Case Study: Flight Centre Global Gathering 2016By Ben Lerwill
29 Aug 2016
Travel agency group Flight Centre holds an annual “Global Gathering” to reward top achievers. Previous destinations include Las Vegas and Barcelona, this year the Australia-based company gathered 3,300 employees—around a fifth of its workforce—in Singapore.
Flight Centre tasked its in-house agency cievents with running the event, which had the theme “The Fast & the Furious: Experience the Extraordinary,” partly to tie-in with the glamorous vibe of Singapore's F1 Grand Prix. The event always has three main components—a welcome party, a conference (“the gathering”) and a gala dinner.
The welcome party took place at Gardens By The Bay, and gave key sponsors prime opportunity for brand activation. Etihad and Virgin Australia combined to create a bespoke maze with a circular glow bar at its centre, while Globus installed an F1 simulator stand. Delegates received gift packs containing floral headpieces, fairy wings, t-shirts and LED necklaces—all sponsor-branded—to further bolster the theme. Big-name electronic dance acts Peking Duk and Basement Jaxx ensured the night went with a swing.
“The gathering” took place the following day at main host venue, Marina Bay Sands. The emphasis was on keeping things energetic, which was helped by the premiere screening of Skroo Loose, a mockumentary film about Flight Centre, starring Australian comedy duo Hamish and Andy alongside some familiar faces from the aviation world.
The gala dinner and awards evening, also at Marina Bay Sands, welcomed Hamish and Andy as live hosts, and as the night evolved the after-party featured live performances from American musician Jason Derulo and legendary DJ, Fatboy Slim.
The event as a whole also featured a global app that included a news feed, photos and blogs.
Qualification for the event ended on June 30, just two weeks before it took place, making it difficult for planners to register and organise final attendees. “We also have a large number of people that extend pre- and post-event, which all needs to be actioned prior to ticketing,” explains Dee Kelly, senior project director at cievents.
“We can only predict how many people will qualify from each departure port—this is monitored and adjusted each month during the qualification process—and have to re-route flight blocks accordingly. There’s always a big shift the week prior to travel, when the final requirements pan out.”
It was also paramount to keep motivation high for the 2017 event, so its destination was announced in Singapore. “Next year is in Hawaii,” says cievents executive producer Jennifer Pole. “After the destination was revealed, delegates at the conference were all given a lei with a tag. They took these back home as an incentive to be there. The following week, new target posters and mouse pads were delivered around the world with the new branding.”