• July 2, 2024

FAM Report: Discovering the Swisstainable side to Switzerland

FAM Report: Discovering the Swisstainable side to Switzerland

FAM Report: Discovering the Swisstainable side to Switzerland 1024 683 micebook.

Our communications & content creator Shannon Skeels shares her highlights from this year’s Swiss Meeting Trophy fam trip…

Switzerland – the land of awe-inspiring mountains, world-renowned chocolate and, as it turns out, fiercely competitive event planners. The peace capital of the world may not have been the obvious choice of location to host a competition that pitted teams from seven different countries against each other, but the Meeting Trophy proved that even the most serene destinations can provide some thrilling adventures.

“The Swiss Meeting Trophy brings international customers and Swiss partners together, creating new connections.” explains Reto Konrad, Manager at the Switzerland Convention & Incentive Bureau, UK & Ireland. “Over four days, the participants experience Switzerland in an exciting way. They get to discover new places and learn how easy it is to travel by public transport and how well connected everything is within Switzerland.”

Since its launch in 2004, the Meeting Trophy has evolved into a highly anticipated annual event that brings together event professionals from around the world to compete in fun tasks whilst providing first hand insights into its potential as a top-tier destination for hosting MICE events. 

After landing at Zurich Airport, I was greeted by the host of the UK Team, Reto, along with my other teammates. Teams typically consist of around 8 – 10 members, but in true British style, this year boasted a small but mighty crew of four, which included representation from agencies Shore Events, Tigerlike Events, Pepler Lee Events – and of course, micebook!

After just a few minutes’ walk, we were able to board a train to Zurich’s main station. Coming from the UK, my rail travel expectations may admittedly be lower than average, so when I stepped onto a clean, spacious and precisely-on-time train, I automatically assumed we were in a first-class carriage. To my surprise, it was just a regular coach — a standard I soon realised was common across all Swiss public transport. 

After meeting the other teams on the platform, the first stop on our itinerary was boarding the legendary “Churchill” Red Arrow train from Zurich to Landquart. The train can seat up to 96 guests and made the two and a half hour journey to our destination into a memorable experience. Much like Churchill did in 1946, we sat in the same carriage, marvelled at the stunning scenery, enjoyed a glass of Swiss wine and hopefully manifested a resounding victory of our own.

Arriving in Davos, we checked into the Hotel Grischa, a four-star superior hotel with a sleek and stylish interior throughout. Its ultra-modern amenities and perfect location right opposite Davos Platz train station made it an ideal base for the upcoming adventures. That evening, the teams gathered for a lively networking dinner. We were treated to tasting plates from Hotel Grischa’s five different restaurants, ranging from Swiss classics to sushi. 

Each team took turns introducing themselves to the other groups, and the room soon filled with animated conversations and laughter as participants swapped stories and strategies, building excitement for the start of the Meeting Trophy the next morning. By the end of the night, my mind was swimming with questions – what challenges would await us tomorrow, how would we stack up against the other teams —and perhaps most crucially, do Swiss commuters even know what a rail replacement bus is?

Day 1

After a particularly dairy-laden breakfast, we geared up for the first set of challenges. A quick walk brought us to the cable car station for a ride up to Rinerhorn, a mountain famed for its picturesque views and diverse activities.

Our initial tasks were designed to test our teamwork and knowledge of Switzerland, including a timed puzzle and a scavenger hunt along the mountain paths. While the ride up was relaxing, the journey down was an entirely different experience as we raced along the mountain paths on scooters. Admittedly, I spent the first few minutes silently thanking myself for hastily purchasing travel insurance a few days prior, however, once I got the hang of it, scootering down the mountain turned out to be a truly exhilarating experience.

Lunch was served at the idyllic Walserhuus, a charming restaurant nestled in the Sertig valley at the foot of the Mittagshorn. We enjoyed a fantastic BBQ surrounded by breathtaking views and frolicking baby goats—honestly, what more could you wish for?

The next set of rallies took us back to Davos, where we toured the local museum, indulged in cheese tasting, played mini golf, and visited the Davos Congress Centre. This renowned venue, famous for hosting the World Economic Forum, boasts over 12,000 square meters of event space, including 34 rooms of varying sizes, accommodating events from small meetings to large conferences.

That evening, we took the Schatzalp funicular railway, in use since 1899, to reach our dinner destination. As we ascended, the panoramic views of the Alps unfolded, revealing why this location has been featured in several films. The Hotel Schatzalp, built in the Art Nouveau style and originally conceived as a luxury sanatorium, is accessible only by this unique railway, making it a particularly unique location.

Upon arrival, traditional Swiss singers serenaded us outside the hotel before we sat down to a delicious meal. During dinner, the results from the first day of rallies were announced. Team UK was holding strong in fourth place, which we mutually decided was a strategic move to lull the other teams into a false sense of security.

Day 2

Day two of our adventure began with an exciting and scenic drive from Davos to Goldau in electric cars, once again showcasing Switzerland’s commitment to sustainability, whilst winding through the beautiful mountain landscapes. 

“The sustainable programme of Switzerland Tourism called “Swisstainable” is a key element of the Meeting Trophy,” said Reto. “We want to show that travelling by public transport is easy and convenient, even with a larger group. The majority of the hotels already offer local products and try to buy locally whenever possible. We used electric cars to show that you can easily travel around Switzerland sustainably.”

Upon reaching Goldau, we hopped on a train heading up to Mt. Rigi. Unfortunately, the weather had other plans, shrouding the mountain in thick clouds and obscuring the views. Despite the fog, the experience was far from dull. We were greeted on the train ride by a musical group called Song Division, who helped us write a spirited Team UK chant during the journey. 

The rally challenges on Mt. Rigi really ramped up our competitive nature. We tried our hand at cheese rolling, indulged in chocolate tasting, tested our aim with a crossbow, and showcased our lung power by blowing the traditional alpine horn.

Vitznau was the next stop on our list, where we visited a beautiful, newly built music hall, Das Morgen, which can seat up to 275 guests. The hall’s roof was decorated to resemble the starry sky of Swiss National Day on August 1st. The fourth and final rally found us listening to music played by a pianist and guessing the songs.

After a tranquil boat ride across Lake Lucerne, we finally arrived at our final stop: the Hotel & Conference Centre Sempachersee. This impressive venue boasts large conference capacities and state-of-the-art facilities, making it ideal for events of all sizes, despite its more rural location.

“Due to the Ukraine peace conference, which took place at the very same time as the Meeting Trophy, the programme had to be completely rearranged,” said Reto. “Due to this, we were able to include venues that are generally less well known, showing that there are also many locations and hotels outside the main centres that have much to offer.”

The evening wrapped up with a fantastic dinner and a lively party, where the results of the Meeting Trophy were revealed. After some tough competition, Team Belgium ended up snagging the victory!

As the Swiss Meeting Trophy 2024 drew to a close, it was clear that the event had created an unforgettable experience for all teams. The breathtaking landscapes, seamless logistics, and engaging challenges provided a perfect showcase for Switzerland’s capabilities as a premier destination for the MICE industry.

For those eager to join in on the fun, the next Meeting Trophy will be held from the 19-22 of June 2025. Professionals in the MICE industry interested in joining Team UK/Ireland can apply by emailing [email protected]

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