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Case Study in Adaptation: [to adjust (someone or something, especially oneself) to different conditions, a new environment, etc. to fit, change, or modify to suit a new or different purpose]

Event: Christmas Around The World
Objective: Overcome a difficult floor plan with an interactive event agenda
Result: Multi-award winning event with copious guest interaction opportunities

Four rooms. Four destinations. From Santa’s village at the North Pole to sunny Cuba. From a Russian winter palace to a classic Italian Garden. Christmas Around the World was a unique, customized corporate theme adaptation through cuisine, music, activities, and décor. Guests traveled around the world in a fun, festive event highlighted by great food, creative entertainment, and a beautiful setting.

VENUE ADAPTATION

This event was held in the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Vancouver, in the  Perspectives Room on the 34th floor of the hotel, comprised of four adjoining rooms. 250 guests were in attendance.

The entire floor was dedicated to the event, offering guests an opportunity to enjoy 360 degree panoramic views of the Vancouver skyline during the holiday season, with Christmas lights adorning local landmarks, construction cranes downtown, and a glittering sea of city lights stretching as far as the eye could see.

As guests arrived they checked in at the Departure Desk to receive their travel documents and began an evening of holiday travel, without having to ever step on a plane! This 4.5 hour evening event began at 6:30pm and concluded at 11:00pm. It was the dream trip!

EVENT OVERVIEW

Creating an engaging, entertaining theme is always top-of-mind when a client chooses us to produce their event. But this important aspect is just the first step. For Bright Ideas Events, understanding the goals and objective behind the decision to host an event must be considered and achieved. With Christmas Around The World, we created an evening that delivered in every respect.

Breaking free from the clichés of a typical corporate Christmas party, while still retaining a sense of holiday spirit demanded creativity. Adaptation with a difficult room set-up required careful planning. Ensuring the event was memorable and effective called for innovation and creativity. Christmas Around The World showcased Bright Ideas’ ability to harness all three of these aspects. And, we did it on a tight budget!

EVENT OBJECTIVES

The objective of this event was to produce an interactive Holiday season staff appreciation party with a theme. ‘Christmas Around The World’ took the client’s involvement in the travel industry as a natural starting point. From there we created a global journey in holiday spirit, through food, entertainment, and décor.

We also ensured that this event would keep guests involved, from classic Christmas activities such as gingerbread decorating, to the unique ‘Community Canvas’ mural painting – a feature that was a big hit with attendees, resulting in a lasting memory of the event destined to find a home in head office.

OBJECTIVE #1 – Build Pre-Event Excitement

Building anticipation for an event does wonders for attendance, morale, and enjoyment, especially during the busy holiday season. The client wanted to create ‘buzz’ around the office, so employees would be excited to attend.

Solution – Early Promotion

We started promoting the event 6 weeks in advance. An E-ticket was emailed to employees, offering a tantalizing sneak peek and creating excitement about the event. Each week, a follow-up “teaser” email built more anticipation.

OBJECTIVE #2 – Keep It Seasonal

We wanted our guests to experience faraway places, and celebrate the holiday season.

Solution – Christmas Around The World

A distant destination with a holiday feel? What could be more appropriate than a trip to Santa’s Village at the North Pole? A visit with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, gingerbread decorating, a choral trio performing traditional carols, and a chance to make a donation to a worthy cause had guests as happy as kids on Christmas morning!

OBJECTIVE #3 – Guest Interaction

Ensure guests could get creative and interactive during the event, so the evening was more than food, drink, and talking about work.

Solution – Lots To Do!

A Photo Booth, Digital Caricature Artist, Cigar Bar, and Shoeshine Station were a few highlights of the activities. One of the most popular offerings however, was the ‘Community Canvas’. Guests contributed individual mini-paintings to a large mural, reflecting their experiences at the event. The client was delighted! The finished canvas will be displayed in the head office.

OBJECTIVE #4 – Adaptation Of A Difficult Floorplan

Work with a difficult rooftop space, comprised of small, separate rooms connected by air walls and doors.

Solution – Individual Countries Unite

Instead of fighting the layout, our adaptation worked to our advantage. Separate rooms created a unique atmosphere for each destination. Each space (country) had a distinctive feel. Music and performances could happen simultaneously without distracting guests.

LETS TRAVEL!

No matter which room you were in, there was something captivating to do or see, something delicious to eat or drink. The venue’s large rooms joined by hallways offered a great layout for mingling between rooms while keeping each theme area distinct and separate. But because we had multiple activities and entertainers, it was crucial to build an evening of events that didn’t end up with some time slots empty, while at other times multiple entertainers had to compete for the crowd. By carefully scheduling the various performances and musical acts, the evening flowed smoothly from one entertainment option to the next, ensuring guests always had new and interesting things to enjoy, for the entire evening. The adaptation of the space was perfect!

DESTINATIONS

To enhance the creative setting, we incorporated unique elements such as ‘living’ statues, a martini bar carved from solid blocks of ice, and the incredibly popular ‘Community Canvas’ which saw participants each add a small image to a large mural painting. This unique activity was very popular with guests, and with our client, who plans to display the finished product in their head office. These were just a few highlights of the many features of this successful event, which all began with a winter trip to a tropical island!

CUBA – For many, the first stop was Cuba, where a beautiful senorita offered a buffet of tropical dishes in a unique fashion. Her colourful skirt was also a rolling table, her traditional costume serving as food station and décor element all at once. The yellow stucco walls, fresh flowers, vintage car buffet and wrought iron street furniture added to the illusion of an evening spent on the colourful streets of Havana.

RUSSIA – Mother Russia was the next stop on our trip around the world, offering a frosty counterpoint to the Cuban setting. We transformed a section of the venue into a setting worthy of Dr. Zhivago. Cocktails took an icy ride down a unique martini luge. Russian seafood delicacies such as smoked sturgeon made it one of the most popular catering stations. At the photo booth, guests bundled up in vintage furs like Siberian aristocrats of yesteryear and took home a photo for posterity.

Décor adaptations included creative use of blue and white table linens, beautiful ice sculptures for vases and candleholders, and white birch trees. Colourful Russian stacking dolls and performances by traditional singers and dancers enhanced the feel of a winter’s evening in St. Petersburg.

ITALY – Art and music were fitting themes for our Italian room, complete with a wall-to-wall Tuscan valley backdrop. The smooth and sophisticated music of Lou Marocco provided a soundtrack to creativity, as guests unleashed their inner Michelangelo. At the community canvas activity, each painter contributed the image they felt best embodied their experiences of the evening. The results – a large mural that far exceeded the client’s expectations. In fact, they were so pleased with the outcome that the painting will find a new home in the head office!

Of course, food is life in Italy, so naturally guests delighted in the tasty offerings of our Italian buffet and the sommelier giving expert advice on food and wine pairings. The showstopper was another example of creative décor, a statue come to life, delighting guests with tasty morsels and a fully-functioning water fountain!

NORTH POLE – Some far-off lands are places of imagination. This event took guests to the distant North Pole, into the cozy living room of Mr. & Mrs. Claus, complete with fireplace and stockings hung with care. The elves were on hand for last-minute gift requests and every one had a chance to sit on Santa’s knee for the customary photo opp. From the old-time Christmas carollers to the gingerbread decorating, this room truly captured the spirit of the season, right ­down to the old saying, “it’s better to give than receive.”

Our unique adaptation to the typical donation concept was to include Two ‘Spirit of Giving Trees’ which offered an opportunity to make a donation to Dixon Transition Society, a local organization that serves women and children survivors of domestic violence by providing a safe haven through their Transition House.

CONCLUSION

Four rooms. Four countries. A taste of nations on the rooftop of the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Cuisine for every palate… and a palette of creative entertainment. Christmas Around the World was truly a global celebration… and a Staff Appreciation Event that stepped outside the constraints of a typical holiday party.

We delivered on the client’s biggest request – breaking free from the clichés of a typical corporate Christmas party, while still retaining a sense of holiday spirit and creating a world of holiday cheer for a most memorable evening journey!

Event Documentation

Photos: https://www.brightideasevents.com/project/christmas-around-the-world/

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