Pre-event planning: Tunbridge Wells-based design agency Ifour headed to Dusseldorf in October 2011. The event was held to allow staff to review the year's work and gear up for 2012 with fresh ideas. Creative director Graeme Hall felt the innovative Gehry architecture would be inspirational, and scheduled an itinerary of diverse experiences to reflect the many types of businesses that the agency designs for.
Challenges: Not having a team member dedicated to planning events, Hall found it difficult to find the time to pull together the itinerary and the logistics of getting the team's calendars cleared and the travel booked in. The hotel needed to be central, so activities could be easily accessed, and also offer meeting space on site.
Solution: After checking into the Carat Hotel the Ifour team went on a tailored walking tour, taking in the city's architecture, including the Gehry buildings, the Schauspielhaus and Carsch-Haus. The walk ended in the Media Harbour, where they enjoyed dinner and drinks at Mongo's, a Mongolian BBQ restaurant that lets diners design the elements of their dishes themselves. Hall says: "I liked the concept as I wanted it to get the team thinking about how we have to merge different ideas to deliver our projects." On the second day, the team met in one of the Carat Hotel's meeting rooms to pull together ideas for 2012 inspired by what they had seen. The evening included a brewery tour, with beers and food at The Uerige.
Post-event analysis: Hall is satisfied that the trip met its brief. He says: "It got everyone thinking differently, and working together better."
The agency has won several new clients and repeat business since the trips.
Event: Annual review and team building
Group size: 8
Agency: Grass Roots
Date: 20-22 October 2011
Venue: Carat Hotel