We're heading for the hills! Let's keep our "Destination, Managed" series rolling with a look at a recent program our Hello! Nashville team operated for a multinational tire manufacturing company.
The company was holding their annual conference at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center for a large group of their loyal dealers. With around 2,300 guests in attendance, it was important to the company that they showed their true appreciation for their dealers' hard work. We were competing with three other destination management companies (DMCs) for the program; one of which was the incumbent DMC that the company had a longstanding relationship with. To demonstrate the Hello! difference, we designed a custom and elaborate presentation to showcase our capabilities and dedication to achieving a highly successful (and memorable) event. After our presentation, the vote was unanimously in favor of working with Hello!.
The program took place over four days, with four key events: A teambuilding event, welcome reception, middle night dinner and off-property show, and a final night gala. We provided all of the décor on-site for the entire conference, coordinated the off-site event at the Grand Ole Opry, and provided transportation and airport transfers. The entire program featured a very heavy emphasis on creative elements and custom décor.
The company wanted to begin their program with a unique teambuilding activity. Being in "Music City," what better way to welcome attendees to the area than with a "Rock 'n Roll Game Show?"
The "Welcome Night" was a casual event on the exhibit floor where attendees were encouraged to eat, drink, relax, and mingle. Although guests would not be going downtown for any portion of the program, the company wanted to give them a little taste of the downtown Nashville experience. To achieve that goal and transform the exhibit space into something more comfortable, we created life-size replicas of some of the most famous honkey-tonks on the famous Lower Broadway in downtown Nashville. The facades were custom-built for the program, taking 4-5 months in order to fully fabricate. We also built a custom neon entrance piece to welcome guests to what was sure to be a fun-filled evening.
The night began with a dinner at the Opryland. The company wanted to focus on the food and entertainment, so we created custom buffet signage and used a variety of entertainers. An acoustic trio played during dinner to set the mood while country music star impersonators such as Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, Eric Church, and more roamed throughout the space to greet guests. To build excitement for the night's main event, we also created custom signage with Grand Ole Opry facts strategically placed throughout the dinner space.
When dinner was finished, guests were invited to walk through a custom replica of the famous Grand Ole Opry barn doors and head to the buses for transportation to a private showing at the Opry. To accommodate a group of this size, we had 12 motor coaches on a continuous rotation, loading three buses simultaneously. To ensure everyone made it the Grand Ole Opry as quickly as possible, three new buses would arrive every three minutes to transport guests to the venue. Of course, who better to keep guests entertained while they waited, and welcome them to the Opry, than our highly entertaining group of impersonators?
After a successful few days, it was time for the farewell dinner. Traditionally a more formal event, the company wanted to close out their time together with a real WOW factor. To achieve that, we made sure that upgraded linens and chairs covered the space with soft ambient lighting for the centerpieces. To top it all off, the company brought in a famous chart-topper to perform for the group of awe-struck guests.
Given that the company was a tire manufacturer, all transportation for the program (private vehicles and large buses) needed to run on their tires. Since our transportation partner did not have a way to change the bus tires at their on-site facility, the vehicles needed to be taken out of rotation in order to have their tires changed at the company's local service center. This presented a unique challenge and required a great deal of communication between the company, our third-party client, our transportation partner, and the company's local service center in order to be successful.
In addition to the transportation challenge, hotel events took place at the Opryland's Ryman Exhibit Hall; the largest non-gaming hotel exhibit space in the world. Our teams continuously walked throughout the 260,000 square feet of space to ensure everything was being executed flawlessly. Two of the after-hours events also took place in the hall, so we had to transform the existing tradeshow arrangement into a space more suitable for relaxing and networking, with very limited time for set up.
Our client gave us five out of five stars on our post-event survey and said it was the most well-executed conference to date for them. This was quite an accomplishment, considering we were not the favorites to win the program during the bidding process.
But what can we say? Destination, Managed.