Heard in Davos 2012: Dispatches from the Conference

Where You Really Find Out What's Happening in Davos


The social side of Davos is often said to be more important than the sessions themselves. After all, this is where you can get chief executives with their guard let down, telling you what they really think away from the cameras.

World Economic Forum participants are seen during a cocktail party in the Congress Centre, the main venue for the Forum, in Davos, Switzerland, January 21, 2004.
Photo: Bloomberg via Getty Images

Global companies jostle for space in the Steigenberger Belvedere hotel, where you arrive through a giant KPMG hall and exit through Deloitte.

CNBC’s Belvedere lounge has been set up with a lovely view of the snow-covered town.

Branding is everywhere at the Belvedere. In the suitably hip Google+ pop-up bar, staff very politely force you to try their smoothies.

And of course, the five-star hotel is the center of the parties -- or the parties that journalists get invited to, anyway.

Further up the food chain, there are more exclusive, intimate events such as CEO dinners, taking place outside the main venues.

The chatter about which events you’re going to turns middle-aged men in suits into teenage girls striving for popularity.

Google’s party, on Friday night, is often cited as the “coolest,” aimed at a younger crowd – and one of the more difficult to get into.

Some of the others are more directly targeted at the less cool attendees. One delegate, asked to sum up his company’s bash, called it “sweaty – like a college disco.”