Story Of The Advantage Conference 2017

3 – Introduction

Here are photos, tweets, posts and more giving you a snapshot of what happened

During the weekend of 12-15 May just under 500 delegates travelled to Club Med Opio in Provence for a jam-packed three days of networking, sessions and social events for the 2017 Advantage Conference. The theme was Man & Machine – capturing and understanding how technology is evolving while providing ideas on the importance of embracing technological innovation in the context of delegates own businesses, as well as the investing in the most important asset of their businesses – the people.



Managing Director, Julia Lo Bue-Said welcomed delegates on the Friday afternoon with a 20-minute presentation on the importance of human emotion and values, and why the personal touch remains all important in these evolving times. Videos were shown from staff and members talking about the values of the organisation and how Advantage lives and breathes its values and ethos.




Estelle Giraudeau, Managing Director of Club Med UK officially welcomed delegates to Club Med and provide a reminder of Club Med’s journey throughout the years, snd wished everyone a good weekend ahead at the resort.



Techno-geek Jason Bradbury, the former presenter of the Gadget Show, arrived on a hoverboard circling the audience for this entrance onto the stage. He then took the room on a technological journey to illustrate how technology has evolved while throwing in details of a few of his creations – along with his trusted robot friend, Pepper, who was on stage with him throughout.


After a three-course dinner, delegates headed downstairs to what can only be described as a red Indian / nu-rave party! Members of the Club Med team were covered in glow in the dark paint and guests were invited to join in and have their face painted!

Throughout Saturday 41 Business and more than 90 Leisure suppliers held Speed dating sessions – that’s more than 1500 appointments! – with thousands more connections being made at the bar.



After all business appointments had concluded, delegates were invited to make the most of Club Med facilities and participate in a game of archery, petanque or 5-a-side football.

Six sponsor hosts split delegates up and took them out for their own evening on and off site. Thank you to Travel2, Superbreak, Citalia, Turkish Airlines, Avis and Joint Venture – for hosting such wonderful evenings, that involved a lot of laughs! Advantage even hosted its only battle of the bands themed evening, with some nuns as guests!

Sunday morning was all about cyber security. Alistair Pritchard from Deloitte gave delegates a very informative presentation looking at current issues affecting the travel industry: laptop ban, Brexit, terrorism and cyber security. Alistair played a video a very powerful video to demonstrate to delegates the risks of being hit by a cyber-attack by showing a short film showing the risk and potential damage businesses face.

Uniworld won the social media Robot Challenge competition this year. This is the second year in a row they’ve taken the top spot, no pressure for 2018 right?

Non-executive Chairman of Advantage, Steven Esom, gave his reflections on the conference and told delegates that the future of travel will be humans and technology together.

“It’s about people, their decisions and how to drive more customers to their businesses. To do that they must embrace the best that technology has to offer” Steven Esom.

Sir Chris Hoy took to the stage for an inspirational presentation talking about his journey as an athlete, his vision and ambition from a young age – building up to his drive and the mental strength he needed to achieve his first medal in Athens 2004. A video of that infamous race in Athens had the audience at the edge of their seats and needless to say, he was a hit!

In the final part of the afternoon, Miami was announced as the setting for the 2018 event, drawing cheers from the audience.

The final night was a gala dinner white party, as the sun set delegates had a drink on the driving range, before walking down through the olive groves to dine outside for a three-course meal. Holiday Extras closed the event with an 11 piece brass band they’d flown in from the UK. The Soul Collective impressed with a fearless energy, a fantastic song choice and were definitely a crowd pleaser!

As Monday morning arrived, delegates began the long journey home.

Here are a few humourous facts to leave you with:

  • Club Med delivered three times more quantity than a usual group in gin and beer
  • They added more staff behind the beer to serve more
  • They run out of vodka the last night!

See you in Miami next year! #AdvConf18

Click here to see all the photos and videos from conference