When an event has a red carpet, you know that it will be a good one. Such was the case for ‘Unexpected Monaco’ event on 13 February at the prestigious Relais & Châteaux Restaurant Lafleur in Frankfurt, followed by an educational workshop the next morning, 14 February, at the stylish La Brasserie am Luisenplatz in Wiesbaden.
The Monaco Convention Bureau and six of their partners came for a roadshow in Germany and hosted events in Munich, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Wiesbaden. I had the honour of joining them for the last two events and here I want to share with you my insights. This time, the focus was on both presenting the destination but also offering an educational ‘think tank’ format, teaming up with Maximice. The topic of the think tank was General Data Protection Regulations (more specifically, the GDRP) and was presented by the well-known lawyer Thomas Waetke, who’s firm specialises in IT, event law and data protection.
Monaco rolls out the red carpet for German #eventprofs
The last time I was in Monaco in November to attend the Day One event, it was an incredible experience which I am still day dreaming about. The sunny weather, all within walking distance, modern venues and the breath-taking sea view on each turn, is really what makes Monaco so pleasant for visiting, not to mention the prestigious feeling of being there!
The guests were greeted with a red carpet and treated with oysters and a typical Monaco Spritz cocktail, made with L’Orangerie, a premium liqueur that comes from Monte Carlo, topped up with Prosecco and a slice of orange and strawberry. The six present partners, Grimaldi Forum, Le Méridien Beach Plaza, Fairmont Monte Carlo, Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer Hotels & Event Locations, Pacific World DMC and MC Solutions DMC gave a short presentation about their offering and updates.
For example, did you know that Fairmont Monte Carlo has the biggest room capacity in the South of France with 596 rooms and 18 meeting spaces? And that Le Méridien Beach Plaza has a private beach? And that with Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer Hotels & Event Locations you will have your own dedicated project manager to help you manage your event across any of their locations (which includes hotels, restaurants, spas, a beach club, tennis courts, golf courses and casinos) — basically a 1-stop shop for all event needs. The DMCs have the local knowledge to support beyond venue sourcing, and the iconic Grimaldi Forum is a leader in sustainability; this year it aims to become the first congress centre in Europe to operate with 100 percent green electricity.
Despite not being in Monaco, when it comes to giving a real taste of the Monégasque hospitality, the team excelled at bringing the local vibes to Germany. I shared a table with planners who organise events and book meetings all around the world, but surprisingly some of them haven’t booked in Monaco yet. Monaco has developed its glamorous image partly due to hosting international events such as the Formula One Grand Prix, but that is not what defines Monaco with respect to meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions. The world-class infrastructure is there, and after the high summer season; starting mid-September, Monaco is a fully compliant destination for medical congresses, for example.
I know it can be hard to visualise an actual event, so I have two examples for you. One is a case study regarding an automotive congress and the second is an article about the Day One event, which I attended myself. Both took place in October and November last year respectively and showcase what others have done and what venues they have used.
Monaco inspired menu
After the presentations, we were welcomed at the restaurant with a 4-course menu especially designed for the occasion by the 2-star Chef Andreas Krolik, who two years ago was awarded the title ‘Chef of the Year.’ The dishes were very creative, beautiful, elegant and rich in colours and flavours. It was an inspiration of tastes and flavours, creative discussions, warm hospitality and the VIP feeling that is very unique to Monaco. And the L’Orangerie was again incorporated, this time in the dessert. At the end of the evening, a small bottle was given to guests as a giveaway. Everything was planned to the smallest detail!
Food for thought – workshop about GDRP
From a delicious menu to food for thought. The following morning, we continued to Wiesbaden for a workshop with Maximice regarding GDRP, which took place at the La Brasserie am Luisenplatz in Wiesbaden.
Since coming into effect in May 2018, it has had major implications on event companies in terms of how they handle, store and transfer data. For event professionals, there are many complexities about handling data with third-party suppliers, using external vendors and sending attendee lists to a hotel, sponsor etc. Thomas Waetke gave a talk about key aspects that event planners need to watch out for. As he noted, ‘data protection laws are not new, and only in Germany there are about 200 event laws. The difference now with the GDRP is that fines apply. It is very important to collect only data which you need and be clear about what are you going to do with it in five or ten years from now. Furthermore, you need to have processes in place how you transfer your data’, for example via encrypted email, protected files and not with USB sticks. Following my tweets from the event, I received a comment online from Robert Bagust, Worldwide Congress Manager at Bristol-Myers Squibb, supporting the new regulation ‘it’s a shame that rules have not previously been properly enforced, but GDRP has real teeth and the level of fine means that the proper attention is finally being paid to respect people’s privacy, which can only ever be a good thing..’.
There are many nuances to this subject, particularly if you have multiple suppliers, vendors and sponsors involved in the event. It is important that planners take the issue into their own hands and ensure that they have clear processes regarding how to handle, store and transfer attendee data, and after a certain period of time, that data should be deleted from all systems and devices in an appropriate manner.