EO Global Leadership Conference (GCL)

Frankfurt Spouse/Life Partner Program Delights

Ready, Set and Experience!

In the spring of 2017 Cornerstone Meetings, a local event expert in Frankfurt, Germany designed and managed a spousal and life partner (SLP) program during the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) Global Leadership Conference (GCL) and created many memorable experiences. Jutta Heinrich, Director of the Frankfurt Convention Bureau, recently spoke with Eva Hoffmann from Cornerstone Meetings to get a behind the scenes view of how they planned and executed this highly successful program.

Q. Can you tell me a bit about the GCL event?
A. The Entrepreneurs’ Organization is a global peer-to-peer network of 11,000 business owners with 143 chapters in 46 countries. Every year approximately 1400+ participants and 300 spouses from this group come from across the globe to attend the GCL event, which provides training for up-coming leaders and opportunities for networking and knowledge sharing. This year’s event was held at Messe Frankfurt exhibition grounds and took place at the Congress Center Messe Frankfurt, the Forum Messe Frankfurt and the Kap Europa from April 29-May 2nd.

Q. I know the EO organization describes itself as" by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs" was there a desire to make this a more experiential program that appealed to a younger and innovative audience?
A. Yes we were tasked with creating an experiential program that would include both cultural and athletic offerings and appeal to an equal number of men and woman who were predominantly 30 – 50 years old. We initially proposed 20 potential programs including half and full day tours to Würzburg, Heidelberg and Rüdesheim and also 3-4 hour activities in Frankfurt. The EO project manager then selected the final number offerings for the SLP program.

Q. Can you provide some highlights of the program and the overall reaction of the participants?
A. Yes all the events were fully booked and received high marks from attendees. Some of the spouse/ life partner favorites included unique local experiences such as:
•    A visit to the most culturally significant monasteries and vineyards in Germany, the Kloster Eberbach, which is referred to as “cradle of viticulture in the Rheingau” region. This 6-hour outing included lunch at the tavern, a wine tasting and was led by a knowledgeable tour guide. 115 Spouse/Life guests participated and the feedback was outstanding. Many commented that this tour changed their perception on the quality of German wine and that the Monastery was a stunning location.
•    The classic car experience featured a guided tour through Klassikstadt to learn more about German engine production from merchants such as McLaren, Aston Martin and Lamborghini before heading out on the road in vintage German cars. This was truly a hands-on activity as participants were able to drive a variety of different makes and models, including drop-tops, Rolls Royce and the Trabant vintage cars from Frankfurt out into the surrounding towns.
•    Several other popular offerings were stand up paddle boarding lessons on the River Main and different specialized city tours. One walking tour of the city highlighted Frankfurt’s efforts for environmentally friendly living and working and was led by an expert architect who specializes in sustainable, architectural projects in Frankfurt. The second walking tour focused on medieval architecture and included climbing the 318 steps of the bell tower in Kaiserdom, Frankfurt’s gothic red-stone cathedral.

Q. Do you have any tips for how to create an atmosphere where attendees can enjoy “authentic” experiences?
A. Stick with your strengths as a destination providing a diverse set of tours, activities and hands on experiences that bring that to life for people and link your destination with those positive memories long after people go home. For example, in my destination classic cars are strongly associated with Germany and German engineering so we built around this well-known expertise area and this part of the SLP program sold out almost immediately.  Also Use DMC staffers and guides that really know the local ins and outs and because of that can provide personalized attention to guests based on their interests. Finally keep it small – the GCL SLP program primarily featured small individual programs with no more than 20 participants, which helped exceed guest’s expectations by making it memorable, authentic and highly personal.

Q. Networking was an important objective for the SLP. How did you structure the programs to facilitate this?
A. We kicked off the SLP with a meet and greet coffee with the SLP program subcommittee. The group also reconvened for lunch both days (day 1 at the tavern at the monastery and day 2 at Margarete Restaurant in Frankfurt) and shared their experiences and provided feedback. As I also mentioned before, groups for many activities were a manageable size so people got to know people better then they would in a huge group.

Q. Why is Frankfurt a good destination for a spouse to visit?
A. Frankfurt is a very vibrant and handy metropolis. It has a great diversity of things to do from the very traditional and historical to the trendy—more or less all within walking distance and easy to use public transportation. Getting there easy as it has as many as almost 300 direct flights from the States and other locations around the world and because it is so centrally located and well connected to all other destinations in Germany pre and post travels for business or pleasure are easy to get to via car, train or plane. Trips to Berlin, Munich, Cologne or Dresden, for example, are less then 4 hours away and Stuttgart is just an hour away. Many of the SLP participants found Frankfurt to be a very diverse and green city whose residents were open minded and friendly.

In Cooperation with the German Convention Bureau e.V.