Company: Office Team
Event: Sales conference
Group Size: 250
Agency: CBA and Fluid Productions
Date: 14 January 2011
Venue: Barcelo Blackpool Imperial Hotel
Business products and services company Office Team, which has 24 branches around the UK, wanted to plan a full sales conference to kick off the year after a series of acquisitions.
A similar event had been held three years ago at the Belfry in Birmingham, but Office Team was keen to hold an event to encourage sales staff to meet targets that would ensure an event in Barcelona next year.
Site visits were carried out in October and the Barcelo Blackpool Imperial Hotel was selected.
Office Team's marketing services director, Kelly de Silva, says that as 2010 was the first full year that the company had traded as a unified brand, after bringing together different parts of the business, it was "important to review the year".
"The objective was to launch our sales strategy for the year," she says. "The sales force is based in locations from Cornwall to Scotland and doesn't get together very often, so it is key to have a consolidated message."
The aim was to put across a four-pronged business approach. This included how to sell to current customers, winning new business, managing margins and retaining customers.
The conference needed to encourage delegates to think about their performance.
"The idea was to show delegates that if they do well for us this year, then they will become one of our bright lights," explains de Silva.
Finding an easily accessible venue that could accommodate all the delegates was a challenge, she adds: "We needed good service, but also affordability."
Although Office Team wanted the day to be fun and enjoyable, it was critical that the serious business messages were the main focus.
"It was really important to get everyone together, but we didn't want them to feel like it was a party," says de Silva.
Exhibition space was required for key suppliers, and a seafront venue was also on the wish list. Sustainability was also important, and Office Team wanted to make sure car sharing took place.
Although production and venue-finding was undertaken in-house by a six-strong event planning and marketing department at Office Team, agencies Fluid Productions and Conference Business Agency (CBA) were appointed to assist with AV and a team-building activity.
The team-building task involved creating a model of the Blackpool Tower out of rubbish, which also tied into the sustainability aims of the event. A gala dinner was planned in the hotel's Washington Suite to allow the group to unwind at the end of the day.
Logistics for car sharing were planned well ahead by email and an online survey conducted to find out delegates' travel plans. Regional sales directors were contacted individually to ensure their teams travelled together.
"Although it was all slightly tongue in cheek, everyone was looking forward to coming to Blackpool," says de Silva. "The hotel made us feel absolutely at home and staff were very accommodating."
Meanwhile, Office Team's PA to the southern directors, Gillian Bow, adds: "Fluid Productions and CBA worked tirelessly to help make our conference the success it was."
Face-to-face feedback sessions took place post-event. "We have had an overwhelmingly positive response," says de Silva. "The delegates have told us it was really worthwhile and great to get to know everyone. We now want to look at how we can better the event next time."
17-18 October 2010: Site visits
End October: Choose venue
December: Team-building agency appointed
14 January 2011: Event takes place