Regional business meetings are crucial to any global company, bringing together key executives to share experiences and information. With the distance some have to travel out of their home offices, wasting time is not an option.
Group 4 Securicor (G4S) recently picked the island of Phuket to get the maximum output from a conference of high-level management.
The company chose the Dusit Laguna Resort, which forms part of the growing Laguna Phuket complex, hotel and meeting venue.
The 135 delegates attending the conference were all at director level and flew into Phuket from North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, including Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Pakistan and Mauritius, who then joined colleagues based in Bangkok.
These countries form the NAMESA region for the company and the two-day conference was themed “Growing Together and Stronger”.
G4S regional marketing director Rehana Qureshi said the conference had achieved its goals through the various elements in the programme and declared it a success.
G4S is the world’s leading international security solutions group, operating in over 100 countries with over 470,000 employees. Its services range from providing security guards to individuals, businesses, governments and sporting events to transporting cash (notes and coins) and valuables between businesses, banks and automatic teller machines.
The conference contained many different elements during a very busy schedule and delegates were kept busy during sessions for strategy planning and presentations which took up most of the day sessions.
G4S also had to rely on the venue to ensure all audio-visual requirements for presentation and meetings was available as well.
G4S’s event was also supported by British ambassador to Thailand, David Fall, who gave a short speech to delegates focussing on “the importance of security”.
The planning and presentations among the directors revolved around highlighting new features, successful events, company policy updates and new techniques which had proved successful in some of the markets they had been introduced to.
The idea was to get as many of these ideas out in the open to be discussed and then it would be up to the attending staff from other offices as to whether these ideas and new components would be implemented in their home bases.
Qureshi says improving internal communications was a major goal of the event.
A plenary session was held in the hotel’s ballroom followed by 11 breakout stations attended by 10 to 12 delegates, where each group had to brainstorm their respective topic and theme.
Individual presentations from all 11 breakout stations were then made to the group and the ideas dissected.
Other meetings also took place outside of the hotel’s meeting space, such as in the spacious gardens or by the beach.
To break up the sessions, a “teambuilding” day was also conducted, making use of the hotel’s seafont.
The organising committee from G4S also worked with the hotel to theme all of the coffee breaks and also arrange cocktail sessions and a gala dinner at the hotel.
Some of the other evening meals were also held off site and a fleet of buses was used to move delegates around.
Due to the time of year (April), both the organising committee and the hotel had to have contingency plans, especially for any outdoor events, such as team-building, coffee breaks or cocktails, in case of rain.
The rain did interfere with some of the activities, but due to having back-up plans in place, the event’s timetable was hardly disrupted.
The opening night of the conference themed “Polynesia”, was held at the Casuarina Beach with hoola dancers. It concluded with a fireworks display.
The Gala Dinner and closing night programme were held in the Dusit Laguna Resort and a highlight was a performance by Dianna Ross – not the former Motown diva, but another singer, who is married to a G4S delegate.
On the last night, delegates were also entertained by a jazz band and various performances by local Thai dancers.
The offsite team-building element made use of the conference’s location and had delegates in teams to build rafts to “escape” from a deserted island. While this event was deemed a success in terms of team bonding, none of the rafts floated long enough to get their passengers to safety.
This exercise was also conducted with some war-games with laser guns and a treasure hunt around the grounds of the Laguna complex.
G4S management deemed the conference a great success as they were able to build in a number of different elements into the programme and make full use of Phuket’s tropical climate and geography.
Group 4 Securicor management says the decision to use Phuket as the location for their regional conference was “a reasonably easy one to make” as the destination suited their needs perfectly.
G4S needed a location that would allow them to hold meetings indoors but also a venue that permitted them to conduct team-building activities outdoors to break up the sessions for delegates.
They also had a tropical theme to their evening events and Phuket fitted this brief to a T.
G4S regional marketing director Rehana Qureshi says Phuket worked well for the conference. While the rain that came was a hassle, but not one big enough to interfere with the operations of the conference.
Each of the events that were planned for the outdoor had contingency plans in the case of bad weather, so the momentum of the conference was not affected.
“(Our) Phuket (office) is one of our very best operations in Thailand,” Qureshi says.
“It is a beautiful island which needed to be explored by our team from North Africa, Middle East and southern Asia and had a great atmosphere for our team-building and motivational exercises.?
“The Dusit Laguna is a perfect setting for this kind of conference.
“We were looking for a hotel with good conference facilities, great restaurants and recreational activities.The management of the hotel was very efficient, helpful and supportive.”
Qureshi adds that the largest logistical challenge the group had was to “cater the demands of?130 people” in terms of moving them around for offsite dinners and team-building events but says these challenges were all overcome and the conference went as smoothly as hoped.
In fact, G4S was so impressed by the Dusit Laguna Resort they have already made bookings for future meetings in the complex.
G4S will affirm its “relationship” with Phuket by also sponsoring the Tasar World Championships (sailing) that will be held around the island in July.
Qureshi says G4S would be happy to recommend Phuket and Thailand to other corporations in the process of selecting a destination for conferences.
“Thailand is a beautiful country with nice people. Highly reccomended by G4S,” Qureshi concludes.