DMC Showcase – a traditional Turkish experience in Istanbul

In our latest DMC creativity showcase, we share how two DMCs – ODS Turkey and Phoenix Voyages –worked in partnership to create an inspiring and authentic programme of experiences for a 230-strong group of delegates in Istanbul last September…

The brief

ODS Turkey has a longstanding business relationship with Phoenix Voyages – a reputable DMC located in Vietnam. Phoenix requested help with a six-night programme for the annual national sales meeting of a global medical company’s Vietnam chapter. Among the busy meeting schedule – with one plenary and six breakout sessions each day – ODS Turkey was briefed to deliver sightseeing programmes, a welcome reception, gala dinner night and additional group dinners.

The Solution

ODS examined previous experiences of the end client – destinations visited earlier, entertainments performed during welcome receptions, gala dinners, opening ceremonies of the meetings and other details to be able to offer both creative, but at the same time unexpected and new experiences. Phoenix Voyages was very experienced with the client and supported ODS with accurate information at every stage of the preparation. Consequently, an efficient solution for the end client was created in harmony with the combination of both parties’ know-how.

The group was welcomed on arrival at Istanbul Airport in the early hours of 22 September by the ODS Turkey team. The privatised check-in at the hotel was planned meticulously to be completed quickly as possible. After breakfast and some time for refreshment at the hotel, guests were ready to discover highlights of the city. The Hippodrome, Hagia Sophia, Underground Cistern, Nuriosmaniye Mosque and the famous Spice Bazaar were all visited in smaller groups in rotation accompanied by local guides.

A welcome reception, held in the evening, was organised in Esma Sultan Mansion, a 19th century historical venue named after the daughter of one of the Ottoman Sultans; “Sultan Abdulaziz”. Located on the shores of the Bosphorus, where Asia and Europe meets, the venue boasts great views of the city, the Bosphorus and the Bosphorus Bridge. The night kicked off with a traditional and colourful folklore dance performance, followed by an awards ceremony.

The first day of meetings on the 23 September featured a whirling dervish performance at the start of the the first plenary session. A whirling dervish ceremony is a spiritual performance originated in Anatolia and dates back to 13th century focusing on uniting with the love of God, while feeling the magnitude of the universe. Before the performance a short introduction to the philosophy of whirling dervishes was announced for participants to understand the performance and its connection with the concept of the meeting which was “Think Big”. This was followed by an opening speech by the company’s General Manager dressed in an Ottoman Sultan costume who saluted guests in Turkish.

The next several days were spent at the hotel with meetings in both plenary and breakout sessions as well as dinners outside of the hotel organised for the different divisions of the medical company. After the closure of the meetings it was time for the gala night.

The stunning venue Adile Sultan Palace, located on the Asian side of the city, was used as the summer residence by one of the sisters of an Ottoman Sultan, Sultan Abdulmecit, as of 1861. After a Bosphorus cruise on a private yacht to reach the gala venue, guests were welcomed by the Ottoman army at the entrance of Adile Sultan Palace. A Janissary Band, once the official band of Ottoman army, performed a mini concert for guests during the welcome cocktails served on the terrace. The band led them to the main hall where gala dinner was served. Entertainment included a group of belly dancers, and a Marash ice cream seller, who played little games during ice cream service.  

The verdict

ODS Turkey Managing Director said: “Our team is meticulous with every project we have the chance to operate, and we love to put our invisible corporate fingerprint on each. Tasteful and detail-oriented months of work was carried out between Phoenix Voyages and ODS Turkey teams in harmony. The combination of detailed knowledge of the end-client, sourced by Phoenix Voyages, and rich know-how of the business and the destination sourced by ODS Turkey resulted in success. In addition, our long-lasting relationship with Phoenix Voyages made this project more special.”

Phoenix Voyages Group President Edouard George said: “Istanbul is a priceless city with its beauty and it indeed composes a very rich source for our industry. In this context, destination choice was precise when thinking of such a dynamic program. Furthermore our choice of the local DMC was precise when thinking of the hard and detailed work done. The co-operation we made with ODS Turkey was satisfying throughout the whole process; from the offering stage until the billing stage.”

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