Pre-event planning: The TUI distribution managers' conference is an annual event for managers from Thomson and First Choice Retail, attended by senior stakeholders from across the business and selected third-party suppliers.
TUI asked event-management agency Pumphouse to help plan the event and work on production. The initial planning included finding the right location and venue research, as well as delegate research using TUI's event microsite.
The CS Salgados Grande and neighbouring Palm Village in the Algarve was chosen as the conference setting. The new fourand five-star hotels were opened in March 2011 and provide an on-site auditorium.
To build excitement beforehand, TUI held the TUIvision Song Contest, a competition to write the annual conference song - something Thomson and First Choice branches around the UK could get involved in.
Challenges: The main challenge was the lack of a space large enough to hold the gala dinner for all 950 delegates, so a marquee was hired from a UK supplier. Structural changes had to be made to the ground so that it could be erected.
Solution: The main conference day consisted of presentations from the distribution directors and managing director David Burling. In the evening, there was a gala dinner and the company's Retail Manager of the Year Awards. Throughout the trip there was a series of break-out meetings, supplier workshops and marketplace excursions around the Algarve, as well as a fancy-dress evening and an interactive quiz night.
Post-event analysis: Feedback was collated from delegates using questionnaires, surveys, feedback forums and meetings. The conference was found to have a positive impact on sales, with more than 96 per cent of delegates feeling more confident about selling the Algarve as a destination, and the CS hotel group.
Kelly Frew, events and experiences manager at TUI UK and Ireland, said: "We were extremely pleased with the outcome, with 95 per cent of attendees rating it as excellent."
Company: TUI UK & Ireland
Event: The Big Retail Conference
Group size: 950
Date: 30 October - 2 November 2011
Venues: CS Salagados Grande and Palm Village Hotels