Hi there, my name is Simran and I have the wonderful job of Events Manager at FUSE. (I promise it’s not that daunting, it’s actually a very rewarding job!) I have decided to do this blog to give you an insight into my crazy busy 5-day familiarisation trip to Abu Dhabi sponsored by Meeting Space, Momento DMC & Etihad Airlines.
Upon arriving in Abu Dhabi, we all received our itineraries which were jam packed full of exciting things to do! Firstly, we checked in at the 5-star Grand Hyatt, I had no words besides OH MY GOD. We were greeted with an alcoholic beverage and checked into our rooms. I opened my door and I was gob smacked. My view was on the 39th floor and it was overlooking the Emirates Palace and the sea. I was blessed with a gigantic bed, huge balcony and a lovely deep bathtub, finished off with all the little amenities that came in very handy. Not forgetting a lovely welcome present and note from the sponsors. I was in heaven!
Across the following 2 days I had back to back scheduled meetings with some great hotels and convention bureaus from around the world. The amazing team at Meeting Space had brought together over 300 suppliers and at least 250 buyers like me from other agencies as well as individual event planners. My meetings were informative, and I gained a lot of knowledge and contacts which I am sure will work their way into recommendations to our clientele in future. It was a real eye opener in terms of the opportunities in the region!
The team at Meeting Space also did a great job of keeping people motivated and there were prizes available such as the best social media advocate, or the best supplier presentation; anyone up for the challenge had to complete tasks in order to win and receive the prize….. I am pleased to say that I won the best social media advocate and won BOSE sunglasses! I have never really won anything before, so to say that I was an enthusiastic and equally astonished winner is a total understatement!
Like any good fam-trip it wasn’t all about the business meetings, we had tons of activities to choose from in the afternoons. I chose to go on the speed boat ride which takes you across all the Abu Dhabi scenic sites. It was fun; besides making me feel a little seasick. I also got to check out the Emirates Palace which was in the Fast and Furious film! Inside the palace was just incredible, everything was just covered in 24 carat Gold and the paintings and history were beautiful.
Much like activities one perk of these trips is always getting to sample some of the great culinary treats that destinations have to offer. Every evening we got to eat dinner in some of the most luxurious hotels around the area. This allowed us to see first-hand what these venues can offer to our clients. I must admit, Ritz Carlton was my favourite. The buffet was set outside, and our view was overlooking Sheikh Zayed Great Mosque. The food itself was delicious, with a great presentation and variety. The customer service and attention to detail were really on point. We also had some wonderful evening entertainment including belly dancing, quiz night, and people from the local area performing traditional music. It was really nice to embrace another culture and feel part of it.
As the trip was coming to an end, I said bye to some amazing suppliers and buyers that I met. As they all headed back on flights to their home countries, I was privileged enough to be part of a selected 30 people group to go onto the destination discover day hosted by Momento DMC. I think this was my favourite part of the trip by far. Our first destination was Nurai Island - A boutique private island resort which features a world-class oceanside spa, five fine and casual food and beverage outlets, and a beach club. We got to plant a tree, relax at the pool, soak up the sun and check out the villas. We then left the Island and got loaded onto 4X4 trucks…. I am a bit of an adrenaline junky, so I was really excited for the next part which was driving in the sand dunes in the middle of the desert! I stroked a camel, enjoyed a falcon show, drank prosecco and ate canapés while watching the sunset…. We really had nothing to complain about!
Our next stop was the 5-Star Marriott Luxury Collection Hotel for the night. The hotel is in the middle of the desert, and the best thing about it was that it was so peaceful and tranquil. Again, my room was amazing, with a balcony and views of the sand dunes. We had dinner outside at the hotel, once again the food was just phenomenal. It was truly magical! Unfortunately, the following day was my flight back to rainy UK!
This whole trip was surreal, and I was able to try things outside of my comfort zone. I have also expanded my knowledge about the UAE, the hotels, the culture and the food. Most of all, I now feel empowered to help clients/colleagues by pointing them in the right direction with potential new enquiries that we may have in the future on destinations and supplier details.
I am grateful that I have another country ticked of my list and to the team at Meeting Space for hosting such a great trip, I definitely feel a little more educated and experienced, plus it’s always an amazing time for getting new inspiration for clients.
I suppose being an Events Manager is not that bad after all, when you get to go on these amazing trips!