Agents on a roll in Switzerland

Agents on a roll in Switzerland

Eight teams competed for the Swiss Meeting Trophy 2016, a trip that saw booking agents from around the world discover ‘unconventional Switzerland’ and take part in a series of tasks along the way.

The teams were hosted in Geneva, Valais and Lausanne and several other destinations and mountains in between.

It was a memorable Grand Tour in the Alps, with transport ranging from cable car, to ski lifts, planes, trains and automobiles. Much fun was had as the full variety of Switzerland’s stunning MICE offer was experienced first hand. The team from Belgium claimed the trophy this year, and their prize cow!

The UK & Ireland team, plus CMW’s editor, took Charlie Chaplin (who had a home in Switzerland) as its theme and undertook challenges along a route from Verbier to Lausanne, via Montreux and Vevey. The challenges ranged from cultural and historic questions, to blowing a Swiss horn, competing in races, and making local dishes.

So, what did the agents think of the experience destination?

Lisa Phuong, Grass Roots Meetings & Events:

“With the venues in the cities, it was great to see the variety on offer, from a traditional castle, to a modern museum and the different types of hotels.

“The highlight was the stay at W Verbier Hotel, which combines the traditional chalet style with a modern lifestyle brand. The event spaces are a reasonable size with plenty of natural daylight; the food was amazing.

“This venue is flexible in terms of being able to transform the space and take exclusivity. It would be a great venue for incentives and product launches, including automotive. The W Verbier Hotel has spectacular views and there were offsite venues located nearby that could also be used for lunches and evening drinks receptions.

“Chillon Castle and Chaplin’s Museum were both good venues for pre-dinner drinks and a museum tour before sitting down to dinner.

“Beau Rivage Palace Lausanne by Lake Geneva is another gem for offsite drinks or dinner on a boat. There is also the option for a reception and dinner at the nearby modern Olympic Museum.

“The only challenges I foresee in  Switzerland would be logistics of getting delegates/AV and large products up to the mountains, so ensure that the budget factors these elements in.

“Within the cities the transportation system is easy to navigate and of reasonable value.”

Liz Ackland, Right Venues:

“Beautiful scenery, easy to communicate and a range of traditional and modern venues on offer were my top three impressions of the Swiss MICE offer.

“Facilities and service standards were very high, which is what I was expecting.

“Transfer times can be a challenge, but security was excellent.”

Kris Ivanov, Kris Events Management:

“Switzerland has a lot to offer, the venues and places we visited were amazing; hotels were very high standard and suitable for both incentives and meetings. The destination is expensive but you pay for quality.”

Nicola Mackey, from Willis Towers Watson:

“I particularly liked the Olympic museum; it had loads to offer for a corporate function – both modern and flexible. The food was lovely, although the variety was not overly much, generally cold meat, cheese and fish. I think UK groups need a more substantial meal.

“You get what you pay for and I think for the right group, probably client entertainment, it will be worth the extra spend for what Switzerland has to offer.

“Language is great as everyone seems able to speak a variety of languages and is flexible in their attitudes – a very welcoming experience overall.”

The Switzerland Meeting Trophy has now become a firm part of the summer event calendar for meeting and incentive travel specialists. This year it gave 78 participants the chance to discover Switzerland and its meeting facilities.

The agents’ reaction made it clear that Switzerland is not all about its traditional strong suits of a clean, safe environment with quality service and stunning natural beauty. There were incentives options for all budgets and big variety in the venues and destinations.

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