Island Nation Faces Accommodations and Meeting Space Challenge for Hosting Two Major Global Events in the same year
The Requirements: The Government of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago (GORTT) was appointed as the host nation for the Fifth Summit of the Americas (VSOA) to be held in April 2009 and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to be held in November 2009. Each of these global events includes a wide-array of meetings, plenary sessions, gala dinners, special events each demanding accommodations for up to 5,000 and 3,000 delegates respectively. Delegations from nations associated with each event included ministers and heads of state attended by US President Barack Obama for VSOA and Britain’s Queen Elizabeth for CHOGM.
The Challenge: Port of Spain, the capital city of Trinidad has approximately 1,700 rooms in land-based hotels and one major hotel (The Hyatt Regency) as the host venue for both events could not support the demand for meeting space. This presented the GORTT with a major logistical challenge to resolve both the accommodations challenge and the need for additional meeting space to support the agendas for each event.
The Solution: The GORTT engaged Landry & Kling in the procurement and logistical support of the event. One year prior to the event, the research and negotiations began. L&K qualified the requirements for each event and presented options to the GORTT. Based on L&K’s recommendations and suggestions, full cruise ship charters of the Carnival Victory and the Caribbean Princess provided ideal venues for the VSOA. Both of these vessels supplemented the demand for accommodations with an additional 3,000 rooms.
Venues onboard the Caribbean Princess were used for all parallel events in conjunction with the VSOA and the Casino area of the vessel along with the main indoor promenade were turned into exhibit spaces to meet the demand of the exhibitors for the event. Based on the success of VSOA, The GORTT once again engaged L&K to secure vessels for CHOGM. L&K secured cruise ship charters of the Serenade of the Seas and the Caribbean Princess supplementing an additional 2,500 for the event. Similar to VSOA, the Serenade of the Seas will be the host of the parallel events for CHOGM.
L&K provided the logistical management involved in orchestrating and operating the vessels as floating hotels in all areas such as accommodations, port logistics, security, and onboard management of events. L&K worked closely with local authorities including port authorities to have the port dredged to accommodate the required vessels.
To help the GORTT offset their investment for chartering these vessels for both events, L&K suggested a post-event cruise on each vessel with the days left-over after the events concluded. These cruises were successfully sold to the general public in Trinidad and to neighboring Caribbean islands. The revenue generated from the sale of these cruises was given back to the GORTT.
The Results: The GORTT successfully completed VSOA and CHOGM and made a significant recovery on their investment based on the accommodations sold for the event and the post event cruises. All parallel events were conducted successfully on the vessels. The Deputy National Coordinator for VSOA and CHOGM stated:
Landry & Kling was the invisible force that brought it all together.”