Pre-event planning: The London-based Euromoney Institutional Investor is one of Europe's largest business and financial publishers. It runs a series of conferences and award schemes throughout the year that aim to bring together business leaders and recognise the industry's top performers.
One of the key conferences is the annual Covered Bond Congress, which has a conference and an exhibition with more than 40 stands.
As part of the main event, Euromoney also organises an exclusive awards dinner.
The company's events are arranged with long lead times. Euromoney Conferences' head of award dinners Christa Buttigieg says: "We tend to finalise our awards dinner venues from eight months to a year before the event takes place. While the conference sales are done a year in advance, we have to wait until the summer before we can sell tickets for the award dinners, because the winners are decided by editorial pitches. All the other details are finalised two to three months before," says Buttigieg.
The Dolder Grand, Zurich, was chosen as the venue because it was a five-star property with great food and service. It was important that the dinner took place in luxurious surroundings.
Objectives: The awards dinner is held to celebrate the achievements of the attendees. The event needs to make attendees feel special. The awards can also help drive bonuses.
Challenges: While the company organises a lot of repeat events, the destination changes every year. Buttigieg says: "This can be challenging, as we need to source new suppliers each time." For the 2010 event, Buttigieg says she overcame this challenge by speaking to relevant venues and asking tourist boards for guidance. She also spoke to the suppliers at the Hallenstadion arena, where the main conference was being held, but decided for budget reasons to go with a supplier from the UK, Eclipse Presentations. Because the delegates who were attending the awards dinner were already in Zurich for the Congress, Buttigieg did not have to arrange guests' transport or accommodation specifically for the dinner.
Prior to the congress, her colleague, Karly Eist, negotiated with all the hotels near the Hallenstadion, including the Swissotel, the Holiday Inn and the Marriott and received non-guaranteed blocks of rooms. These were advertised to all the delegates who then booked their own accommodation and flights directly.
Solution: The event kicked off at 7pm with a drinks reception in the Garden Salons of The Dolder Grand. "These have amazing views and overlook the whole of Zurich," says Buttigieg. Guests were then treated to a three-course dinner in the Gallery, which has floor-to-ceiling windows. "It was great to get so much natural light into a big room like that," she adds. The awards ceremony lasted from 9.30pm until 10.45pm when the after-dinner bar opened until midnight.
Client verdict: Buttigieg says she was pleased with the event. "The Dolder Grand is a beautiful place. The standard and quality of the structure is excellent, it has amazing views and the service and food is renowned." She says Zurich has a great layout for a financial sector event and adds that the company is holding another meeting in Switzerland in March. She was, however, less impressed with the prices: "Switzerland is incredibly expensive. A vodka and orange cost nearly £13."
Post-event analysis: Feedback from attendees showed all parts of the event had been a success, includng the conference, exhibition and dinner.
Client: Euromoney Institutional Investor
Event: The Cover Covered Bonds Awards Dinner
Group size: 300
Date: 23 September 2010
Venue: The Dolder Grand, Zurich
2009: Venue search commences
Jan 2010: The Dolder Grand confirmed as the venue
Summer 2010: Tickets for event go on sale
July 2010: Award entrants pitch to Euromoney's editorial team, who decide on the winners. Details finalised for the event
23 September: Event takes place