The tide is high
(A small case-study in clever conference problem-solving):
A MONTH ago I was MC’ing a conference for MGA Insurance Brokers on the Gold Coast. The conference dinner was held at the lovely McLarens Landing on South Stradbroke Island. For those who have not been there before, it is a wonderful location, accessible only by boat and set up to resemble a very comfortable, well-equipped cross between Gilligan’s Island and a Survivor Tribal Council. Delicious food and first rate service.
We arrived there by large boat. The event was going swimmingly (no pun intended given what was about to happen). The banquet dinner had taken place and the delegates were having fun on the dance-floor.
While this was all going on, unbeknownst to the guests, a once-in-40-years King Tide occurred, totally flooding the jetty out to the boat. The island event area itself was untouched and the conference delegates were none the wiser.
But the sudden rise in the tide brought with it a small dilemma: how to get several hundred delegates out to the large boat with absolutely no jetty and no smaller boats to ferry them.
Remember this type of flood is a once in 40 year occurrence.
Simple Solution: Shuttle the delegates 20 at a time on the back of an old cattle truck across to the other side of the island (a 10 minute journey), to board the boat from another unaffected jetty where the tide was much lower. Meanwhile the rest of the delegates simply party on until the shuttle returns.
End result: A bonus, enormously fun cattle truck ride for all the guests, involving much merriment and laughter and a memorable, enjoyable end to the function. The guests actually loved it.
A great example of lateral thinking, problem solving and a wonderful can-do approach to managing the unexpected.
A huge shout out to Jason and the team from McLarens Landing and the wonderful event organisers Dean, Ed and Hazel from Conference Images. Watching them all keep a cool head and solve a potentially huge problem (several hundred guests unable to get off an island!) was great to see.
So next time you’re holding a conference on the Gold Coast, take your delegates to McLarens Landing for dinner but try and plan it on the night of a once-every-40-years King Tide, to make it even more memorable.