The Brief: To bring an international delegation of oil and gas executives together under one roof to learn about cutting-edge technologies from vendors. Q&A workshops covering 16 topics, such as IT, health and safety and how investing in key technology transfer can effectively streamline business had to be formulated. There was also a requirement for cocktail receptions, gala dinners and networking time.
Challenges: "Choosing a neutral venue was of utmost importance, as was the chance to leave behind all the red tape and bureaucracy that these executives are usually subjected to," says GDS International head of events and production Robert Simms. "Since we had major executives from very important international companies, security was also very much at the forefront of our concerns."
Solution: "We have a long-standing partnership with the Ritz-Carlton around the globe and felt that the five-star quality it provides would be conducive to our business meetings," says Simms. "Istanbul couldn't be a more neutral venue, overlooking Europe and Asia, as well as being just a short flight from mainland Europe.
Execution: The first day kicked off with the group registering in the late afternoon. Then, after an early evening cocktail reception and toast, the delegates went straight into a gala dinner and keynote speech.
After breakfast on the second day, the presentations and Q&A sessions began, followed by four workshop sessions before lunch and four meetings sessions after lunch. Again, there was an early evening cocktail reception and a gala dinner with speeches.
The third day followed the workshop model of the second, with lunch and then a round-table discussion, with an early afternoon finish for farewell drinks and a final chance to network.
Verdict: "The event went extremely well, and the hotel was everything I had expected and more," says Simms. "The staff were polite, attentive and spoke very good English. Nothing was too much trouble for them and they catered to our every need to the highest standards of service. The food was stunning. Obviously, as head of global events, I always complain about the price of hotels. However, the Ritz-Carlton and Istanbul proved to be good value for money."
Company: GDS International
Group size: 120
Agency: In house
Date: 11-13 February 2008
Venue: Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul