It's all about people in Milan and Lake Como.
Last week we were invited out to discover both Milan and Lake Como with DBF Events and their All About People industry event. We have to say both destinations and the event didn't disappoint!
Easily overlooked as an event destination and we class ourselves as some what guilty of that too. We often either use for the Fashion Show, San Siro or just an entry point to other locations in northern Italy. But the minute you venture out and discover the city you can feel the style, the attitude and the amazing Gatsby-esque look to it. It's a culture vulture's paradise that as an event destination a brings high class look and feel with very little effort.
Just an little over 90 mins flight from London and serviced by 2 airports. It's really accessible with short transfers into the city. We were hosted by Radisson and viewed the boutique, quirky Touring Club collection hotel as well as a stay at their central Blu Milan hotel. Just a short walk to the cathedral, Da Vinci statue, museums, theatre and a shopping mall that wouldn't look out of place in Dubai! Each hotel works really well for both events and leisure groups.
For those with a higher budget, we also viewed the stunning Principe di Savoia hotel (part of the Dorchester Group)which is one of the most luxurious looking hotels we have had the pleasure of seeing. Everything about it was simply - Wow!
AAP / Lake Como
Again, Como is another destination that we have overlooked in the past. You would be forgiven for thinking it was more a high end leisure location - lifestyles of the rich and famous etc. It certainly has that in abundance, but what a backdrop for any event! From sea planes literally dive bombing onto the lake to vistas and buildings that again like some in Milan will add so much to your event with such little effort.
After a short 60 mins transfer from Milan we were greeted at Hilton Como which was to be out host for the next couple of days. Our Director, James Bacon had the pleasure of staying in a Loft Suite - "Quite simply one of the most special rooms I have ever stayed in!"
We began on the rooftop with lunch and welcome reception that had beautiful views over the lake, then headed into the meeting space for our networking 121 meetings. Each supplier meeting we were met with a different style of presentation, less formal and more in line with what we wanted to learn and discover. The suppliers had clearly been briefed well on the buyers and prepared superbly. There were no standard 45 slide powerpoint presentations here..!
In addition to our meetings across the event, we had two destination presentations. One all about Lake Como from the CVB and one from the Hilton which included a pasta making activity from their chef - such good fun!
When business turned to pleasure we were treated to a number of receptions. During the first evening we had dinner in the hotel with a fun and engaging street food style buffet stations with the restaurant. It allowed everyone to really interact and get to know everyone at the event. It also saw a fantastic violinist who played a range of music styles from classic to modern across the reception and post dinner.
During the afternoon of day 2, we were out on the lake to cruise and view some of the amazing backdrop that has seen a number of movies filmed here and celebrities buy property (George Clooney anyone?) It was fantastic to be out on the lake, to see those views and again from a networking point of view, it really brought us all as a group closer together and build industry relationships.
On the final evening we had a gala dinner at Villa Erba. This 19th-century villa on the western shore of Lake Como was built by Luigi Erba, brother of the prominent Italian businessman Carlo Erba, to show off his wealth - well it was money well spent!! Simply stunning venue and under lights in the evening is something to behold. If you are looking for something beautiful, classic and oozing class for a gala event, this is your venue.
As event destinations, both Milan and Lake Como work fantastically well. In fact we will be suggesting to clients to use both as a twin destination event. That way you can have the best of both in terms of city chic and tranquil lake locations. Not only that each serve up such a different but high class feel it will raise each part of an event in terms of wowing and expectation at every opportunity - just the type of events we love to plan for our clients!
When we look at industry events, AAP by DBF is certainly up there with one of the best and most memorable event industry events we have attended. So welcoming, great event professionals on both buyer and supplier side who gelled together with no agenda or ego. Just genuine interest in each other and the industry they love.