The brief: Imperial Tobacco wanted to combine an afternoon of work meetings with its annual Christmas party and awards evening for its regional sales teams. The company's annual event had been held the year before at the Radisson SAS in Glasgow. Imperial Tobacco had been impressed with the hotel's events team but wanted a change of location.
Challenges: The role of organising the annual Christmas get-together falls to Imperial Tobacco's Moira Campbell, who is PA to the regional sales manager and based at the company's East Kilbride office. Budgetary constraints meant that she could not bring in an external agency, thus had to rely on the event management skills of the in-house team at the venue. The afternoon work meetings and the evening celebrations needed to take place in close proximity to each other, but Campbell also required activities that would form a natural interlude between work and play.
Solution: Imperial Tobacco had previously had an excellent experience with Radisson SAS's in-house team in Glasgow so Campbell opted for the group's Edinburgh property to host the 2007 event. Director of sales Lorna Macleod says that after Campbell approached her with a brief, the venue's director of sales and assistant director of groups and events travelled to meet her to learn more about the style of event she was trying to create.
"After finding out what had been done in the previous year, we came up with suggestions and ideas from the calm to the crazy as to how they could theme their event and make it different to any the client had held before," says Macleod. "The client chose from the suggestions we had provided and we then liaised with our industry partners to ensure we created a unique, individual event with additional 'wow' factor. As we do with all events that take place in the hotel, we also offset the carbon footprint of the event at no extra cost to the client."
To act as an interlude between the afternoon's meetings and evening's awards, Radisson's event team took guests on a local ghost tour, followed by mulled wine with mince pies.
Execution: Some 100 employees arrived at the Radisson SAS Edinburgh at lunchtime on the day. Meetings were arranged and hosted in six of the hotel's conference rooms. Following the ghost tour, guests arrived back at the property to be greeted by 'paparazzi' and red carpet treatment before entering the hotel for an Oscars-style awards night.
Verdict: "Everyone absolutely enjoyed themselves," says Campbell. "The facilities were ideal and I can honestly say that the night went very smoothly. I believe that was because we were in close contact all the time with the hotel's event team, so that any issues that did arise were quickly addressed. The event was also came in within our budget."
Company: Imperial Tobacco
Event: Staff awards and Christmas party
Group size: 100
Agency: Venue's in-house team
Date: 13 December 2007
Venue: Radisson SAS Hotel Edinburgh