Next week raises the curtain on arguably the region's biggest travel and trade fair with the Arabian Travel Market, which runs from Tuesday to Friday. However, while many business houses will be busy sealing multi-million dollar deals during the four-day affair, across the road another important event will also be in full swing – the annual Fairmont ATM Party. Every year's guest list reads like the who's who of the travel industry, along with a few celebrities and socialites thrown in for a heady mix. Emirates Business caught up with Raki Phillips, area director sales and marketing, Fairmont Dubai to gives us the inside scoop on this year's big bash on Wednesday.
The Fairmont ATM party is considered the biggest social event for the travel industry in the region. Does it live up to the expectations every year?
Yes it does. It gets better every year. We certainly see this from the comments and thank-you notes that we receive from our guests. We put a lot of thought and planning into this. One of the remarkable points is the ability to come up with exciting and varied themes. Some that come to mind include the construction theme two years ago where we captured the immense growth, construction and excitement in the city. We erected scaffolding and developed a special themed construction menu, complete with wheel barrels and red cones to display food.
Last year, we played tribute to the centennial anniversary of Fairmont Hotels and Resorts by featuring a 1907 silent picture movie theme. Our food and beverage offerings are staggering and creative. That part alone is a spectacle in itself.
What is this year's theme?
The ATM party theme is a closely guarded secret. That being said, we can divulge a few details. It is called "Masquerade Mystique" this year and the invitations that were delivered were very interesting and very distinctive.
Who is the party really aimed at? And with new hotels and new ATM parties cropping up every year, do you feel the competition is heating up?
The ATM party is aimed at top clients and key industry leaders. We do not necessarily feel the competition as other parties come on board, as it provides those attending the ATM a chance to visit the various hotels in the area and have a chance to network.
How many months of planning and preparation go into the event?
Concept inception and planning takes place right after the new year. We take a look of what has been before and discuss what we want to showcase in the city, something that is new and fresh and has not been scene before. The budget is a bit of a guarded secret.
What has been the most memorable ATM party for you?
My most memorable ATM part was last year's centennial-themed party. Its elegance and decorative touches [movie theatre chairs, lighting, screens showcasing 1907 silent movie treatment footage] was tasteful.
Any major faux pas that come to mind?
No major faux pas. I think we have bitten our nails a bit when waiting for guests to arrive.