The last night of any corporate event or incentive is always the programme highlight for many delegates. Organising themed events by dressing up the venue to look a certain way has been a tried-and-tested method of making your guests sit up and pay attention. Theming also embraces other aspects of the event, from menu to entertainment. The impact quotient of the event, however, goes up several levels when you allow your group to come in costume and join in the fun.
A ROYAL WINTER BALL
What made it special? Jetset Travelworld Group knew how to make an impact. After a hectic three-day international sales conference, the gala dinner on the final night was a perfect fairy-tale ending for delegates – literally. With a royal winter ball theme, the Cinderella Ballroom of the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort was dusted to create an image of a snow-covered kingdom, lit with sparkling lights, and decorated with whimsical torches, teleporting guests to a story-like banquet fit for a king. While many guests wore small coronets or masks in addition to their suits and gowns, some were so fully immersed in the role that they arrived in exquisite prince and princess outfits. The king of the night? None other than the company’s head, who presided over the occasion with a regal crown and a sceptre.
The event kicked off with a royal procession of 12 court dancers with masks. Suddenly, one of the dancers whipped off his mask, revealing himself as the night’s celebrity host – well-known Australian television personality Larry Emdur. Performances by Disney princes and princesses, and a procession of Toy Soldiers who were dressed in military regalia with red coats, white trousers and waistcoats featuring gold trimming, complete with striking red headwear, were the perfect icing on the cake.
Venue Hong Kong Disneyland Resort
When it was held? November 27, 2010
Group size 450 delegates
Contact Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, www.hongkongdisneylandmeetings.com
What made it special? For a surreal evening, the Australian division of a multinational IT consumer goods company capped its conference and incentive programme with a taste of tinseltown. For delegates who flew to Fiji for the annual two-day event to toast the achievement of their top sales performers, this night was nothing short of glamorous. A red carpet was laid out right outside the ballroom and along the hallway. Life-size cut-outs of mega-watt Hollywood A-listers such as Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Scarlett Johansson greeted the delegates, who decked themselves in regalia in tribute to their chosen idol. The delegates arrived in the style of their favourite Hollywood stars – even Disney characters – walking down the red carpet as Charlie Chaplin, Austin Powers and Marilyn Monroe.
Adding to the whole Hollywood experience were photographers who posed as the paparazzo, snapping photos of each guest as they arrived. Quite a number outdid themselves with their costumes, so much so, that fellow guests wasted no time in having their pictures taken alongside these standouts. The ballroom was decorated according to Fijian culture, with streaks of gold to add to the glamour. Everyone enjoyed themselves as a Fijian church choir as well as acrobatic and ceremonial performances entertained them throughout the night. The highlight of the night was the awarding of the best-dressed prize to the guest chosen based on how loud the delegates’ applause was. The winner? The delegate dressed as Austin Powers, who bore an uncanny resemblance to the actor.
Venue InterContinental Fiji Resort and Spa’s Natadola Ballroom
When it was held? May 2011
Group size 120 delegates
Contact Veritas Event Management, www.veritas.com.au
What made it special? For its global achievement awards night, a multinational medical services provider opted for a dress-up theme event that had everyone wearing attire of the same colour. With an all-white theme, guests were welcomed with white signature cocktails served in the reception area of the private beach, which was decorated with huge white Buddha figurines, lighted torches and candles to create a soft ambience, complementing the guests, who donned all-white clothing and accessories. Female guests looked demure in white cotton dresses, while the male guests wore laid-back all-white Bermudas and shirts. The white theme was not just restricted to the guests’ outfits – a large, open-sided marquee was specially erected as a venue for the gala dinner. It is fitted with white cube lighting covered by fishermen’s baskets and adorned with white floral decorations. Guests enjoyed the buffet dinner in this relaxed setting.
Suddenly, as the guests were finishing their dinner, soft drumbeats started playing in the background. The beats became louder, as boats that appeared to be lit with fire emerged from the sea, approached the beach. A troupe of modern dancers dressed in white sequinned outfits disembarked from the boats, and broke into a dramatic fire dancing routine on the shore. After this impressive performance, the night ended with an after-party with a live DJ.
Venue Westin Siray Bay Hotel, Phuket
When it was held? May 2011
Group size 170 guests
Contact Exotissimo Travel, http://traveltrade.exotissimo.com
MAD ABOUT THE AO DAI
What made it special? After a whole week of meetings from 9am to 6pm, conducted from Monday to Friday, for Janssen-Cilag Ltd’s year-end departmental event, delegates were treated to a well-deserved gala dinner in the hotel ballroom on their last night. With a Vietnamese costume theme, delegates arrived in traditional Vietnamese dress, the Ao dai (commonly worn by women). The delegates, who came from many countries including Thailand, the Philippines, Belgium, Russia and Argentina, started the night with a dinner featuring international cuisine. Following that, a series of performances entertained the guests, including a Vietnamese gong and dance performance and a contemporary dance show with an Asian flavour. However, the moment the guests really loosened up was when a Filipino band performed. The band belted out lively songs like YMCA, as the guests danced the remaining hours away. The event concluded on a lively note – it was great fun for the guests, who had to fly off for a trade show in Belgium the next day.
Venue Park Hyatt Saigon
When it was held? November 2010
Group size 20-25
Contact Meeting and Convention Planner, www.miceservice.com