With a slightly sore head from a successful night at the Conference News awards the day prior, on Friday 22nd March I headed to Heathrow for a very early morning flight to Lisbon, Portugal. I was thrilled to be invited to the DBF, All about People event hosted by Delphine and Michiel Fortuin with over 140 other industry colleagues. Despite the early morning, the reunion with industry friends created somewhat of a party flight atmosphere, accompanied by the complimentary refreshments from our airline host TAP Portugal - it was definitely not the quiet plane!
We had an action packed first day, heading to our host hotel - Palacio Estoril for a welcome lunch, and then straight into our 15 minute “speed dating” style meetings with over 80 EMEA venues, hotels and suppliers eagerly awaiting to showcase to my agency counterparts and I what they had to offer. Quinta da Marinha were our host for the evening reception, where dinner was served within the grounds of their award winning 18-hole golf course with views over the Atlantic and the Sintra Mountains. The short drive back through the streets of Caiscais provided ample entertainment, combining a sing-along hosted by numerous agency representatives, culminating in “Hey Jude” (which I may or may not have been responsible for!)
Saturday was a big day! As the Palacio Estoril was home to the 1969 blockbuster On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, it was only right that the evening gala dinner was a Bond theme. Before this we enjoyed the chance to meet dozens more suppliers from all over Europe, before gearing up for a full black tie extravaganza! VOQUIN then treated us to a Mission Impossible activity where nine teams boarded open top Jeeps to complete numerous missions around Sintra Mountains. The teams were all incredibly competitive, the views were stunning and professional radio etiquette was out the window providing plenty of entertainment along the way!
We arrived to a display of five spectacular classic cars on the lawn of the Palacio, and that was only the beginning! From casino tables to Bond star lookalikes, motorbikes driving through the ballroom to a performance of Bond film classics songs from a Portuguese superstar - we had it all! Everybody was dressed to impress, including a quick change from a Bond girl to James Bond himself.... and all before the main course!
This whistle-stop trip was coming to end on Sunday with many a sore head and many a tale to tell. Meetings concluded at lunchtime before an exquisite reception was hosted by the Intercontinental Estoril accompanied by a DJ and a poolside setting, we were treated like Hollywood royalty before returning to Lisbon and heading back to London.
A huge thank you to DBF Events, all of our host hotels, the DMC’s and of course my extended industry family for the laughs, memories and an experience to remember for years to come. We can’t wait for the next one!