Real Time Event Management in Greece

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Every event planner knows the travel industry, and in particular event planning is ruled by Murphy’s Law – whatever can go wrong, will!  The very nature of events means that things will rarely run exactly according to plan even with the best planning and preparation. Risk assessment and due diligence go a long way to foreseeing potential snags and weak links, but what if the obstacles that crop up cannot be foreseen? 

This is a story of exactly WHY you should work with a locally-based, experienced, destination management company – even if you think you know your chosen destination well!

A four-day incentive programme for a large group based in the centre of Athens was a case study example of this. Almost every day a new challenge arose to test what the team at Metropolitan DMC Event Management, Greece, had thought were perfect plans for the seamless execution of the event.  Road closures, traffic rerouting, strikes and demonstrations all played a role!

The group arrival was on the evening before the annual Classic Athens Marathon, the sporting event of the year attracting thousands of runners and spectators. Two days before, the team were informed that road closures for the event would cut access to the hotel; guests would need to walk 500m across a busy highway intersection with luggage to get to the hotel. Numerous calls & emails to authorities met with indifference before Metropolitan DMC executives managed to contact the person responsible to put a special directive in place.  Great teamwork between our excellent coach company and our staff ensured the four coaches sailed through the police cordons to deliver our guests right to the door of the hotel. Just one example of local knowledge, and connections, offered by a professional DMC paying off!

Day three saw a last-minute strike by city wide catering facilities & their staff threatening to cancel plans for a walking food-tasting tour to artisanal producers. At very short notice, the Metropolitan team brainstormed with the activity facilitators and sourced alternative stores where guests would be able to taste local products and experience some of the most authentic neighbourhoods of Athens. The Central Market visit was a huge success while a small local honey producer gave an impromptu tasting and discourse on the huge variety of honey and honey products from Greece. The guests loved it! 

Construction work next to the private venue booked for the gala dinner had spread across the road, blocking the coaches’ approach. Another flurry of three-way phone calls between Metropolitan DMC Greece, the venue management & site foreman ensued as tempers rose before a compromise was reached with the site foreman allowing the coaches to use their private road. 

Finally, a political demonstration in the centre meant more last-minute road closures would prevent the coaches getting to the hotel to collect the guests for their departure transfer.  This time the team were able to directly contact the person responsible for the special permit to allow the coaches through the cordons. It was with a huge sigh of relief that everyone waved goodbye to the group! 

No one knew about the mad flurry of phone calls and re-organizing that went on behind the scenes to make the event appear seamless for them.

The lesson learned from this event was that while it is not possible to foresee every obstacle, the longstanding relationships with reliable partners and well-trained, well-experienced staff means that when you work with a DMC, just about anything that can, and will, happen CAN be overcome.  And most of it without the guests even realizing.

No-one was laughing at the time, but it all worked out well in the end, with the group participants hardly noticing any of the panic behind the scenes.

So, why would you ever try to make all the separate arrangements yourself, without working with a professional destination management company?  

For your next event in Greece, be sure to talk to Metropolitan DMC Event Management!  A valued and long-standing member of World of DMCs.

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