Client: Positive Solutions
Event: Overseas Partner Forum
Group size: 400
Agency: Venues Event Management
Date: May 2009
Venue: Madinat Jumeirah Resort
Brief: Positive Solutions, an independent financial adviser that provides services to other IFAs, approached Venues Event Management with a request for an annual event for around 400 financial advisers. It wanted a chance for delegates to network, while incorporating opportunities to share business skills, and to experience some of the local culture via a programme of activities.
Challenges: The immediate, most obvious issue was the numbers involved, and finding a venue large and flexible enough to accommodate the 400 delegates on a single-occupancy basis. This had to be in tandem with going to an interesting destination that could offer first- class service and value for money. Time had to be maximised - with only four days, there was no room to have one day taken up with long-haul travel.
Solutions: The Madinat Jumeirah Resort - the Jumeirah Group's impressive development on the beachfront in Dubai - was one hotel complex large enough to be able to handle the booking, and Dubai itself offered a suitably exotic experience. By taking advantage of offers on group air fares, and opting for overnight scheduled flights, the agency engineered the maximum amount of time that the group could spend at the destination without stretching the budget.
Execution: The four-day programme mixed business and networking sessions with opportunities for excursions and events to show something of the local culture. On arrival, delegates were put straight to work with a business meeting. This was immediately followed by one of Dubai's most popular activities, a desert experience that saw all 400 delegates transported across the dunes in 4x4 off-road vehicles. The ensuing days followed this blend of work and leisure. Other highlights included an Arabian feast, laid on with traditional music, a display of belly dancing, camel rides and the chance to relax and sample shisha pipes. Some of the optional tours included visits to take in some history in old Dubai, an afternoon of hot air ballooning, a Catamaran cruise and even skiing - Dubai famously has its own indoor ski facility at the Mall of the Emirates. On the evening of the last day, the programme concluded with a spectacular gala dinner at the up-scale Dubai Creek Golf Club, which houses some of the city's best dining outlets, and looks out over the marina.
Summary: Fran Dunne, partner relations manager for Positive Solutions, had nothing but praise for the entire event. "The feedback from the delegates suggested that they found the experience to be very near unbeatable," she says. "The group absolutely loved Dubai, and they were all thrilled by the desert experience. We were also happy with the venue, and the overall feeling was that the service from the resort was second to none."