Hills Balfour in New York City

The PR consultancy took staff to NYC for its annual incentive

Pre-event planning: PR consultancy Hills Balfour runs an annual incentive trip for staff, with three destinations lined up some six months beforehand. "The bigger the target they reach, the better the destination," says Jonathan Sloan, managing director. For this incentive, the staff managed to hit the top target, and so New York was chosen. "We find that offering experiences as opposed to, say, financial incentives, works much better for us in terms of team-building and morale," says Sloan.

Challenges: The main problem for Hills Balfour is that taking staff away leaves the office without much of its manpower. "Also, taking 50 people to New York, while others have never been there, some of whom have been several times, makes planning the experience tricky."

Solution: Virgin Atlantic offered flight timings that meant staff could fly on Friday afternoon and return on the Monday afternoon. In New York, the group took more than 25 rooms at Hotel Beacon. Besides welcome drinks, an informal dinner on the Saturday and a Gordon Ramsay-catered formal dinner on the Sunday, various tours were offered so that first-timers could see the sights, while old hands could explore.

Post-event analysis: "New York was the perfect destination: the hotel's Upper West Side location worked well for us and all the tours and dinners went according to plan," says Sloan. Months after the trip, the staff are still talking about it.

FACTFILE
Client: Hills Balfour
Event: Incentive trip
Group size: 50
Agency: In-house
Date: 19-23 November 2010
Budget: Undisclosed

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