My Best Meeting Moment By Robin Van Ieperen, Amsterdam Marriott Hotel

My Perfect Game Plan for a World-Class Sporting Event

Goal: House and Feed Demanding Pro Athletes

The German National Football Team, one of the best soccer teams in the world, had to play the Dutch team. It’s always a big rivalry, and the German team was in-house for three days.

These professional athletes are the biggest stars. There were 50 to 70 high-profile guests with very specific demands. They took over much of the hotel and attracted a lot of fans.

Convert a Banquet Hall into a Scouting and Media Center

They rented three floors of the hotel and the entire banquet space. We created meeting rooms, scouting rooms, interview rooms and training rooms. They had a TV crew with them that was live-streaming. In the banquet room, they would throw the ball around, but it was mostly entertaining. They’re quite good professional players—nothing was broken.

Keep Food and Drink Flowing

At 6 a.m. each day, we started preparing breakfast. Then, while they were at the gym or sleeping, we had a quick turnaround for lunch. They would train again, and we had to escort them outside the hotel quickly and keep them away from fans. They came back for dinner, and then after the game, there was a late-night dinner.

At the meals, we used flowers in the team colors: white, yellow, red and black. They brought their own chef, who worked closely with our chef. The minibars had to be emptied and filled with products from their sponsors. We had to provide a lot of ice cubes and towels every day.

This was the first big sports team for us—very different from our typical guest.

Personalize the Stage

We found out they were doing a press conference in the hotel, and we set up a stage with a backdrop. We thought it would be great if we had a different table skirt, so we printed one in huge letters, “Marriott Amsterdam.” It was broadcast all over Europe.

Afterward, the team’s three managers wrote letters to our general manager, saying they were very pleased with the on-the-fly responses to their needs. In soccer, everyone knows everyone else, so when the Chelsea football team had to play here, they also chose Marriott Amsterdam.