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Meeting in Bermuda: YPO Case Study

When it comes to meeting and event destinations, options are endless.

But for execs with a sense of adventure, Bermuda offers an experience unlike any other – modern and efficient, yet far from your everyday, your group will leave with lifelong memories from an event guaranteed to leave a lasting impact. At once a small island destination and hub for Fortune 500 companies with first-class infrastructure, Bermuda knows how to deliver the perfect mix of business and pleasure for corporate and incentive event organisers and attendees alike.

The Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) Southern 7 Chapter, chose Bermuda for their Fall Meeting in 2017, buying out the Rosewood Bermuda. For the worldly networking group, the annual trip exceeded expectations. Bermuda boasts a warm climate, but with the rich history of Britain and a charm and sophistication synonymous with Europe. It is less than three hours by air from Miami and Atlanta and with US customs cleared in Bermuda, the convenience was not lost on the young executives.

The YPO network is made up of more than 23,000 business leaders in 130 countries, all under 50, who are also the chief operator (or president) of a company and were accepted into the network before turning 45.

While the group is well travelled, many attendees had never visited Bermuda and were blown away by all it had to offer, according to Emilie Samet, co-chair of the event.

“Bermuda offers the tropical feel of other island destinations and has the sophistication of European influences and downtown Hamilton,” said Samet. “It’s safe to say [there’s no place] like Bermuda.”

At the recently renovated Rosewood Bermuda the theme of the event was Go Full Sail, playing off the island’s sailing influence and the legacy of the 35th America’s Cup, to which Bermuda played host.

Nearly 160 attendees and their spouses participated in the meetings’ educational sessions.

“[The group] doesn’t just come together for business development, but also personal development to learn about health and wellness, as well as business,” said Samet. “The philosophy behind it is that ‘as better people, we’re better business leaders.’

“We brought in speakers that could push them in the way of business and personal development and health, and provided opportunities that allowed them to explore Bermuda, which included a lot of adventurous activities to get them out of their comfort zones,”

A welcome evening complete with Gombey dancers, steel pans, and a classic rum swizzle bore all the hallmarks of the Bermuda experience with “A Taste of Bermuda” menu of fish chowder and British cuisines.

Donna Lindo of Class Act Designs, the on-island destination management company, was responsible for the setup. Her Bermuda pastel décor for the croquet lawn reception, a candlelit communal beach dinner and a party at the World Heritage Centre with the town crier as MC contributed to the event’s standing as one of the highest rated of all previous YPO meetings.

The organisers appreciated her hands-on style and timely execution.

Between meetings, attendees were encouraged to sign up for activities that explored the more active elements of the island. Samet remembers three activities that stood out for the attendees – rappelling into a cave located on the Rosewood property, jet skiing or taking a catamaran to the various cliff-jumping spots — some 40 to 50-ft.

Attendees also had the option to experience a regatta at the exclusive Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, where sailing specialists split the group into teams to compete in a race that culminated in an awards ceremony.

“Sailing from the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club is a big deal, not only because it is exclusive and boasts a rich maritime history, but also puts you in the heart of Hamilton Harbour where there is great energy and many other boats coming and going,” said Samet.

The group loved the island so much that some attendees were looking at real estate at the airport before they’re flight home, according to Samet, who shared yet one more reason to return to the island: The airport does customs on the Bermuda side, so when attendees arrived back in the US, they didn’t have to go through the lengthy process.

“I encourage any meeting planner to consider Bermuda,” said Samet. “It gave people access to the water, but it gave them access to so much more.”

*Taken from an interview conducted by Jessie Feterling for Prevue Magazine