To kick off its users group symposium in Queensland last August, Honeywell broke the ice among the 165 delegates by hosting a relaxed hospitality night at the start of the five-day event. The Fortune 100 company holds several users group symposia, commonly known in industry circles as HUGs (Honeywell Users Groups), where customers and Honeywell experts network, share best practices and ideas, and learn about new technologies, project implementations and applications. Honeywell’s global reach includes a number of countries and its products and services span a range of industries from aerospace, construction, transportation and manufacturing to oil and gas, among others.
This particular HUG, held between August 5 and August 9, 2012 on the Gold Coast of Australia, was mainly for customers from Asia-Pacific – Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, China, Vietnam and the US – but also hosted customers from the UK, India and Turkey.
Wild West Theme
The PCO company handling the HUG symposium was arinex (architects of inspiring experiences); it was instructed to pull off a “wow” party in a venue that was easily accessible by coach with minimal journey time.
The bucking bronco was a huge hit
The organisers went for Carlton Brewhouse, a stylish venue owned by Carlton United Breweries that produces almost a quarter of Australia’s beer. It is located in Yatala, midway between the Gold Coast and Brisbane, and about 30 minutes’ drive from the Queensland capital. With venues that include a large sunlit beer garden, a purpose-built function room with natural light and a private bar area, Carlton Brewhouse offers an exclusive space away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre.
“Entertainment was high on the agenda, and the Carlton Brewhouse staff were happy to offer suggestions on what entertainment worked well within the setting,” a spokesman from the Gold Coast Convention Bureau told Mix. “It was imperative there was plenty of food on offer and the venue certainly lived up to its promise.”
Picking a Wild West theme, the brewhouse was transformed to look like a Western-style ranch complete with a bucking bronco, hay bales and wine barrels. Food and beer-matching stations were scattered around, with a barbecue sizzling in the background. With the Carlton Brewhouse catering team looking after the menu, they were able to ensure that food choices fit with the event. Not only did they need to consider the combinations of sweetness and bitterness when designing the perfect menu, but they also had to blend flavours, matching strength with strength.
Beer was overflowing
The theme for the hospitality night was kept a secret from the delegates to create anticipation. When the buses arrived at the venue, two roving performers dressed as “beer professors” met the group with an entertaining performance and escorted them indoors.
To heighten the fun factor, the beer professors oversaw beer-pulling competitions – calling for contestants among the delegates – and showed them the difference between the different varieties of beer in the brewery. The bucking bronco was later put to good use, providing ample photo opportunities. The performers later changed into German beerhaus costumes as they transitioned to their comedy acts.
“The staff at Carlton Brewhouse were delightful to work with and our client was extremely happy with the evening,” says Mike Loft, arinex Brisbane general manager. “The performers were very entertaining and the theming of the venue was well done. The food and beer matching was a great start to the menu, and having the wine barrels as dry bars, in addition to the table service, ensured our delegates were well taken care of throughout the evening.”
Delegates shared a toast
EVENT Honeywell Users Group Hospitality Night
VENUE Carlton Brewhouse, Gold Coast
DATE August 6, 2012
NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS 165 people