4th APHRS Scientific Session

Hilton Fukuoka Sea Hawk puts its head together with the conference organiser and delivers a successful business event that is rich in local culture. Karen Yue finds out how

The 4th Asia Pacific Heart Rhythm Society (APHRS) Scientific Session, held from September 20-22, 2011 in Hilton Fukuoka Sea Hawk, was a huge undertaking for the Japanese hotel.

The conference was attended by 2,000 participants, and used up the hotel’s full inventory of event space on the first floor, as well as some meeting rooms on the third and fifth floors. Some 650 guestrooms were also occupied each day throughout the event.

However, according to Hilton Fukuoka Sea Hawk’s spokesperson, Jeremy Nam, the hotel is well-acquainted with events of such scale.

Nam told TTGmice: “Hilton Fukuoka Sea Hawk is one of the three largest hotels in West Japan, so it draws many large-scale events. In 2012, the hotel held several international medical and pharmaceutical events with more than 1,000 attendees.”

The oceanfront hotel boasts 1,053 guestrooms and 6,000m² of meeting and conference space. Its largest event space, the Argos, can accommodate 3,200 pax in a theatre setting.

The hotel was able to commit full manpower to the event, as no other funtions were held during the same period.

To bring a touch of the destination to the 4th APHRS Scientific Session, the organisers decided to have a Fukuoka-themed dinner party for all delegates. Hilton Fukuoka Sea Hawk’s event staff thus sat down to discuss how best to present Fukuoka’s culture and customs.

While a traditional Japanese drum troupe was initially requested as a form of dinner entertainment, the hotel’s event team found the item too pricey and brief – the drummers would play for only 20 minutes.

“So we had another brain-storming session, and eventually presented the Dontaku Odori as a replacement,” said Nam.

Dontaku Odori is a street parade held during spring in Fukuoka. Some participants would dress as three of the seven Japanese gods of fortune, while others would don pretty yukata (or casual, cotton kimonos), playing musical instruments and banging wooden rice scoops together as they walk down the streets.

Nam added: “As Dontaku Odori allows every delegate to join in, only a few professional dancers were needed. That saved the client a large amount of money.”

The dinner party, held in the Argos ballroom, also featured other forms of traditional entertainment, and tantalised delegates’ tastebuds with Hakata cuisine such as mizutaki (chicken soup) and donkotsu ramen (noodle in a rich pork broth).

Delegates were also introduced to the stories behind the flavours of local wines.

Bringing the whole Japanese experience together, the venue was decorated in luscious bamboo and banquet staff were dressed in kimonos, said Nam.

The experience fostered a deeper appreciation of Fukuoka’s rich culture among the evening’s party-goers.

Mark Roth, hotel manager of Hilton Fukuoka Sea Hawk, said: “The client was very pleased with the warmth of the event, in which we had incorporated cultural elements…(to bring about) a truly memorable Fukuoka-inspired experience.”

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