By Helen van Berkel, managing director, ATPI Sports Events
With over two decades of Olympic success under its belt, ATPI Sports Events, part of the ATPI Group, is on track for another record-breaking year at PyeongChang 2018.
As the Olympic torch departs from Greece this week, ATPI Sports Events has set out to help MICE organisers translate their business into gold at next February’s Olympic Winter Games (9 – 25 February 2018). The leading global travel management and events business reveals its top tips to prepare for the 17 day event and achieve corporate hospitality glory.
Keep itineraries realistic
Flights from Europe and North-America to Seoul take around 11 hours, so planning an overnight stay in the South Korean capital on arrival will help guests overcome jetlag before they catch the new high-speed train to the Olympic venues; now less than two hours away. Allowing for two travel days, any visit should be at least six days long to allow enough time to spectate, explore and enjoy the experience.
Do your research
With key venues no more than a half hour drive from the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium and over 100 events to enjoy, there will be plenty to keep visitors entertained throughout this compact Winter Games. Familiarise yourself with the action-packed schedule as well as locations. For example be aware that there is a significant distance between the mountain and coastal cluster venues. With this in mind it is advisable to focus on one or the other for a day rather than attempt to experience both which runs the risk of travel delays and disappointments.
Customise your trips
Remember this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for customers, so be aware of their differing needs and sporting passions before planning their itinerary. Whilst athletes will compete for 102 gold medals in 15 sport disciplines, the world’s largest sporting event of 2018 will also welcome six new events to the Olympic family – including Snowboard Big Air, Speed Skating Mass Start and Curling Mixed Doubles. It will also stage the greatest number of women’s and mixed events in Winter Games history.
Consider an interpreter
Whilst South Korea is known for its service-oriented culture and there will be many English-speakers across the Olympics’ main coastal and mountain venues, larger groups might benefit from travelling with an interpreter to avoid potential language barriers. This especially applies to itineraries that include travel and accommodation outside the PyeongChang district.
Be accommodation savvy
Despite the absence of international hotel chains and the privately-owned hotels tending not to use the traditional star rating system, be assured that the standard of accommodation available is reassuringly high. By checking your hospitality provider has had their accommodation contracted for a while – much like ATPI Sports Events, who has been working with the destination’s top properties since 2014 – you can still ensure high service levels for your clients.