Event: Team-building incentive
Dates: 26-27 June 2009
Location: Ieper (Ypres)
Agency: In-house with Tourism Flanders-Brussels
Group size: 39
The Brief: Prior to last summer's Ashes, the England Cricket Board (ECB) decided to combine meetings with a two-day team-development incentive for staff and members of the national team. Tourism Flanders-Brussels helped create an itinerary with visits to the World War One sites around Flanders Fields.
Challenges: Tourism Flanders-Brussels UK MICE manager Sarah Mathews says the event involved coordinating local authorities such as the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), St George's Memorial Church and the Last Post Association.
Solutions: Mathews met the client and set up site inspections to let the local authorities and suppliers meet the ECB.
The ECB and Mathews held a final meeting with Tourism Ieper, the Last Post Association, CWGC and the Reverend Canon Raymond Jones to go through the itinerary.
"Everyone involved was asked to respect the need for privacy. The aim was not to create a media frenzy but to let the players learn about these men who fought and died in World War One," says Mathews.
Execution: The England team left St Pancras for Lille, then Albion Coaches transferred them to the Novotel Ieper.
After lunch, the team left for the Oxford Road Cemetery. At a memorial service, a stone cricket ball was laid on the grave of former England spinner Colin Blythe, who died at the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917. That afternoon, the players also visited the South Northumberland Regiment monument and the grave of a Victoria Cross recipient.
The group was taken to Ieper by coach, and arrived at Menin Gate for a Last Post service before having dinner at the Hotel Regina.
The next day, the players staying at the Novotel had some morning meetings.
During the day, the ECB also presented a stone cricket ball to Flanders Field Museum and a plaque at St George's memorial church. The group then returned to London via Eurostar.
Verdict: Hugh Morris, ECB managing director, says: "The Flanders trip was a key part of our preparation for the series. The hospitality of everyone in Flanders was outstanding, as was the support from Visit Flanders."