Having long-term clients: wonderful. Having to top your own events for them every year: not so wonderful. FACTOR168, with offices in Hong Kong and Sydney, faced just such a challenge this year.
The Factor team has produced the annual signature event for its client over the last six years, and in such unforgettable destinations as the fabled Angkor Wat in Cambodia, a magnificent beach resort in Fiji, and a "bigger than 'Ben Hur'" experience at Singapore's Marina Bay Sands, says Factor founder Darren Kerr. So, what to do for the 2014 event?
Kerr and colleagues used the tropical island of Bali as their canvas to stage a series of "powerful, one-of a kind event experiences" over five days in April for 600 VIP guests and partners. "This project eventually grew to include the first-ever full resort-wide buyout of the Rimba resort along with the prestigious Ayana Villas in Jimbaran Bay," Kerr says, as well as the first-ever corporate buyout of the "incredibly hip" Potato Head Beach Club,
Key event segments were all about great music and great food. Along with a welcome event and awards program staged in grand style at the Rimba, guests were treated to four days of surprise concerts from international DJs. Center stage within the massive elevated lobby were four stunning dancers, whose performances fused traditional and modern dance styles. Six of Bali's top restaurants, chosen after a demanding selection process, hosted a series of intimate dinners for small groups of guests. TRUE?
Saving the best for last, the final-night "white" party—dubbed Born to be Wild—featured an entertainment extravaganza. Six months in the making, the show included more than 50 dancers, stars from "Indonesia's Got Talent," aerialists, pole dancers, pyro, a massive LED screen and the island's largest ever balloon drop, where more than 4,000 internally lighted balloons rained down from above.
The big challenge behind creating such a big event? "It’s not just the destination but what we do for them when they get there," Kerr says. "As you’d appreciate our guests are seasoned travelers and very experienced with attending events so our challenge is to design, craft, and deliver a bespoke experience they couldn’t possibly enjoy on their own. The other key destination determiner is that guests are from across all of Asia Pacific so to keep travel time to a minimum we need locations that are within the region and enjoy as many direct flights as possible."
Despite challenges such as the Balinese sense of time ("Never urgent," Kerr says), the Factor team takes pride in the "extraordinary positive" feedback from attendees, which he describes as a "very sophisticated and hard to impress audience." But the trust won from his client is just as precious. After six years together, "We know exactly what works, what doesn't and where and when we can push the proverbial envelope to ensure a memorable experience."--Lisa Hurley
FACTOR168 Creative Event Co. Hong Kong +852 8120 6269, Sydney, +61 (2) 8003 4168; www.factor168.com
Photos courtesy FACTOR168