of the hotel’s logistics.”
The company settled on Sofitel Gold Coast Broadbeach as the main venue for the conference, accommodation and gala dinner.
Hoggard is effusive in his praise of the Sofitel team.
“They made it an exceptional experience for all of us. I would particularly commend the conference manager of Sofitel, Hollie Dymock, for going the extra mile and coaching her team to ensure that everyone went beyond expectations and adopted the ‘nothing is too hard’ attitude.
“It was a pleasure dealing with Hollie both prior and during the event. All of the staff at the hotel were outstanding and even now, months later, I can still recall the amazing service. You don’t forget them easily because of their caring attitude and excellence in customer service.”
Using the slogan “Back to the Basics, Shaping the Future”, the company wanted the event to re-gear its sales force.
The slogan neatly played on the title of the Michael J Fox Hollywood movie trilogy, Back to the Future.
Not surprisingly then, Hoggard saw a great opportunity to bring in another silver-screen element: one of the Gold Coast’s key attractions, Warner Brothers Movie World theme park.
The park was hired exclusively for the welcome reception by the Henry Schein Halas team.
The participants arrived at Movie World and were ushered along the film-set style main streets, where they were met by Batman and other film figures from the Warner Brothers’ stable.
“We had red-carpet treatment. We had pre-dinner drinks before a three-course meal. The park also opened up one of its roller-coaster rides for an hour,” he says. “It was an excellent programme, a real ‘wow’ factor.”
Hoggard says that one critical issue was finding additional space for vendors. Industry suppliers are invited to meet with the sales teams and need space to set up their booths and stands. Again, the Sofitel delivered with the flexibility of its space.
“We also had issues of smoothly moving our team of a couple of hundred people from the second floor to the tenth floor for a part of the event but the hotel staff were great in organising queues and lifts to ensure there were no bottlenecks.”
Overall, Hoggard feels the conference met every one of its key business objectives.
“The sales and marketing team has never been more ‘pumped’ and the motivation level is very high. Every vendor expressed how impressive our team was. We had a motivational speaker from New Zealand who was superb and achieved the objective. Everyone had a fantastic time and really bonded,” Hoggard says.
Such was the enthusiastic feedback from participants that Hoggard says emphatically he would certainly return to the Gold Coast and Queensland for a future event.
Event: Henry Schein Halas Vision Conference
Venue: Sofitel Gold Coast Broadbeach
Welcome party: Warner Brothers Movie World
Length: Three Days