Two weeks ago, Concur hosted a record 1,400 attendees at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas for our annual client conference, Fusion. The sold-out event included over 60 education sessions, keynotes from Concur leaders and a true Vegas-style bash at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. By all accounts, Fusion 2011 was a great success!
Now that Fusion 2011 has wrapped, you may be asking yourself what it takes to put on an event like this. The truth is that it’s no easy feat. In fact, our dedicated events team has been working well over a year to make sure this would be Concur’s most successful client conference to date. The location and venue for Fusion is picked at least a year in advance.
Senior events manager, Lorie Thomas recalls her first visit to The Cosmopolitan. “The Cosmopolitan was a concrete slab last March during the site visit. We knew the property would be beautiful and fantastic, but it was hard to envision what Fusion would be like there.”
Thomas had confidence that The Cosmopolitan would meet the needs for Fusion, even without having seeing it complete. “I spent a lot of time reviewing floor plans, artists’ renderings of the property and ancillary retail shops and restaurants as well as the room product. I visualized walking through the property from the customer’s eyes as well as the staff required to run the event and felt it would be a great fit.”
Thomas and team went on five site visits (the first ones wearing a hardhat) prior to Fusion 2011. The purpose of these visits were to meet with staff of The Cosmopolitan, layout the flow of the conference, make menu selections and, of course, make sure the property would be ready in time for Fusion.
The weeks leading up to Fusion were the most hectic, consumed with putting the last touches on session content and event logistics. And to our surprise, the event hit maximum capacity three weeks prior to the start of the conference.
“Registration for Fusion far surpassed our expectations. When it came down to it, the Fire Marshall dictated how many people could legally be at the event. It was exciting to have the conference be in such high-demand, but it was also challenging because we truly wanted to accommodate all clients wanting to attend,” says Thomas.
Once in Las Vegas for the start of Fusion 2011, Thomas and team met with the hotel staff to make sure everyone understood the sequence of events. The day before the kick-off of Fusion, about 20 Concur employees joined to help set up. This included placing signage, assembly of attendee bags and preparing name badges.
On the whole, it takes nearly 200 Concur employees to make Fusion happen. Representatives from Implementation, Account Management, Research & Development, Marketing, Sales, Business Development and the Executive team are essential to making sure the event offers clients the best value.
“Putting on an event like Fusion is challenging and exciting at the same time. We love doing it because it’s a fantastic event for our clients. We get to meet them and they get to meet us and each other,” states Thomas. “It’s absolutely worth it.”
In typical fashion, our events team is already thinking about the next event. You may have heard that May 8-11, 2012 we’ll be at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek in Orlando, Florida for Fusion 2012. Save the date!