Philipp von Zitzewitz, Warmund von Massenbach, Nina Rezec, and Sophie Parneix in Dubai
2018 Honorable Mention:
Guilherme Figueredo, Saurabh Shah, and Liliana Lucila in Brasilia
When determining 2018’s choice for Best Venues, the Global Awards jury reviewed places in many cities and looked for trends in both quality and location. The nominees we chose certainly seem to have a knack for sourcing the top venues, challenging themselves to negotiate deals in 4- and 5-star locations, as well as exclusive boutique venues, that are already quite popular and thus can be extremely difficult to reserve. We found that our nominees are great negotiators: they manage to consistently book elegant and exclusive locations, despite the challenges in locking down prestigious venues around the city.
Why They Won
This year’s winning team comes from Dubai, and one of our jury members tells us why they won:
“Philipp and Warmund have pulled out all the stops to organize an amazing event at the Queen Elizabeth for the 11th birthday of InterNations. Not only does that show their excellent negotiation skills but also a great deal of organizational skills. It takes quite some experience and confidence to host an event for more than 600 guests!"
Nina and Sophie have been equally successful in finding the most high-class venues for our members in Dubai but they don’t just stop there! They’re also constantly checking out new places and opportunities to offer an exciting variety of locations for everyone.
Besides organizing four monthly events at amazing venues together, they are also just overall great Ambassadors and we’re lucky to know one of our biggest communities is in such good hands!
Last but not least we would also like to highlight the great job our Newcomers’ Ambassadors in Dubai, Dalia Gamali and Waleed Al-Taleb, are doing! They are dedicated to providing our newest members in Dubai with a personalized welcome to the community each month, and we are so pleased to have them represent this special event format in Dubai.
Interview with the Winners
How do you negotiate the best deals for your members at these incredible venues?
Warmund and Philipp: In this part of the world it is all about trust. Building a solid relationship with the venues. Stressing the mutual benefits for the venue and the InterNations community, we look for a strategic and sustainable partnership.
Nina and Sophie: We work hard to source good venues and to mix different locations and types of outlets for our InterNations members in Dubai. It does require good negotiation and communication skills. As the Dubai team, we try to organize events in different parts of Dubai so that we can reach all of our members. Additionally, we try to have a good mix of bars, clubs, restaurants, and terraces as tastes and likes are different.
What is important to look for when choosing your locations?
Nina and Sophie: There are several factors to take into consideration, such as the size of the community. The Dubai Community is one of the largest communities, so the main factor is the capacity of the venue as we do not want to limit the guest lists and give every member the opportunity to join us. Secondly, variety in terms of outlets, depending on weather conditions: hot summers and rain season indoors, colder weather outdoors. We usually look for different types, such as restaurants, clubs, lounges, terraces, etc., to offer something for everyone. Members have different preference: some like a clubbing environment, the others a quieter terrace setting. Thirdly, we try to change or add new venues to our network constantly. Dubai is a fast-moving city, venues close, new ones open, and people who were our points of contact leave.
Warmund and Philipp: Depending on the climate, the venue should provide indoor and/or outdoor space. The minimum capacity for InterNations Dubai is at least 150 + people. We always look for an exclusive venue which makes it easier for the members to mingle. The venue should be unique! The staff should be professional, friendly, and they should understand the global concept of InterNations. The venue should provide the opportunity to set up an InterNations welcome desk, and, of course, complimentary valet parking is a MUST in Dubai. Depending on the budget, we always try to provide a welcome drink, finger food and the chance to win a prize! We are always looking for new venues as we want the members to discover Dubai with InterNations!
Can you give us an example of a “highlight event” or an event you were really proud of during your time as Ambassadors?
Warmund and Philipp: The event on the famous QE2 — in combination with InterNations’ birthday — was for sure a highlight in our history with InterNations. More than 600 members showed up, dressed up to reflect the nostalgia, glamour, and exclusivity of the occasion. Furthermore, we are very proud of our long-term partnership with the most luxurious night club in the Middle East, Cavalli Dubai. Our event at Niki Beach Dubai with a great live performance was another highlight with the turn-out being more than 500 members.
Nina and Sophie: Within the Dubai Community, we believe all our events are highlights, as we have organized events for 200+ actual attendees each week for many years, besides our full-time jobs. We are always very pleased and happy if members have a good time, no matter which setting. We try to please everyone, but of course, it is not always easy with such a big number of attendees.
Congratulations to Warmund, Philipp, Nina, and Sophie, 2018’s winner for the Best Venues.
We would also like to recognize Guilherme Figueredo, Liliana
Lucila, and Saurabh Shah in Brasilia as our honorable mention, for impressing all of us with incredible negotiation skills and an eye for picking the top venues in your community!
About the Winners:
Philipp von Zitzewitz is German with a passion for foreign countries and languages. He has lived and worked in Dubai since 2006 as the managing partner in a trade promotion consultancy. He enjoys creating networks and bridging businesses and people. Feeling at home in Dubai, he is always ready to explore exciting new venues and activities in this ever bustling and changing Emirate. He started off his Ambassador journey at InterNations Dubai in 2008 and has been a part of countless official events since. If you don’t find him in his office or at the Dubai events, he is probably down by the beach in Jumeirah or swimming somewhere in the nearby seas.
Warmund von Massenbach carried the spirit of global minds long before joining InterNations and becoming a Dubai Ambassador. Warmund loves travelling — he's visited around 80 countries from Latin America to the Far East and after many years working in the travel industry, he's more recently switched to the healthcare sector. The German national is a prolific networker and through InterNations he has further expanded his global network of personal and professional contacts and made many great friends along the way. Warmund's networking skills have also enabled him, alongside Philipp, to secure some of the most prestigious and breathtaking venues for InterNations events. If you do catch him having a breather in between his work and event planning, there's a very good chance that he's thinking about Bali in Indonesia, one of his favourite places in the world.
Nina Rezec joined InterNations Dubai as an Ambassador in 2011. She was born and raised in Stuttgart, Germany. As a student she has lived and worked in several countries, like the US, The Netherlands, and the UAE. In 2007, she moved to Dubai to work in the finance field. Due to her passion for different cultures, Dubai is the perfect workplace for her. When she’s not organizing and hosting InterNations events, she loves exploring new countries and cultures by travelling extensively and meeting new people with different backgrounds.
Sophie Parneix is French and was born in Paris. She has lived in many countries in South East Asia, the United States and Europe. Her background is in Arts and she studied at the Beaux Arts Academy in Paris. She managed an Art Gallery in Europe and then added "Food Art" to her skills by becoming a French pastries chef. Sophie has been living in Dubai since 2006. She enjoys the dynamic and multicultural environment of the city, its outstanding architecture and the beautiful venues it offers. She particularly fancies the night life spirit of Dubai and is always willing to share captivating events with all the members of InterNations, which is why she became an Ambassador in 2015 and organizes two official events each month together with Nina.