Sales & Supply

How and Why We Brought Our Global Summit Online

March 22, 2021
Careers Team
Sales & Supply
Share this article:

Every year, our sales teams from the Americas, APAC, and Europe fly in to the Berlin headquarters to gather for the Winter Summit. The annual event is an opportunity for our sales teams (a.k.a. destination managers) to regroup, learn, connect and get inspired for the upcoming year.


In 2021, the Sales Winter Summit was more critical than ever, especially since last year's challenges continue into this one. The planning committee for the event was not deterred by travel restrictions nor social distancing. In fact, the restrictions challenged them to create and host an impactful and powerful adaptation of the event — virtually.

Bringing the event online was no easy task with ten different time zones, four continents, and 80 team members to inspire. Adeline Tong and Estelle Lebrun are two senior destination managers who share how they and the rest of the organizing committee pulled off the impressive feat.

Adeline is based in Bangkok and manages our Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam destinations, while Estelle is based in Paris and manages destinations in France. They offer advice on why it's crucial to retain and adapt company traditions despite the new challenges. Learn how they overcame physical, mental, and logistical hurdles while planning the global event.

How to plan a virtual global summit

1. Before you begin, answer these critical questions. Since this was the first time we were getting 80 team members together for a virtual summit, we started with a blank slate. Literally, a blank piece of paper. The committee sat down together and first answered:

  • What do we want to achieve?
  • What do we want everyone to do?

2. Include a voice from every region. This way you have a balanced representation of different geographical pain points, key themes, local office needs, and ways of working. For our committee and hosts, each region had a representative from:

  • Americas - Jen Loh, area manager for USA West and Western Canada
  • APAC - Adeline Tong, senior destination manager
  • EMEA - Estelle Lebrun, senior destination manager
  • All - Lauren McCallum, executive assistant

3. Ask management for feedback on the agenda. The directors and VPs have a diverse and international perspective that can be incredibly helpful in providing feedback on the event plan. A high-level view can see if the agenda is weighed too heavily towards one team or region’s interest. We ran our summit agenda by directors Julia Randow and Carlee Stellfox Loya,, and our VP Mathis Boldt. They gave us really valuable advice about which topics to prioritize during the event.

We had originally suggested a segment on celebrating the wins of one office per region, e.g. Japan for APAC or Italy for EMEA. The directors gave us feedback that the summit is about our global achievements, and focusing on individual offices didn’t reflect our goal to connect on a global level.

How to set a virtual global agenda

Once we answered those questions, we worked on the agenda. Choose an itinerary that works for your team DNA. For sales, there’s never a moment of silence when we all get together. Due to the nature of our work, we’re quite outspoken so the format of a virtual summit works for us. But if you work in a type of team where people are more reserved, try different ice breakers to set the mood.

Introduction (break the ice)

Without the usual snacks nor room chatter, we had to get creative warming everyone up virtually. GetYourGuide has locations all around the world, and each office has their own design and charms. So we started the summit off with a “Guess the Office” pub quiz, where we took photos from our different offices and everyone guessed which location the picture was taken. We used a quiz app called Kahoot to make the game interactive and easy to participate in. For a little competition, the winner received a €50 gift card.

Celebrating wins (keep the spirit up)

Tao Tao, COO of GetYourGuide, then  discussed the sales team’s wins from the past year. This was a great opportunity to celebrate our victories despite travel coming to a halt. Here we talked about the deals we won, our new GetYourGuide Originals tours, regional milestones, and the destinations that grew despite the pandemic.

Tip: Even though everyone’s at home on Zoom, schedule coffee breaks.

Break out sessions (get productive)

We covered eight topics that related to our goals for this year. Using the breakout feature in Zoom, we were able to pre-assign people into different discussion groups. This made it seamless to automate people into video groups and come back to the larger group. The conversations and learnings from these sessions were a highlight last year so we wanted to do it again this year.

When we returned from our discussion groups, one person from every group would present the key takeaways.

Gratitude session (acknowledge challenges)

Gratitude sessions are essentially shoutouts — internally known as “love bombs” — we give to the people who got us through the year. We did this with the previous summits and were afraid it might not have the same effect virtually, since typically we would be allowed to hug and talk directly to one another. But, it worked surprisingly well in a virtual format!

“This was my favourite session,” says Adeline, the Bangkok-based destination manager. “It’s surprising because it was possible to create the same emotion. I think that people enjoyed this session because it was a truly tough year. We were all so grateful for the mental support from the company; it’s really helped us pull through after all the challenges we faced.”

Coordinating across time zones

Team coordination sessions

Hold two sessions if the time zones are too far apart

Rather than having someone get up at 6 a.m. in one time zone or stay up until 2 a.m. in another, we split the sessions. This way, we had balanced perspectives across the globe.


  • APAC
  • Half of EMEA


  • U.S.
  • Half of EMEA

Estelle and Adeline attended both sessions. Estelle had an 8:30am to 4:30pm time frame while Adeline stayed up late from Bangkok to attend both sessions as attendee and moderator. Mathias,Tao, and the organization committee also gave talks at both sessions.

Prepare for glitches

As with any other Zoom call, something is bound to go wrong. Lagging internet, sudden freezing, slides not changing — if there was a technical glitch, we might not be able to avoid it. Fortunately we were all in different regions so if there was an external influence, like a bad internet connection, it wouldn’t affect all of us at once.  If one of the hosts was facing technical difficulties, we assigned a backup presenter to immediately take over.

Tools are your friends. We wouldn’t have been able to organize certain activities without some fun software:

  1. Kahoot for the quiz in the beginning. Participants can guess from their phone making it much easier to communicate their answers.
  2. Zoom has a “Breakout rooms” feature where you can preassign people into “rooms” . We had a part of the summit where there was 15 minutes for brainstorming. Then 40 minutes for break out and sharing.
  3. Slack for easy communication and group chats.

Adapting and overcoming challenges

Without meeting in person, the team still felt it was necessary to coordinate the event virtually. Why? “Our competitors are working 100% remote too,” explains Estelle on adapting to our present circumstances. “The whole business needs to keep going despite the lack of customers. Even though we can’t see our suppliers, we keep the conversations going, continue to launch activities, and have achievable targets. Holding the summit is no different on the list of things that need to keep going.”

The Paris-based destination manager admits that adapting to remote communication varies across regions. While our smaller offices in APAC have become accustomed to virtual meetings, other regions like EMEA communicate with more team members in the office. “In France in particular, being in-person really matters. You start the day with coffee together, and taking lunch breaks is an important part of French culture.” Estelle explains that working remotely breaks cultural habits and you have to continue creating new traditions. Bringing the summit online was one of the ways that we made that happen.

“Distance doesn’t negate culture,” adds Adeline from her office in Bangkok. “If your company culture is strong enough, remote work won’t weaken it. “In fact,” she says, “It can strengthen it. In the past year, we’ve been more connected than ever, despite working from home. We would have never had virtual lunches before. It’s during these times you realize how important it is to live our company values.”

For updates on our open positions check out our Career page.

Other articles from this series
No items found.

Featured roles

Marketing Executive
Full-time / Permanent
Marketing Executive
Full-time / Permanent
Marketing Executive
Full-time / Permanent

Keep up to date with the latest news

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.