...for successfully hosting 60,000 football supporters. Lyon is a city that has made wise investments in its infrastructure, has a fantastic atmosphere, great places to eat... a fantastic city all round. Even in the rain. I have been saying for years that France knows how to do it well: not just Lyon, but Bordeaux is a great place to stay, Lille is definitely worth a visit, Metz is the latest happening place, and Marseille was the last pleasant surprise of many for me.
But I'll get to the point...
Yes, I was one of those there in Lyon, supporting our Belgian Red Devils. I have to say, being a spectator at a mass event is not really at the top of my bucket list, I prefer to organise them myself. But, it was fascinating for once to be the white sheep in the flock of the ever-singing Red Devils (without a wig, without face-paint and, just to be clear, without horns; you've got to stop somewhere! A black shirt was the limit for me, so maybe a black sheep then).
The question in my mind in relation to these types of events is always how we in the MICE sector can best entertain corporate groups. How much of a VIP are you as an individual if 1,000 VIPs are waiting ahead of you in the queue and 1,000 VIPs are pushing behind you?
It's simple, the vast majority of self-declared VIP groups are always slightly disillusioned, like in Beijing at the Olympic Games in 2008: ‘Super VIP group nr. 2,593, follow me now please!’.
The solution is simple too: set clear expectations and offer solutions to the issues that arise at a mass event, and you do that with scrupulous preparation, followed by even better preparation, and ending with even more preparation. Speaking from personal experience, corporate groups at these events still get Cinderella treatment, existing programmes are simply rolled out and given a veneer of quality. Far too little is invested in these groups, and this is true for almost the entire world of sports. As always, I see some opportunities. Let the games begin!!!
So, a feather in Lyon's cap, but not quite as big as for Paris, which really knows how to rise to the occasion (another cool city, it has to be said).
Until next month,
© Travel Magazine