UPDATE: on 22/09/2017 we were delighted to collect the C&IT Award for ‘Incentive Programme of the Year’ 2017.
This time last year we promised you we were working on itineraries worthy of a spot on the 2017 nominees list for the C&IT Awards. We’re delighted to announce that all that hard work paid off, in the shape of two nominations for ‘Incentive Programme of the Year’.
Over the past year, our hard-working team have dedicated hundreds, if not thousands of hours to researching the latest and greatest hotel and venue openings, delivering unparalleled events in ever more intrepid incentive destinations, and striving to curate the most creative comms campaigns in the business.
As ever, we’re up against some industry heavyweights but we’re hoping to go one better than last year. Fingers crossed we leave the Grand Ballroom of the Park Lane Hilton with the trophy cradled in one hand and our dancing shoes dangling from the other.
Until then, here are the details of our shortlisted programmes to give you a taste of two of our best incentives yet:
Mazda is renowned for its impeccable customer service and a desire to foster a connection; whether between man and machine or its staff and the brand. So when we were briefed with taking its 97 top-performing dealers on a trip to the company’s spiritual home, we made a decision to place the Japanese concept of omotenashi, or hospitality, at the fore.
The drive behind the trip was to connect Mazda C&SEE dealers with Japan and its unique culture, in a way that would provide them with a greater understanding of the company’s storied past and how it continues to influence the brand to this day. We offered a five-star luxury itinerary, packed with once-in-a-lifetime experiences that showcased the best of Japan.
Our guests boarded one of Japan’s famous shinkansen, or bullet trains, and were whisked off in a privatised carriage to Hiroshima for an educational tour of Mazda’s state-of-the-art factory and a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse at its secretive processes. The dealers continued their deluxe journey of discovery getting to know all that is curious and quirky in Japan; from graceful geishas, Shinto shrines and ancient temples in Kyoto, to expertly prepared sushi and spectacular views of Tokyo’s skyline.
Dedication to the highest levels of customer service and a detail-orientated approach were vital in order to overcome a number of onsite challenges: these included the lack of a common language, keeping track of all 97 guests as they meandered through bustling train stations, as well as a number of on-the-fly itinerary changes. Miscommunication seemed inevitable but our team’s meticulous planning and superb communication skills led to a trip that exceeded expectations at every turn and set a new benchmark for what a visit to Mazda’s birthplace can be.
We have established a fantastic relationship with MINI UK over a number of years, most recently delivering their groundbreaking incentive trip to Zimbabwe in 2016. So when we were challenged to come up with a trip daring enough to compete, we were confident we had a surprise or two up our sleeve.
The brief was simple: to create an adventure-packed itinerary filled with wow-factor experiences and awe-inspiring adventure to incentivise every retailer to overachieve in pursuit of a golden ticket to the thrill-seekers’ Nirvana of Nepal, which we had selected as MINI’s perfect match.
With the country still recovering from recent natural disasters and the jagged peaks of the Himalayas in mind, we created a bespoke itinerary full of experiences that had never been done before and showcased the very best of Nepal. We also looked to build in important opportunities to contribute to isolated communities still reeling from after-effects of the earthquakes.
Whilst there is no denying that running an event in Nepal presented a number of unique challenges, these were overcome and the trip managed to exceed guests’ wildest expectations. We showcased Nepal’s wild side with a surprise Royal Enfield motorbike road trip into the foothills of the Himalayas, a white-knuckle rafting expedition along the Sun Koshi River, a trek to a custom-built MINI Base Camp, and an all-singing, all-dancing gala evening that saw the whole of the Unesco-listed Bhaktapur Durbar Square cordoned off just for the group.
To the results… winners sailed past ambitious targets and contributed to a record year for MINI UK. Extraordinary levels of retailer engagement were noted during the qualification period for a trip that was packed with “experiences that will never be forgotten” and that left guests feeling “blown away” by its sheer scale.
The winners are going to be announced on Friday 22nd September so for the next couple of weeks, we’re going to be rubbing the belly of our resident lucky Buddha statue. Meanwhile, our dedicated and creative team of experts are busy working on staying ahead of the curve so that we can continue to create unique travel experiences that reward and inspire – where will we take you?