Pre-event planning Deloitte partnered with the Royal Bank of Scotland (based in Ireland) for its Best Managed Companies Awards Programme. The scheme rewards the top 20 firms that judges deem to be operating at the highest levels of performance through an evaluation process that looks beyond financial results.
Areas included in the judging were strategy, capability, commitment and growth potential across all aspects of the business. "As well as good exposure, this is a major annual event for Deloitte that generates a wealth of business opportunities," says Deloitte event manager Fiona Gleeson.
The event was launched in May last year with contestants invited to submit applications. After receiving more than 100 entries, the shortlisted entrants were invited to an exclusive event and black-tie dinner.
Having used the Ritz Carlton Powerscourt the previous year, Deloitte wanted a venue that was located within the city centre and could accommodate the increasing numbers. "With the convention centre set to open later this year there are currently few venues spacious and modern enough to host an event for more than 400 within Dublin," says Gleeson.
Challenges Once Deloitte had overcome the issue of securing a venue, the next was working out how it handled converting the main banqueting room, which had hosted the symposium in the early part of the day into the space for the evening gala. This was tricky when the first part of the event overran, shrinking the two-hour turnover timeframe to barely 30 minutes. As well as senior business leaders, the event was attended by Ireland's Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, which meant a series of security measures were required. There was also a slightly unnerving moment when the hotel was affected by a leaking roof in one of the rooms hosting the VIP reception.
Solutions With less than 30 minutes to turn the room around, teams at MCI Ovation and The Burlington got to work immediately, while delegates were sent to their rooms to freshen up and change. The entertainment acts rehearsed while the room was turned around and themed. MCI Ovation and The Burlington worked closely to ensure security requirements were met.
The event started in the afternoon with lunch and a series of presentations including Professor Don Sull from the London Business School and wrap-up by Deloitte's managing partner Pat Cullen.
The gala dinner opened with a VIP drinks reception that was attended by Cowen.
Gleeson says that the leaking roof that struck midway through the session did not pose too many problems. "Ultimately, there was little we could really do other than grab a bucket and not draw too much attention to it," she explains.
The awards were presented in between sessions during the dinner, after which delegates were treated to entertainment from budding young musicians including violinist Patrick Rafter and pianist Sean Rooney. "In line with the event's theme, we were looking for people that had excelled beyond their years," says Gleeson.
Post-event analysis "The feedback we had was fantastic, and it has given the winning companies a distinct advantage over their competitors," says Gleeson. "One of the winners described the event as a 'badge of honour' and that is exactly the sort of impression we are looking to achieve."
The post-survey results have so far been encouraging. "More than 76 per cent of respondents rated the event as either good or excellent, which is a pretty good result," adds Gleeson.
Event: Deloitte Best Managed Companies Awards 2010
Group size: 450
Date: 5 March 2010
Venue: The Burlington