Reed Business Information in South Korea

UK publisher RBI moved the Asian Base Oils & Lubricants Conference from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Seoul, South Korea

Pre-event planning: UK publisher Reed Business Information (RBI) runs the Asian Base Oils & Lubricants Conference for subscribers to its ICIS website, which provides market intelligence for the global chemical and energy industries.

Since it started in 2007, the event has been held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, but last year RBI decided to hold it in Seoul, as recent developments have made Korea more relevant to the target audience. Jane Cartwright, head of operations at RBI, met up with the local tourist board, Visit Korea, and several DMCs at Confex in London in February 2010 to gather information about venues and transport options.

"We decided to use a DMC's recommendations for coach companies but ended up sourcing the venue ourselves, as we have extensive experience in this area," she says.

Challenges: RBI was concerned that delegates from previous years would not be willing to attend the conference in a new location. Juggling the time difference between South Korea and the UK and dealing with language barriers was another issue. The company also had to contend with rising tension between North and South Korea.

Solutions: The RBI team were in the office before 7am running up to the event so they could liaise with hotels despite the time difference. "We found that staff at the hotels were trained to deal with attendees from Europe, so cultural and language barriers were not as much of an issue," says Cartwright.

The company also kept in regular touch with the British Embassy in the run-up to the event, to ensure it had the most up-to-date information regarding travel and business in South Korea.

The event was held over two days and began with a keynote presentation delivered by Shell, with simultaneous translation available in Mandarin and English for all sessions. A dinner and drinks reception for delegates was held at the Shilla Hotel on the first day with KTB Travel providing coach transfers between the two hotels.

Post-event analysis: Delegate numbers increased from previous years and feedback was very positive, so much so that RBI is running the event again at the same venue.

FACTFILE
Client: Reed Business Information
Event: Asian Base Oils & Lubricants Conference
Group size: 8-9 June, 2010
Agency: In-house, DMC KTB Travel
Date: 10 June 2010
Venue: Millennium Hilton Hotel and Shilla Hotel, Seoul
Budget: Undisclosed

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