Pre-event planning The annual Business of Luxury Summit in Monaco brings together senior executives, business leaders and financiers to debate the key issues facing the luxury market. The 2009 event was the fifth and attracted 400, including representatives from Chanel, Citibank, Diageo, Unilever and Morgan Stanley.
"As well as generating revenue, this is an event that fits well with our editorial product and marketing strategy," says FT Global Conferences & Events marketing manager Gareth Pike.
Challenges With a downturn, there were concerns whether the event's regular audience would still have the appetite to justify a conference dedicated to high-end luxury. The FT also needed a destination that was accessible for delegates from the US and Europe, while fitting in with the overall luxury brand alignment. "We try and alternate between Europe and the rest of the world each year and choose destinations that align with the market," says Pike.
Solution The Financial Times has maintained close ties with its readers and potential clients, something that Pike believes helped it to garner interest despite the tough market. "We are constantly active in this area and have built a strong database of contacts," he says. "We also work closely with the media and have sporting partners who promote the event. The speaker list this year was pretty exceptional which also helped."
Monaco was chosen as the destination after the previous year's event in Tokyo. "It is a European destination that aligns well with the subject of the conference, while the infrastructure and facilities are second-to-none," adds Pike.
Having arrived on Sunday evening, delegates were invited to an evening cocktail reception at Cafe de Paris hosted by the Monaco Tourism Authority. Proceedings kicked-off the following day with a welcome from Prince Albert II of Monaco and keynote address by Bernard Arnault, the chief executive of LVMH (Moet Hennessy - Louis Vuitton).
Throughout the day, delegates addressed the issues facing the sector in a range of sessions comprising keynotes, presentations and debates. Participants included HSBC, Deutsche Bank, Mastercard and Jimmy Choo. That evening saw a black-tie gala dinner held in the swish Salle des Etoiles in Monte Carlo hosted by Financial Times chief executive John Ridding.
Monocle hosted the after-party at Monte Carlo's hip sea-facing club, Sea Lounge. Further sessions were held the following day, with KPMG, Timex and Morgan Stanley among the brands that were involved. The event concluded at lunchtime.
Post-event analysis Pike was particularly pleased with the event, which he says "ran very smoothly and was a great success". "Even in tough conditions over the course of the year our delegate figures were up," he says. "We have since had a flurry of testimonials telling us how well the event was received. Marketing is already underway for this year's Los Angeles event."
Company: Financial Times Global Conferences & Events
Event: Luxury Summit
Group size: 400
Date: 14-16 June 2009
Venue: Hotel de Paris