Meitheal Travel Industry Workshop
Fáilte Ireland’s largest in-Ireland event is called Meitheal and is hosted on an annual basis. Over 300 international buyers attend a two-day workshop with pre-arranged scheduled appointments between Irish trade partners and overseas buyers. Meitheal also offers three informal evening networking opportunities.
This leisure tourism promotional event has taken place since 1974, and in 2015, Fáilte Ireland introduced a new and revised format for Meitheal to enhance business to business opportunities for Overseas Buyers and the Irish Tourism Industry, through showcasing Fáilte Ireland’s Signature Programmes.
The 2019 edition was the biggest Meitheal ever, and included a parallel event hosted by Meet in Ireland attracting 60 Meetings, Incentive, Conference and Event (MICE) buyers. The Advantage Group has been managing Meitheal in conjunction with Failte Ireland since the 2015 edition.
The event was used to identify and motivate ambassadors to create new ‘Home Grown’ events, which may fall outside of the typical ambassador profile (academic, medical, scientific) toward a more Corporate Ambassador, who may be able to deliver scalable, multi-year events, such as TechSummit, InspireFest etc.
They are people from all walks of life, many academics or medical professionals who save/change lives who have gone outside their personal comfort zones to win conferences for Ireland to values of hundreds of millions of Euro. The awards are to recognise and say thank you, they are also out of their comfort zone by going to this event, so it had to be extra special.
Meitheal 2019 key objectives
- To enable business to business opportunities between leisure buyers from around the world and Irish industry
- To showcase Failte Ireland’s 4 X signature brands, and at the 2019 edition to launch the 4thbrand; Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands
- To create a platform to promote new and emerging tourism product
- To profile Failte Ireland’s work as the National Tourism Authority
- To showcase Ireland as an attractive destination to programme
- To showcase the food product of Ireland
The leisure workshop took place for the second year in the Citywest complex. The hotel also provided accommodation for all buyers and some Irish industry, as well as hosting the welcome evening and the farewell evening.
The MICE workshop also took place at Citywest but was hosted separately to the leisure workshop. The buyers were accommodated in the Cliff at Lyons and Carton House and the welcome evening was hosted also in the Cliff at Lyons.
The networking evening, attended by 750 guests, took place in the Fire Station and Hangar 1 of Weston Aerodrome
“Fáilte Ireland has run a B2B workshop for buyers and industry called “Meitheal” for 45 years. During that time the event has followed a tried and trusted format. Over the last number of year’s the event has transformed to be a dynamic, interactive and innovative event and central to delivering on this has been our partners at Advantage. Advantage brought great experience to all aspects of Meitheal. They fully understood Fáilte Ireland’s requirements around our largest annual B2B sales platform, and fully understood the Buyer and Industry needs. They were creative in their approach to delivering innovative and imaginative solutions across all aspects of Meitheal. The team at Advantage were great partners and were utterly professional in all of their dealings and were a joy to work with. In 2019 Advantage also managed the newly introduced MICE@Meitheal element and what can only be described as an outstanding Gala Dinner in the Hanger at Weston Airport. The execution of Meitheal 2019 was flawless and has delivered on our corporate objectives”
Event Delivery and Execution
Advantage managed and delivered the following elements on behalf of Failte Ireland;
- Design, branding, build of the Meitheal workshop and networking areas in the Citywest Convention Centre
- Design, branding and build of the Meet in Ireland workshop in the Sycamore Suite of the Convention centre
- Concept, design and execution of the Irish Hidden Heartlands launch on 1stApril
- Concept, design, build and execution of the networking dinner in Weston Aerodrome
- Management of all accommodation and transfer requirements
- Design and execution of all menus throughout both the leisure and MICE workshop and all ancillary events
- Design and execution of activity event for MICE buyers and Irish industry in the K Club
- Design, management and execution of all entertainment
- Design and execution of branding throughout the entire event, managing different brand identities across the various events
- Procurement, training and management of event staff
Meitheal 2019 – The Workshop
Meitheal 2019 has become the largest Meitheal ever, and the management of the main venue and workshop was key to this. This was the second time that Citywest had hosted the event. Advantage proposed and delivered Meitheal 2018 in Citywest, and it delivered a new experience where the venue could easily accommodate all the buyers and a large proportion of Irish industry, removing the requirement for transfers to the workshop and creating an extended opportunity to network. For the first time in 2018, the buyer welcome evening was hosted on site, creating an opportunity to showcase new product to the buyers. At Advantage we are constantly striving to respond to feedback and improve on the delegate experience. For M2019, we worked with the venue to make this year’s edition of Meitheal the best yet. We proposed superior solutions to minimise queuing times and reviewed the workshop floorplan to include 7 by sponsor booths, we re-worked it to create a more visible and accessible location for the Failte Ireland information desk. We reviewed the registration system with Failte Ireland and made substantial recommendations.
Accommodation and Transport Management
Advantage is responsible for managing the accommodation and transfer requirements for all 300 buyers and 60 Tourism Ireland staff based in the 14 market offices all over the world. We created a portal to work with both Failte Ireland and Tourism Ireland to manage personal itineraries for all delegates. All guests were greeted personally at Dublin Airport, or greeted at Citywest managing the arrival of 13 pre-familiarisation around the country. Buyers were accommodated within their markets, and each buyer was given personal attention.
Meitheal 2019 Networking Dinner
The sourcing and management of the networking event provided the challenge of sourcing a venue that can host over 700 guests for a drink’s reception and dinner. Venues used in the past included the RHK, Croke Park, Killashee Hotel and the CHQ building. In 2019 the event was hosted in Weston Aerodrome and the Advantage team was faced with the challenge of hosting a world-class dinner in an airport hangar. A sit-down dinner of this quality, for 750 guests in this venue had never been attempted. The elusive “wow” was elicited from the audience of buyers and Irish industry, where 15 coaches on the runway were greeted by Stomptown Brass band. Cocktails were served in the Fire Station, transformed to a club-like ambiance for the evening. Guests were then invited to take their sets at tables decorated in silver and green velour.Dinner served family-style in platters was the very best of Irish seafood and Fillet of Irish Beef, desserts and Irish cheeses. Speeches were delivered on a side stage and a circular stage in the centre of the hangar was the focal point for the evening with superb entertainment by Triplicity, Fusion Fighters and an Aerialist.
Meet in Ireland workshop and familiarisation trip
Meet in Ireland decided to take advantage of Meitheal 2019 and invite 60 MICE buyers to attend a parallel workshop and attend MICE designed fam trips. Our role was to design and execute the workshop, manage suitable accommodation and evening events, as provide a solution for an activity event showcasing MICE product. The workshop took place in the Sycamore Suite on the second floor of the convention centre, starting at the same time as the main Meitheal workshop. We managed accommodation for the buyers and Tourism Ireland staff in both the Cliff at Lyons and Carton House. The welcome night for this MICE buyers’ group took place in the Cliff at Lyons. A highlight of the familiarisation trip was a team event in the K Club which featured axe throwing, kayaking, a murder mystery event and discovering the beautiful estate in a cavalcade of golf buggies! The MICE trip culminated in attending the networking dinner at Weston Aerodrome.