We often hear how destination management companies have to go the extra mile to meet the needs of their clients, but few can have travelled 400 miles - and for so peculiar a reason: pigs’ eyes. Three hundred of them to be precise. And fresh, too. Oh yes, they had to be fresh.
Karen Jessen, MD of Spain and Portugal DMC Cititravel, takes up the tale...
“Solving problems, events' special logistics or last minute requests from clients are our daily tasks, but today, and as an anecdote to illustrate our savoir-faire, we would like to share with you an episode we underwent not long ago,” says Jessen.
“At the beginning of October, we had an optical medical event in Spain, this time in Madrid.
“The 300 doctors on the event made a really peculiar request; they made us look for 300 pigs’ eyes, to test a medication during their event. It was the reason why so many physicians were in attendance too. Imagine how to get 300 fresh pigs’ eyes with such short notice!
“Our Madrid project manager started by asking many slaughterhouses, starting in Madrid and finishing in Girona, where he finally found them. It seemed that, luckily enough, they were very much demanded for the Chinese market.”
Of course, simply sourcing the pigs eyes was not the end of the matter; the next challenge was to get the eyes 400 miles from Girona to Madrid – keeping them nice and fresh on the way. And as if that wasn’t tough enough, there was also the small matter of a transport strike in Catalonia to contend with.
Jessen adds: “The next step was to get them to Madrid, so we asked different companies if they could help us. The problem was that, on that very same day, a transport strike in Catalonia started.
“No car, van, private company or refrigerated truck could be able to help us transporting the goods to Madrid. Airports and highways were closed, so here, we had the second challenge. On top of that, the eyes had to be kept fresh, so we needed a fast solution.
“We had the valuable help of our Barcelona office, who bought cool boxes to keep the eyes fresh.
“And then, it happened: our project manager had the idea of using an ambulance. Due to force majeure, no strike could stop it!
“The trip started in Girona and on its way to Madrid, the ambulance driver had to make some stops during the way, to buy and replace the ice.
“When it finally arrived, every delegate was talking about the ambulance and they couldn´t be more grateful to Cititravel.
“They finally had their fresh pig eyes on time. They sent messages saying: ‘Thanks again for making this happen!!’ and ‘We really appreciate everything you did for us!’, which made us feel really proud.”
A neat illustration, then, of the ends to which you lot out there are willing to go in the name of meetings and events. And also worth bearing in mind should you ever find yourself in a situation where 300 pigs eyes threaten to make a pig’s ear out of your conference…
AMI editor James
Lancaster is a familiar face in the meetings industry and international
association community. Since joining AMI in 2010, he has gained a reputation
for asking difficult questions and getting lost in convention centres. Proofer, podcaster, and panellist - in his spare time, James likes to walk,
read, listen to music, and drink beer.