Car launches and automotive events often suit a multiple destination event format and take your delegates on a journey of their life time. The event is not only about the car launched and its features. The event should also tell a compelling story and respond to a lifestyle customers want to associate with. Choosing the right destination that excites and inspires your stakeholders is a major decision to be made in the beginning of your planning process to guarantee event success.
Different elements are thrown into the planning mix. These are the product, destination’s accessibility, logistics, media, event programme, social programme, catering, destination’s capacity and even the weather. Choosing the right destination for the car launch event will enhance car’s features and contribute to successful sales.
In February, The MICE Blog and Atout France launched an industry wide campaign entitled #BizinFrance. The campaign promotes France as the perfect destination for incentive travel and international meetings and events. Additionally, it aims to highlight the expertise of Atout France and its partners in assisting event planners to access the variety of destinations and activities France has to offer. The campaign will run in the months running up to IMEX Frankfurt 2017 in May, at which Atout France will be exhibiting with their destination partners. The MICE Blog will support the face to face event activities online via Twitter and LinkedIn, by highlighting five business areas: incentive and team building, corporate hospitality at major events, international associations, automotive industry and technology.
In this blog post we focus on the automotive industry and showcase one French destination suitable for a car launch event – Côte d’Azur. At this year’s ITB Berlin I met and interviewed Nadja Graf, responsible for Leisure & MICE Development at Nice Convention & Visitors Bureau. I wanted to get further insights into the attractiveness and suitability of Côte d’Azur for automotive events.
Geographical features can enhance the image of the car launched
The destination offers great diversity of landscape: mountains, sea, city roads, villages and the panoramic views. Thanks to the diversity of landscape, drivers can compare driving experience in the city and the mountains. This will guarantee an ultimate test drive experience.
These are specially enhanced if you take one of the three Corniche Roads (or cliff roads) of the French Riviera. They stretch from Nice to Menton bordering Italy and include three panoramic roads: La Grande Corniche, La Moyenne Corniche and La Basse Corniche. The two most popular ones are La Basse Corniche, where you drive along the coast from Nice to Menton, driving through the resorts on the French Riviera and can contemplate panoramic views. The second one is the Grand Corniche and the highest of the three, where you can also enjoy the spectacular views from above.
Matching the destination to the lifestyle of the brand
For over 200 years now, French Riviera is famous for being upper class, enjoying life, offering luxury lifestyle, great weather at all times and history of car launches.
For example, the Grand Prix took place in Nice from 1932-1947 and the first Mercedes started running in Nice. This is thanks to the Austrian automobile entrepreneur Emil Jellinek set base in Nice.
Storytelling and history of car launches
Originally from Germany, Emil Jellinek moved to Austria with his family. Later on, they moved to Nice, where he became an influential figure in the automobile industry, selling automobiles to European aristocrats spending winter vacations on the French Riviera. What started as a side job to his insurance work, fast became more profitable and he decided to fully concentrate on this. In 1896 he started working with Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft (DMG) in Stuttgart and became their main agent and distributer in France.
Every year in March the French Riviera celebrated a speed – week with five different races attracting the high society. In 1989 Jellinek entered his cars into all of them with his race-team Mercedes, named after his daughter, and won with the DMG – Phoenix model. This event also made him known in the region as Monsieur Mercedes. Even though he won, this car model wasn’t satisfying for car races. As a result, he ordered DMG engineers in 1899 to work on its improvements.
DMG took on the challenge because they saw the publicity opportunity with sporting events in Europe. After an unfortunate crash at a race the following year, DMG decided to abandon racing. Nevertheless Jellinek persisted to design a revolutionary car for himself, called the DMG-Mercedes. The first car was sold in 1900 and in 1901 it became a sensation for the automobile world, making the Stuttgart plant to work at full capacity and increasing work force from 340 to 2,200 just in four years. In 1902 the car changed its name from DMG-Mercedes to Mercedes.
Strong collaboration between local partners
Local venues have built international reputation and these include concert venues, stadiums and congress centres and hotels. For example, Nice Acropolis Convention Center is the second biggest in France.
Nice has the second largest offer in France in terms of accommodation of 3 – 5 star hotels. There are 200 hotels in Nice and 10,000 hotel beds. For big conferences, it’s good to be based in Nice and explore the region on daytrips for more activities.
Nice Convention & Visitors Bureau works closely with local partners to coordinate and oversee the event. The CVB can do the preliminary research for the organisers and find the most suitable venues, according to their needs. Furthermore, the City of Nice also works closely with the entire Côte d’Azur region and other cities.
Lastly, most of the venues have done car launches before and all venues can accommodate car placements in the venue.
Proximity of destinations on the Côte d’Azur
Clients find it easy to be based in one city. For example Nice, and take road trips on mythical routes to Monaco or Cannes. The proximity of all destinations makes it possible to organise multiple destination events. Some of the most popular routes are between Nice and Monaco, along the famous Corniche. Additionally, you can include Grasse (famous for perfumes), or Menton (famous for Gardens and Italian beaches). You can even continue further and include Italy in your itinerary.
WOW factors that will attract international audience
As mentioned above, the landscape diversity, history, storytelling and the Monaco Grand Prix.
But there is more. Besides region’s USP, event planners can add WOW factors to their programme. For example, organise car race vs. helicopter race, or a boat race vs. helicopter race. Yachting activities and helicopter rides are also very popular. Furthermore, the region boasts with a range of exceptional venues for gala dinners, special events or stopovers. Participants always find this thrilling.
Spring and autumn are the best seasons for car a launch event on the Côte d’Azur
March to April and end of September until December are most suitable for car launch events.
How can brands generate buzz for their event?
Two years ago during a convention organised by the Chinese pharmaceutical company TIENS, owner of the company invited his 6,500 employees to Nice via Paris. In Nice, they organised a parade on Promenade des Anglais and created a Guinness World Record by forming the human phrase “TIENS’ DREAM IS NICE IN THE COTE D’AZUR”.