Case Study: Illuminate 2022
Flight Centre Travel Group’s Illuminate 2022, held in Sydney in October, was a game-changing industry event. After a number of audience-free events during the pandemic, the 2022 hybrid event celebrated the return of a live event format with around 400 in-person attendees.
Tasked with bringing the event to life, FCM Meetings & Events delivered the most anticipated hybrid event of the year, featuring an A-list line-up of business icons, thought leaders, futurists, changemakers and economists at the forefront of industry.
Working with key stakeholders, FCM Meetings & Events created the Illuminate 2022 theme ‘Focus Forward – Bigger, Better, Stronger’ to represent the industry’s strong desire to move on from the pandemic.
From a blank canvas to a visually stimulating setting which was unveiled in Sydney, FCM Meetings & Events was determined to push the boundaries. Designed to showcase what the blueprint for future corporate travel and business success looks like, the team ensured that sustainability principles were firmly embedded in all aspects of the event planning and execution. Flight Centre Travel Group wanted to demonstrate to customers and suppliers that they can incorporate sustainability goals into their business events and take significant steps to minimise their carbon footprint.
To create the Flight Centre Travel Group’s peak corporate travel and thought leadership event, a small army of FCM M&E specialists began the process of fine-tuning every element of the event more than 6 months out. Drawing inspiration from a world ready for transformation – they designed the creative identity, interactive online platform and App, the agenda, managed the logistics, secured inspiring speakers and created all live and online content.
While the live event was held in a dynamic Sydney venue, the online audience was also guaranteed a high calibre and equally powerful immersive experience. “Regardless of how, and where the attendees enjoyed Illuminate from – the curated program was designed to give every person the same quality experience,” said Terri Stewart – Senior Project Lead, FCM Meetings & Events.
“Our team carefully honed every detail – from the colour palette of the event to the speakers and the event’s sustainability credentials,” said Terri Stewart. “We essentially devoted two teams to Illuminate. One working exclusively on the logistics of the live event and one managing the online event. However, both teams have shared the one goal - to deliver an innovative and interactive experience that melds seamlessly.”
Theme and Logistics
FCM Meetings & Events harnessed the Focus Forward theme, while creating Illuminate 2022 around three key pillars - sustainability, people and innovation. Each element of the event including the speakers, content, partner showcase and event design, was created to link back to at least one pillar.
- As a hybrid event, Illuminate already had a reduced environmental impact, however the event paid to offset its total carbon emissions through EcoAustralia, which works to reduce global emissions and restore native vegetation in Australia.
- Keynote speakers and content were curated around sustainability messages to inspire, provoke and educate the audience. This included hearing from corporate climate change specialist Adam Carrel, environmentalist and documentary-maker Dr Chadden Hunter and a session on Rex Airline’s journey towards electrification.
- Guest name tags and lanyards were made of recycled plastic bottles, and they were collected at the end of the event to use again.
- Staff team t-shirts were re-used from a previous event.
- Signage was digital or made from recycled materials.
- There were no plastic items at the event, including water bottles, takeaway cups, cutlery or food and beverage packaging.
- Ceramic coffee mugs were purchased for use and then donated to a catering company for reuse at future events.
- Water refill stations were provided and guests were encouraged to bring their own bottle.
- All showcase partners also got on board by avoiding single use plastics.
- The event was curated to rebuild relationships with colleagues, partners in the industry and customers, while facilitating connection and collaboration.
- 'The Venue' in Alexandria, Sydney, was chosen as a space designed to inspire and encourage people to explore, move around and actively participate in activities during the breaks.
- The Partner Showcase was created to be immersive and engaging – with a Bike n’ Blend Bar, an interactive 180 degree bullet time photo booth, a relaxing indoor garden, an Amazing Race-styled Scavenger Hunt and free massages.
- A media studio was set up to film extra content and comments from keynote speakers to be made available to a wider audience, along with a video highlight reel.
- Giving attendees a purpose, they were invited to choose one of four charities connected to the Flight Centre Foundation to donate to.
- An Illuminate highlight was the massive, 26-metre-wide screen which morphed into a theatrical background for the content and visuals.
- The dramatic stage design was based on the wing of an aircraft.
- An innovation hub showcased all the very latest in travel program technology from FCM and Corporate Traveller.
- The Events Air app was used by guests attending in person to house all the event information they needed including agenda details, games, supplier booth activities and initiatives, contact details and more.
The in-person experience
The innovative in-person conference design featured automated self-registration entry, cutting-edge stage design and seating with an epic backdrop. Curated visual content for guest speakers was beamed onto the screen to add a visual narrative to the insightful content discussed onstage. Guests enjoyed a fun, interactive and sensory event Partner Showcase with loads of interactive guest displays, activities and initiatives to see, touch, taste and hear.
The virtual experience
Those tuning in virtually were immersed in a seamless, 3D travel experience from airport to runway and beyond. They entered the Illuminate terminal and chose where to go – the main stage, partner showcase or meeting hub - all with the sights, sounds and vibe of the in-house event. A live feed broadcast at the morning tea break showcased everything that was on display in the Partner Showcase, along with upbeat tunes by DJ Wildflower. A message board also connected virtual participants with the in-person attendees.
“I loved it and can’t think of anything to improve. I loved all the speakers, and it was the right mix of socialising and conference content.”
“If this year was the measure, I am not sure you could improve on it, it was awesome, fun and thought provoking.”
“The speaker sessions were just incredible and interesting and really good timing.”
“Illuminate has evolved into a brilliant event; one I hope and intend to attend in person next year.”
“The speakers especially, the top 3 were amazing.”