BLLNR Talks To Robbie Hoyes-Cock, Founder and CEO Of The Podium Lounge

We discover just what it takes to stay in the most competitive game for ten years.

As we prepare to usher in yet another exciting Singapore Grand Prix, our thoughts turn to the inevitable slew of parties and concerts celebrating the three day fiesta. Of these, The Podium Lounge is undoubtedly one of the biggest and best events on offer. Celebrating an epic ten years this year, we talk to Founder and CEO, Robbie Hoyes-Cock about just what it takes to stay ahead of the competition for all these years.

What led you to founding The Podium Lounge?

I had been running monthly VIP club nights in Singapore from 2005 under the brand name B-YOND and the idea had always been to go beyond the norm of stereotypical clubs. The themed events I ran were always centered around carefully curated guest lists, stellar musical line-ups and great beverages. Hosting late night parties outside of the nightclubs has always been the key.

I was approached by the General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia, Peter Mainguy in the summer of 2009 about hosting a ticketed, three-night event by The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia poolside during the 2009 Singapore Grand Prix weekend and I thought it would be a really cool extension of what I was already doing. The rest as they say, is history. Although, Peter is still very much the General Manager of the hotel and has become a very close friend over the years.

How would you describe your typical day?

Manic. During the six months planning phase of The Podium Lounge Singapore, my time is split quite evenly between selling sponsorship and booking artists in the first three months and driving massive promotional campaigns for the remaining three months to ensure a sell-out of corporate hospitality, tickets and VIP tables across the three nights of The Podium Lounge.

Thankfully I'm not a morning person, so my typical day revolves around a late-start and then followed almost immediately by a run, a game of squash or personal training at uFIT. The afternoons are crammed with meetings, more often than not at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia and usually evenings are spent either networking, meeting with clients or family time with my three children.

How have things changed for you and the company from the early days?

I was 28 and unmarried when I hosted the very first Podium Lounge in Singapore. The event was for 400 guests per night by The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia poolside. Fast forward 10 years and I’ve married my University sweetheart Anna, we have three amazing kids (Amelia Rose six years old, Athena Lily five years old and George Robert one year old), and we've not only expanded The Podium Lounge Singapore to the Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Grand Ballroom hosting 10,000+ guests over three nights, but we've also successfully hosted sell-out events in Melbourne, Monaco and Abu Dhabi under The Podium Lounge brand name.

In the early days of the Podium Lounge, could you ever have imagined being here 10 years later?

That's a great question and the answer is absolutely not. But then again, if you were to ask me if there'd be a 20 Year Anniversary of The Podium Lounge Singapore (gosh, I'd be 47!), I'd be equally unsure. As a luxury event organizer or concert promoter, you are only as good as your last major event; the focus is always on outdoing yourself the following year, improving and staying relevant. I've never planned anything in my life more than a year out.

Podium Lounge has now been running for 10 years – what do you think the secret to its success is?

In every Formula 1 city, we always ensure we have the very best trackside location. The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia hosts majority of the F1 Drivers, Teams and Racing Community and is situated within the Marina Bay Street Circuit. It is also the closest venue to The Paddock Club and the F1 Pit Lane.

The secret to longevity in the A-list party business is re-invention, growth and the introduction of a little new magic each year. Our line-up this year features a number of firsts, including the lead singers of two of the most famous boy bands of our time, Keith Duffy from Boyzone and Brian McFadden from Westlife; celebrity DJ Joel Madden, who together with his twin brother Benji and their respective wives Nicole Richie and Cameron Diaz are very much LA Royalty; and Taboo from The Black Eyes Peas. We've also got three incredible LA celebrity fashion designers participating in our nightly fashion circuit including designer M from Mthemovement who has both apl.de.ap from The Black Eyed Peas and Cindy Bishop, presenter of Asia's Next Top Model walking his shows. I'm also particularly excited about the Australian Burlesque Dance Troupe performing across all nights as well a whole host of all-new roving musicians including super talented percussionists, saxophonist, harpist and guitarist playing across the weekend.

Who have your most memorable performers been?

My top five are Hodor from the Game of Thrones (DJ Kristian Nairn), Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Macy Gray, SKY BLU from LMFAO and Stephane Pompougnac from Hotel Costes. All incredibly talented musicians and incredibly charismatic people to work with.

What’s the secret to booking a great act? How do you judge who the crowd will like?

We base our bookings for The Podium Lounge on world-renowned celebrities with a large global following. The Podium Lounge caters for Asia's jet-setting party elite, and so we're conscious of the fact that our guests tend to range between the ages of 35 – 65. Therefore, it's very important to book artists that are relevant to this demographic. We don’t book new kids on the block or up and coming artists.

What’s your secret to hosting a great party?

Months and months of planning. The entertainment has to be unreal, guests must leave the party in total awe, table service of course has to be exemplary and there are always a number of mind-blowing surprises to keep our guests talking for months after the event. You know you're doing something right when you have the same loyal guests booking VIP Tables, which goes up to $28,888, year in year out.

Besides Singapore, which are your other favourite Grand Prix’s?

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is quite spectacular, set around the Yas Marina and entirely custom built to spec for Bernie Ecclestone. In Abu Dhabi it's all about the Yacht Parties and the race is at dusk, which means the after-parties start much earlier. I've never seen so many beautiful people congregated in such a small space in all my life and the yachts are like nothing you've ever seen outside of Monaco!

For more information on The Podium Lounge, See here www.podiumlounge.com/sg


Written by
Poppy covers a wide range of topics at Billionaire, having spent the past 13 years at companies including Singapore Tatler, Her World Plus and Harpers Bazaar UK. She has a passion for fashion, jewellery and travel as well as an avaricious fascination with crime novels. Follow her at poppypskinner on Instagram. 

 

BLLNR (Billionaire) is a platform for Entrepreneurs, Business Leaders and Creatives in Singapore.

 

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