The Guild AGM : It’s a military operation – BGTW AGM Champagne 2017


This weekend, the advance guard of the BGTW will be heading out to Reims in France at the start of this year’s Annual General Meeting (AGM).

The Guild AGM is a calendar highlight for Guild members. There are meetings and events every month, but the AGM is where the highest number of members gather together to enjoy each other and a new destination over a number of days.

This year is no exception. Just over 90 members will attend the AGM itself in Reims and around 60 will stay on to explore the region on six themed press trips.

The event is also an excellent, and sought after*, opportunity for Destination Marketing Organisations (DMOs) to host a concentrated audience of leading travel bloggers, infuencers, writers, authors, guidebook writers, photographers and broadcasters, in their destination.

In recent years the AGM has been held in:

  • 2016 Tenerife, Spain
  • 2015 Milan, Italy
  • 2014 Weimar, Germany
  • 2013 Zakopane, Poland
  • 2012 Nord pas de Calais, France
  • 2011 Oman
  • 2010 Tenerife, Spain

Last year the Guild was invited back by Turismo de Tenerife, because our previous visit, five years earlier, had generated so much coverage for the island.

This year too, we are on a return visit. The region of La Champagne, now La Champagne & Ardenne, generously hosted the Guild AGM in 2004.

Avenue de Champagne, Epernay
Avenue de Champagne, Epernay. Photo: CRTCA

So, we’re back in La Champagne!

What is involved?

It’s a complicated itinerary, organised with military precision!

Cathédrale de Reims
Cathédrale de Reims. Photo: CRTCA

On Sunday the seven members of the Board head out to Reims on Eurostar from St Pancras, via Paris. Then on Monday the remaining 83 Guild members, shepherded by our secretariat (Benita & Rob) make the same journey in two groups, arriving late on Monday afternoon in time for a guided tour of Reims Cathedral followed by a reception buffet at the Palace of Tau.

On Tuesday the AGM meeting itself will be held during the day at one of the two hotels we are staying at. Then we head for Veuve Cliquot for a tour of the Champagne House and then a Gala Dinner.

On Wednesday morning there will be city tours before the whole group splits up; those on the post-AGM press trips set off to their first locations around La Champagne and Ardenne, the rest return to the UK.

There are six 2-night trips covering different themes:

  1. Discover the secrets of the Ardenne – Local produce, boutique beer, castles, puppets and legends
  2. The Champagne Route from Reims to Châlons – Gastronomy, wineries and distillery in Marne
  3. Champagne Route from Epernay to Château-Thierry – Oenotourism along the Marne Valley
  4. Nature and birding at the Great Lakes of Champagne
  5. Arts & Craft in southern Champagne (Haute-Marne & Aube)
  6. In the steps of the Knights Templar and the Counts of Champagne (Aube en Champagne)

Finally on Friday (3rd Feb) we all head home.

As usual, there are two media elements resulting from an event like this – the ‘live’ coverage on social media, and the subsequent publication of articles and posts in traditional & online media. Keep an eye out for the #BGTWvisitLaChampagne hashtag (and others like #BGTW & #BGTWAGM) to keep tabs on what we get up to.

* If you are a DMO or PR who is interested in hosting a future AGM, let us know.

Champagne welcome banner


Alastair McKenzie
By: Alastair McKenzie Blogger, Editor, Speaker