Name of event 3rd Allergan Regional Spasticity Education Conference (RESPEC)
Venue Lotte Hotel World, Seoul, South Korea
When June 8-9, 2013
The cosmopolitan city of Seoul was selected as the destination for a regional conference of more than 100 neuroscience specialists by global healthcare company Allergan in June 2013, with AONIA appointed as the Professional Conference Organiser for the seminal annual two-day event. The vibrant city was selected due to its growing economic importance and developmental potential. It also had the necessary modern infrastructure needed for the logistical complexities of the event, whilst having the cultural traditions and heritage obvious throughout the city to provide the bonus of additional interest to well-travelled delegates.
The conference was a successful platform for the sharing of the latest neuroscience advances and treatments by an international faculty, with social activities facilitating networking opportunities by all attendees.
Execution & challenges
Tasks undertaken by AONIA included site selection, ground logistics, personnel coordination and management, event branding and on-site event management. Close collaboration with the Seoul Tourism Organization helped facilitate enhanced branding for the conference in the form of prominent event branding at the luggage retrieval area in Incheon Airport.
Recognising that good ground communications is a priority, good ground partners facilitated the process of obtaining temporary 3G phone lines in Korea, a task that is not as straightforward as in other modern cities.
Smooth coordination with ground operators was made possible by staff conversant in both Korean and English. Due to language differences, AONIA managing director Daniel Chua advised that written communications should be conveyed in advance of fulfilment as much as possible.
The conference had a central coordinator who could interface comfortably with speakers, delegates, the client and suppliers for planned outcomes in a timely fashion, which was critical to the success of the event. Clear and regular communication with the client when establishing the event agenda and timelines helped reveal any gaps that needed to be filled along the way.
The conference also required specific and specialised medical equipment critical to key activities. To avoid potential customs delays, AONIA strove to obtain as much of these on the ground as possible, whilst importing the remainder. Having a detailed manifest with supporting documents helped in the speedy processing of the shipment.
As with every large city, traffic congestion is an issue during peak morning and evening periods, leading to careful selection of all venues for accommodation, the conference and social activities.
This meant keeping careful note of timings on the ground. Non-Korean delegates whipped out their cameras to capture an elegant performance by a musician dressed in the traditional Hanbok that accompanied their authentic Korean dinner at a restaurant.
Positive verbal and written client and attendee feedback were a motivational reward to the AONIA team for the efforts expended. The team also found that it was a pleasure to be able to work successfully with the Korean ground partners,
during which many lessons were gained.
AONIA also provided formal post-event analyses, which were a source of encouragement to the client with much useful feedback that could be incorporated into future events.