"There is way more to Zurich than I thought." – An interview with Amy Bagdonas, Event Organizer

Amy Bagdonas, an event organizer at Dassault Systèmes, organized a Diamond Club Event in Zurich in May 2017. In this interview she talks about her experiences.

1. Choosing the right destination depends on many criteria. On which basis did you decide to choose Zurich as a destination for this event?

Our Senior VP of Sales asked for a “quintessential European city” and we narrowed down our search until it was between Zurich and Prague. We ultimately decided on Zurich because of three factors:

  1. The ease of travel into the city by plane, train, and car. And also the ease of travel from the airport to the hotel.
  2. The perception of Switzerland as being luxurious and expensive, which makes sense for an incentive destination
  3. The wide variety of activities and experiences we could offer our attendees.

2. What was your perception about Zurich before the event? And did it change after your event had taken place here in Zurich?

I thought that the city was basically just about the finance and banking, but after I did my site visit, I learned that there is way more to Zurich. There is this deep history in the Old Town and a contrasting modern section – it’s really very unique!

I loved the variety of settings in Zurich.

3. What did you like about Zurich?

I liked the very happy, friendly people in Zurich. This honestly made working on this trip a lot more fun for me, and for our attendees. It was evident that everyone we came in contact with loved their country and their jobs. Our attendees certainly felt this by the superb service they received.

Personally, I loved the wide variety of settings – we had a group lunch on top of a mountain, a group dinner on the lake and had activities ranging from cheese tasting and biking, to rafting, and a walking tour with chocolate tasting. I get a lot of personal satisfaction from the attendees’ faces when they are having a fantastic time. Everyone was happy for the whole trip in Zurich and they still talk about it!

I also loved that we stayed within our budget. I was able to provide an amazing experience on a flat budget.

4. You worked together with a Swiss DMC for this event. Would you recommend other event planners to use a DMC for their events in Switzerland?

I worked with Ovation for our event, and I would work with them again in a heartbeat. The whole staff was wonderful and our contact, Claudine, was amazing to work with. Not only did she plan a wonderful trip, and was very detail-oriented, but when plans needed to change with the weather, or due to a family emergency of one of our attendees, she stepped right in to make changes instantaneously. Of course, she did this all with a smile.

We relied on her heavily pre-planning and onsite. I would definitely recommend using a DMC as they know the suppliers better and speak the local language

I would definitely recommend using a DMC.

5. Do you have any recommendations for event managers, who are currently planning an event in Zurich?

I would recommend that they take advantage of all there is within Zurich – it is a city rich in culture and a great jumping off point for a wide variety of activities. Also, make use of the Zurich Convention Bureau. I was able to get a lot of ideas that would work for our group when I met with Ricarda prior to booking the hotel and the DMC. I was able to use this information to make planning a lot easier and quicker when I contracted a DMC.

6. Do you have any further comments?

Just that Zurich is truly a wonderful and unique destination. Our Senior VP of Sales travels a lot –professionally and personally, and even to many incentive destinations – and told me he typically is happy to come home after these trips. After his trip to Zurich, he wanted to move there! He was so in love with the area and was so happy we chose to have our event there.