Residential Finance Conference

Brief: To design a programme for a finance conference for 60 people in London to suit a mixture of talented young employees and very senior VIP attendees. The conference needed to be fun and funky with lots of opportunities for networking, and plenty of competitive elements to allow the younger attendees a chance to shine in front of the more senior delegates. Evening events should all be outside of the hotel, but everything must be within easy walking distance. 

Location: The Amba Hotel, Charing Cross, London

Solution: After securing the client’s preferred hotel as a venue, we carried out a site visit to find all of the potential evening event venues within walking distance. We opted for a traditional pub for the welcome lunch, a cocktail bar for the first night, a boat cruise for the middle night and a top quality restaurant for the final dinner. This kept a degree of variety in the programme, and the cruise allowed the attendees to see some more of London, even though their daytime programme kept them within the Covent Garden area. We worked with the client to organise a scavenger hunt on the first day which was fantastic fun and extremely competitive, and we also designed a quiz about London to get them all chatting. 

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Entertainment: The entertainment was fairly low key as the client mainly wanted to encourage networking. In Covent Garden the group enjoyed performances from the resident singers and musicians, on the Thames cruise we brought in a musical duo performing contemporary hits and got everyone excited with some fantastic prizes for our London quiz (Beats Solo headphones and a waterproof camera). For the high class dinner, the venue was quite entertaining all on its own – a fabulous bar with a secret door and a celebrity clientele – and we supplemented this with a paparazzi-style photographer to provide a record of the evening and make our delegates feel like superstars! 

Challenges: There were plenty of challenges on this project – the client had chosen dates in the middle of London Fashion Week and the Rugby World Cup, so booking venues and airport transfers was much trickier than normal. We had some shipments held up by the courier, and we had to persuade all of our catering suppliers to adhere to the client’s very strict requirements for healthy meals. However, the biggest challenge came when the boat we had booked for the dinner cruise had a technical failure and had to cancel with just three hours to go! Instead of finding an alternative venue, we shuffled the programme around which gave us the chance to do everything we planned, just not in the original order. Fortunately, we had gathered email addresses for all of the attendees and we were sending out daily emails advising them of the programme, so communicating the changes to them was no problem at all. It was incredibly stressful and frenetic, but it was one of those moments where the client felt very pleased to have chosen to work with events professionals!

Favourite moments: Our favourite moment was without a doubt when we managed to solve the venue cancellation conundrum! We also really enjoyed being able to offer plenty of advice and suggestions to the delegates who were staying on in London after the event – we gave them tips on the secret London places that tourists don’t normally find out about. Overall though, it was just lovely being able to help the client and solve all the last minute problems – the client was fun, relaxed and appreciative, and it was a pleasure working with him. 

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