To amaze and astonish global meeting and event planners who have seen and done it all. Plus, showcase the charm and capabilities of Belfast, while building buzz around our Ireland DMC, and other local partners and sponsors.
This was our first client forum in Europe with an attendee list full of planners who have seen and done it all. Thankfully, Belfast presented us with a challenge every planner would love to have – an abundance of jaw-dropping group experiences to choose from. Plus, just one week before our event, one of our host properties, the new Grand Central of the Hastings Hotel Properties collection, had yet to open.
When FAM experiences are done right, everyone wins. We collaborated with our member DMC, Moloney & Kelly, along with Hastings Hotel Properties and Tourism Northern Ireland to deliberately design and execute each moment to educate and engage buyers.
We were in constant communication with the new Grand Central Hotel and diligently followed their opening progress. They were 100 percent committed to opening in time for our program. Sure enough, the hotel opened 2 days before our guest arrivals and our clients were ecstatic to be the first ever to experience the property.
We knew guests wouldn’t be able to get enough of Northern Ireland. So, we invited clients to stay an extra day to experience more MICE options. Guests chose between two tours: A Game of Thrones experience and a journey to the coastal Giants Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These were followed by more networking with area hotels and a farewell dinner.
We surprised clients with illuminating cultural experiences in everything we did. Some of our clients’ favorite moments: Stepping through the wardrobe and into the world of C.S. Lewis’ snow-covered Narnia, an outdoor reception on the cobblestone streets and in intriguing back alleyways, and an urban scavenger hunt through the historic city center.
We exposed 100 meeting planners to Belfast’s event capabilities and possibilities, while cementing Northern Ireland as an exciting option for future bookings. “The caliber of clients that Hosts Global introduced to Belfast exceeded our expectations and we will continue to benefit from our investment in the forum for many years to come,” said Caitriona Lavery, group sales manager for Hastings Hotels. Since then, the city and our sponsoring hotels have received numerous group contracts from our guests. Plus, we created a lasting partnership with Tourism Northern Ireland.