A journey through the majestic corridors of the Palace was leading to the man in charge of managing the sublime, festive, exclusive and very successful place called Monaco. Paddock magazine got invited to sit down and chat personally with Albert II, Prince of Monaco himself. His Serene Highness shared his opinions on the promotional side of Monaco’s spectacle and how Formula 1 Grand Prix’s marketing impacts various sectors of the Principality. So, how can one use Monaco as a marketing tool?
Elements of the whole
Prince Albert is admirably calm, confident and fluent when discussing his work with the Monaco Grand Prix. One can immediately feel that he and his team have been working tremendously hard and they simply know what they’re doing really well. We start the conversation on the subject of how racing itself influences the business side of Monaco’s Grand Prix. “From the racing side, Formula 1 really helped to promote Monaco’s Grand Prix this year and I think that’s why the commercial background was strong. Everyone was excited to see how Nico Rosberg, a Monegasque driver, would do in his home circuit. Of course, he won, and the competition was quite interesting to watch. So the racing really did everything it could to help this Grand Prix from the marketing aspect of things”, the Prince explains.
“If we were to talk about the preparations for the whole spectacle, I really must say that a lot of improvements could be seen in the organisation of the Monaco Grand Prix. Obviously, having the size of our country in mind, you can imagine the challenges we face every year. We must adapt to new tendencies and adjust everything we do here for the period of around seven weeks of preparations. This Grand Prix is a hugely popular event, quite a lot of people come in – we greet more than two hundred thousand visitors throughout the weekend, and all this – in a country which has a population of thirty six thousand. We have to hire the best marshals, the right medical and fire-protection staff and other highly-trained specialists to ensure that the marketing and promotion of these events wouldn’t go in vain”.
The idea of Monaco acts as the most effective method of marketing.
Public transportation, easy access to the track and the exquisite hospitality are crucial elements for the team working in Monaco, but for the head of the principality, safety always comes first. People visiting Monaco got spoiled by the great times they’ve had here, so they expect to see even better service and feel more and more comfortable every year. Therefore, it all has to be safe for everyone to enjoy the experience and Prince Albert makes sure that it is. If you consider the idea of Formula 1 cars racing in the city streets, one must agree that it’s a genius idea that guarantees magnificent entertainment for the spectator. If you consider the fact that those city streets are in such a crowded and small place like Monaco, it makes it even more astonishing. And if you consider that the racing track is constructed and dismantled every day for the traffic to run normally, the idea becomes simply insane. “Other organisers of Formula 1 races can never understand why we work so hard to close and open the racing track every day during the Grand Prix weekend. But it’s a unique part of Monaco’s Grand Prix experience and we will continue doing everything we can to keep these great traditions. It’s an extremely challenging, but very rewarding event”, the Prince stresses.
Monaco has always been a very popular place to start new business trades and relationships – businessmen of the highest kind come here to enjoy the show, but also to feed their contact list and meet key people in the industry. If Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motorsports, the Monaco Grand Prix is the pinnacle of that pinnacle. The business tone here is a marketing and promotional factor that assures investors, sponsors and other VIPs coming to Monaco for the Grand Prix weekend. “Every corporation wants to come here and entertain their customers as well as to come here to shake hands with possible partners. A lot of strong business people take advantage of this opportunity every year, and that’s a very important and old part of the Grand Prix,” Prince Albert continues. “All we as the hosts must do is to make it possible for those people to get down to business in an entertaining, safe and suitable environment”.
The luxury hotels, terraces and yachts offer a huge capacity for receptions, accommodation and remarkable hospitality possibilities. The Principality offers the perfect mix of climate, ambience and luxury facilities for the business community to meet and develop business links, so there is no wonder that key personalities are here sitting down to make the biggest of deals.
Is Monaco really that exclusive? Certain elements promote the Monaco Grand Prix better than any advertising ever could: it’s the most interesting, mysterious, idiosyncratic and anticipated Grand Prix of the Formula 1 calendar, and it’s going to be for some time. The impression of respect and exclusivity is so strong that no other sporting event could get even close.
Michel Ferry, General Commissioner and head of Formula 1 operations at Automobile Club de Monaco, told Paddock magazine that there is neither mystery nor exclusivity in Monaco. The whole issue is about the accommodation and welcoming capacity for the visitors, which is insanely quantified and limits the overall possibility of access. Prince Albert said he has to agree: “The exclusivity of Monaco, consisting of the limitedness and the very small amount of space, is probably the most powerful marketing tool of the Grand Prix, and history of this event speaks for itself. We have been able to work with the Formula 1 authorities very well together to make sure we deal with all the obstacles in the way of providing the solid Grand Prix experience that Monaco deserves. And, of course, we’re developing it together to be even more charming. Unless we fill the harbor with concrete (laughs), we will never have five hundred thousand spectators. But the idea of Monaco acts as the most effective method of marketing – Automobile Club de Monaco has never sold more tickets than this year”.