Full on attention

A high level of attentive service is the key to impressing a delegation of experienced travel professionals from Skål International

Event brief
The Skål Asia Area Congress, which has been held every year since 1972, returned to Macau for the third time in June 2018. The event is a gathering of professionals from all sectors of the tourism industry.

Macau last hosted the Skål Asia Area Congress in 1994 and 2007.

The 47th Skål Asia Area Skal Congress adopted the theme, Gastronomy Tourism, highlighting the host city’s designation as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy.

DOC DMC Macau was appointed the PCO and was made responsible for a wide range of tasks including project management, financial control and event promotion.

Challenges
Due to Skål International’s rich history, the majority of members fall into the over-55 age group. Members are also seasoned tourism industry professionals who have seen the world and attended countless events themselves.

This presented a challenge, opined Bruno Simões, managing director of DOC DMC Macau.

Simões said: “The average span of tourism industry experience among the members is 20 years. How can you meet the expectations of such seasoned professionals? The answer lies in the programme itself. It has to have quality and originality, and be flawless.”
The PCO also received a variety of dietary requests from the attendees.

A third challenge emerged in the transfer requirements between Hong Kong International Airport and Macau, as many delegates had to fly into Hong Kong from faraway lands such as Spain, Mauritius and India. Lastly, the PCO had to take into consideration a single disabled delegate.

While Macau’s tourism infrastructure for the disabled abides by international standards, Simões said the city is generally “not prepared” in terms of transportation for the mobility-challenged.

“There are no travel agencies in Macau that offer transportation for disabled visitors,” he recalled.

Solution
To please and impress the experienced delegation, a butler service approach was taken in the congress programming.

Simões explained that every delegate had their own butler who took care of their registration and bookings, and who greeted them upon their arrival. The same butler also took care of their dietary needs, and was on call at the hotel throughout the event duration.

Bearing in mind the age of attendees as well as the single disabled delegate, DOC DMC Macau provided medical support at the congress venue.

While Simões declined to provide examples of how the on-site medical support was put into use, he said: “It proved to be very useful in a couple of instances.”

To ensure a smooth transfer around Macau, the PCO appointed an extra staff with each vehicle to complement the mandatory tourist guide. However, little else could be done to ease the Hong Kong-Macau transfer until the new bridge between the two cities was completed, said Simões.

As for the disabled delegate, DOC DMC Macau outsourced the transportation requirement to Caritas Macau, a non-profit association that provides such services for the locals.

Key takeaways
Simões had a number of takeaways from this project. Firstly, he emphasised the need to utilise an online tool for registrations and payments.

He also acknowledged that some event owners had their own pre-arranged solutions, and the appointed PCO needs to be aware of what they are.

As well, as the PCO, Simões said a strong marketing support must be provided to the client. His team made sure the Skål Asia Area Congress was well connected with both the local media and specialised media to deliver editorial coverage before, during and after the event. As well, his team utilised social media to tell the congress story.

Event: The 47th Skål Asia Area Congress 2018
Organiser: DOC MMC Macau
Venue: Macau Fisherman’s Wharf Convention and Exhibition Centre
Date: June 21 to 24, 2018
Number of participants: 170

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