Hercules Trophy plants the flag

Hercules Trophy plants the flag and organises the first big post corona team building event as a vaccine for employees


Hercules Trophy plants the flag. In a recent survey, companies massively indicated that their employees are longing for connection, liberation and perspective.

This is what Hercules Trophy has been known for for 20 years. No better theme than Liberation Edition to deliver a positive message that transcends the daily tsunami of negativity. More than 250 teams have already registered and expected a corona proof edition for the summer vacation. The Flemish Government also confirms its support via Vlaio.

Liberation Edition

Just as the liberation of the Second World War was exuberantly celebrated decades ago, we are all eagerly awaiting the liberation of the coronavirus. After months of sitting inside, working from home, loneliness, fear, anger and lack of social gatherings, we long for a cozy connection with colleagues. Today Herculean Alliance announces that it will once again host the Hercules Trophy company competition this summer.

“Give employees perspective again during this depressing period. It is fundamental to their mental and social well-being,” said Yves Vekemans, founder of Hercules Trophy and Founding Partner of Herculean Alliance. “We resolutely choose a positive message that hopefully, many companies will rally behind. Too often the focus is only on negative messages and that is detrimental to our well-being.”

In 2020, the Hercules Trophy, organized by Herculean Alliance – the employee engagement specialist – should have taken place for the 21st time. Unfortunately, corona put a stop to it and the Mechelen Nekkerdomein last June could not be filled with hundreds of company teams from the most diverse sectors. During Hercules Trophy companies compete against each other in twelve unique challenges in a fun atmosphere of camaraderie, teamwork, competition and fun. Since 1999 Hercules Trophy has become an annual tradition for many Belgian companies.

However, Herculean Alliance believes it is time to finally bring a positive message to employees in times of fear and uncertainty. With the psychological effect of a vaccine. Call it a cocktail of games, music, connection, teamwork, and fun as the ultimate immunity booster. Even though many companies have been particularly creative in giving their employees a sense of belonging online by setting up numerous online initiatives and pampering them, it is crucial to bring them back together physically as well. It will be important to be able to reconnect these teams, preferably before the start of the summer vacation. This can only be done by creating a real ‘moment that matters’, like a kind of liberation party post corona. In terms of symbolism, this can already count.

“Give employees back their perspective during this gloomy period.

It is fundamental to their mental and social well-being.”

Yves Vekemans, Founding Partner Herculean Alliance

Events in 2021

That the pandemic has serious consequences for the event sector is a certainty. Johan Vandepoel, CEO of ACC Belgium, the association of communication and event agencies: “What the past few months have shown is the impact of the disappearance of life experiences on everyone’s morale and on the group dynamics in any organisation or company. More than ever before, it will pay to invest in a strong team-building activity and thereby ensure a successful go-around post corona.”

The latest figures are not good. Last week, the KdG expert center Public Impact launched the figures in an annual review. It surveyed the event sector at four points last year and was able to conclude that the little beast had a huge financial but also moral impact. “Looking back at 2020, the corona crisis appears to have left deep budget holes. Belgian event organisers are predicting a revenue loss of as much as 75 percent in 2020 compared to 2019. This is much more than they expected to lose in March (52%),” explains researcher Joris Verhulst. “The expected loss of turnover from event suppliers (such as catering, decoration, audiovisual support …) has also risen sharply, from 55 percent in March to 73 percent in December.”

The survey also shows that people are cautious about setting up events in 2021: “Three out of four organisations think that the sector will not return to full capacity until 2022,” says Verhulst. “Most organisations expect more to be possible again from the second and third quarters of 2021, with measures in place. The existing COVID Event Risk Model (CERM) will play an important role here again. This tool maps the COVID security risk of each type of event. Six out of ten organizations were already using it. It is probably the best basis for a quick and safe relaunch of the sector. Along with rapid testing, seven out of ten organisations indicated.”

The financial impact on the Hercules Trophy organisation was also unprecedented. “First, every effort was made to postpone to September only to see that also had to been canceled. In addition, hundreds of volunteers and suppliers were impacted. Unlike in the financial crisis, this time we received a lot of support from our clients who see in the Hercules Trophy an ideal relance project. 250 teams have already signed up, without any certainty of a date. With the support of the shareholders and recently also the financial support of the Flemish Government through Vlaio we hope to be able to dream again for the next 20 years. But let’s be honest: we are walking a very thin line and the future will depend more than ever on the support of all customers, volunteers, suppliers and the government. By 2021 we should hopefully be able to break even,” says Yves Vekemans.

Corona proof event

That Hercules Trophy will take place in 2021 is certain. The need is high and the vaccine will provide redemption. But since nobody can predict the exact corona situation in June 2021, the organisation makes sure that everything can be done corona proof taking into account the prevailing measures, in cooperation with the City of Mechelen.

The Hercules Trophy will be held on different days during the last two weekends of June, namely June 18, 19, 25 and 26. The organisation takes place outdoors on the Provincial Domain De Nekker in Mechelen, which covers 65 hectares. This also includes a fallback scenario at the end of September. Participants will be able to complete the twelve challenges safely in teams with their own bubble and experience an unforgettable day together. Thanks to the unique planning algorithm that has been one of the hallmarks of the organisation for years, there will be no queues at the challenges.

Participating teams will also have a team lounge in the outdoor summer bar where they can eat together, experience the prize-giving ceremony and party safely afterwards. Hercules Trophy 2021 will therefore be entirely dedicated to the liberation of the coronavirus. In total, only 1,000 people will be admitted per day. That is 1/3 of the normal capacity. Currently, 250 teams are already registered for the 2021 edition.

“Hercules Trophy is the perfect combination of a business-to-business event, sporting event in a festival atmosphere, but without the thousands of people packed in. Those who know Hercules Trophy know that its unique DNA will provide a huge sense of liberation. And that is what we all missed last year. Therefore, we consider it our moral duty to plant the flag and organize the first major post corona event. It gives people back their sense of freedom, even if it is within the limits of security measures.” continues Yves Vekemans, “We silently hope that after the Liberation Edition, the Roaring 20’s will dawn.”

Visit the Hercules Trophy website for more information.