When 106 of the best amateur golfers from 37 countries descended on the popular resort island of Phuket for the final rounds of the BMW Golf Cup International competition, more than 140 of the carmaker’s top partners and dealers were invited to join the six-day spectacle, where the action extended beyond the greens.
The Blue Canyon Golf Country Club was chosen as the competition venue. The next challenge for the organisers was to find a resort that would serve as home base for the entire BMW delegation for nearly a week.
“We were looking for a hotel that reflected the BMW brand. Most importantly, it had to be one with broad experience in serving international guests who come from different cultures, as we had a multiracial group,” says Magnus Weise, head of BMW Golf Sport Marketing. “We wanted five-star luxury because we wanted to treat guests the BMW way, a place where they could relax when not playing golf or doing other activities in our event programme.”
It was good synergy with the client brand that made JW Marriott Phuket Resort and Spa perfect as the official residence of the tournament. It received the nod not only for its top-notch guestrooms, but also the versatility of its events venues and its F&B expertise.
“An exclusive private lounge was set up by the beach, which became a focal point of the event where they could meet and enjoy five-star hotel hospitality, yet feel that BMW was the host,” Weise says.
This was important as three themed dinners were to be hosted at the hotel and each had to have a different feel. Hence, there was the beachfront welcome dinner set up on the first night, the Festival of Thailand gala dinner on the second night and a black-tie gala and awards dinner on the fifth and final night.
Particularly impressive was the elaborate and colourful Festival of Thailand night, which successfully re-created the scenes and distinct feel of various traditional Thai celebrations within the resort premises.
What also made an impact on BMW was the resort’s ability to maintain an intimate and cosy atmosphere, even with a big group of 250 people. “Nobody felt crowded,” notes Wiese. “Plus, we know the hotel itself was fully booked at that time but we didn’t feel it as the service was still top class and the hotel staff were well prepared.”
For the duration of the tournament, a shuttle service ferried players and BMW dealers and delegates between Blue Canyon and JW Marriott. During the three days when the competition was in play, BMW also packed the days with interesting activities for those who wanted to see action outside the golf course.
There were the sightseeing trips, each designed to show a different aspect of Phuket Island. There was a general tour of the island, a round of temple visits, a “James Bond Island” tour which showed the different film locations used by that film franchise, and a Phuket countryside tour which included some time with the local elephants. There was also a visit to the SOS children’s village. For those hankering for something more interactive, there was a Thai cooking class, several BMW test-drive sessions and a few shopping trips.
One of the highlights of the six-day programme was the golf clinic conducted by Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie on the final day of competition, for those who wanted to improve their swing.
In the end, the 12-month advance preparation paid off.
“All the guests were very happy and enjoyed all the entertainment provided,” says Wiese. “My team knows how to work this type of event, but they need good partners like JW Marriott who can keep up the first-class service that BMW strives to offer its guests. It is very likely that we will return to Phuket and probably to the resort too.”
EVENT: BMW Golf Cup International World Final
VENUE: JW Marriott Phuket Resort and Spa and Blue Canyon Golf Country Club
DATE: February 21-26, 2011
NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS: 250
EVENT ORGANISER: MICE Solution Ltd