Crown Logistics Manager Amelia Conti recently took part in the M&IT Agency Challenge.  Here she gives us the lowdown:

We were hosted at the Landmark Hotel (part of the Leading Hotels of the World group) in Central London for the duration of the challenge.  Aptly named, this heritage hotel opposite Marylebone Station was one of the first great railway hotels and is noteworthy for its extremely distinctive central atrium, and for offering some of the largest hotel rooms in London.

The challenge kicked off with a Welcome Reception in the Drawing Room, where as an ice-breaker, we took part in an interactive performance with an entertainer (John Simonett), who specialises in memory games.  He had learnt the list of attendees’ names in advance and mingled in with the guests prior to the performance so that he could learn more about them.  He was then able to recount in extraordinary detail some of these facts, plus facts about the delegates’ surnames and personalities, before finishing with tips for remembering names – always useful when meeting lots of new people!  This would also be a great act to warm up a crowd at an event.

Continuing in this vein, we were then tasked with finding out something special or unusual about our dining companions, which set the tone for the next day’s teambuilding activities.   Split into six teams, we used a conference app to take part in several interactive group challenges based around the suppliers’ presentations.

These ranged from memory tests based on twenty-second supplier video clips to a spoof supplier presentation, for which we won the prize for Best Video, to a ‘Where do You Think You Are?” global quiz based on the M&IT survey of the most popular corporate travel destinations in 2012.

I think it’s really important to attend this type of event.  Not only is it a fantastic opportunity to network with your peers and meet suppliers, but it also allows you to keep abreast of new developments in the leading hotel chains and corporate travel destinations.  In turn, this puts us in an unrivalled position to be able to offer the best solutions to our clients.  It was also great to see M&IT implementing iPad event technology to fuel the interactivity of the sessions.  After all, just like delegates attending one of our events, we benefit from and respond better to engagingly-presented content.

I was particularly impressed by the Hungarian Convention Bureau and Microcosmos DMC Budapest.  Framed as a debate in which Buda had to take on Pest, they gave a fun, distinctive and informative presentation which left me in no doubt that I would recommendt Budapest as a destination to a client.  I was also struck by the Marmara Esma Sultan, an Istanbul-based venue which I wasn’t aware of and which is absolutely beautiful.

The event concluded with one-to-one sessions with suppliers and a formal dinner, in which my team (not that I’m competitive!) was crowned the winner.   We were then treated to a second overnight stay.  In our upcoming blog on leading London hotels, I will dwell more on the Landmark Hotel (and several others), detailing in far more detail what it offers the corporate traveller.