Pre-event planning Jaguar UK runs an annual incentive to reward its top sales dealers and service centres as part of its Racing Line programme.
After appointing River to run the incentive, a dual-destination trip to Zambia and South Africa was chosen for the April event. Other destinations put forward by River included Mauritius, Sorrento and California - but Africa won Jaguar UK's vote.
Jaguar and Land Rover UK customer service director Bill Fennell explains: "Zambia met the brief of 'an experience of a lifetime'. It is not only somewhere we have not been before but a place that we felt could ignite the imagination of the service and parts managers and sales dealer principals to inspire and drive results."
Site inspections were carried out in August 2010, with the Royal Livingstone Hotel selected as the venue in Zambia, and the One & Only Cape Town chosen for the South Africa element of the event. South African DMC Winners was selected to assist on the ground. Incentive winners found out they would be attending in February.
Objectives The annual Sales Dealer and Service Centre of the Year incentive has to be a highly motivational event as it aims to reward the top echelons of Jaguar UK's workforce.
Although dealer principals normally attend via the Sales Dealer of the Year award, the service centre winners can be a mix of employees including technicians and managers, so the event must appeal to a range of attendees.
In addition to organising a memorable and exciting experience for delegates, there also needed to be time scheduled into the programme for relaxation, as the winners were attending the event with their partners.
Challenge According to River's head of travel and events Michelle Lawrie, the key challenge was in ensuring the incentive was on brand for Jaguar, as the automotive company aims for a more contemporary image.
"By combining the old colonial feel of Zambia with the modern feeling of Cape Town - and particularly the One & Only hotel - it worked really well," says Lawrie. "Zambia is a unique destination." In addition, the lack of direct flights into Livingstone could have proved a logistical challenge but the agency ensured ground staff at Johannesburg were able to assist delegates.
In terms of site inspections, as the 2010 Fifa World Cup was also taking place during June and July, it meant that River needed to ensure visits were carried out after all the matches had finished, to avoid disruption.
Solution The group spent three nights at the Royal Livingstone Hotel in Zambia, on the banks of the Zambezi river, before transferring to Cape Town for the second leg of the trip. Activities including river rafting, a walking tour of Victoria Falls and a rhino walk were planned, while delegates also had chance to interact with rescued elephants at the Thorntree River Lodge.
Lawrie explains: "We had arranged a walking tour of Victoria Falls on the first day and pre-warned the delegates they would get wet, but they loved it. On the second day they had optional activities so they could be active if they wanted, or simply relax and have spa treatments.
Jaguar UK hired the Royal Livingstone Express - a restored 1920s steam locomotive - exclusively for a surprise dinner for the winners on their second night, before they travelled into neighbouring Botswana the following day for a safari in the Chobe National Park.
"The hotel has a real 'wow' factor - you are blown away with the setting and there is lots to do in Zambia," adds Lawrie.
The group travelled into Cape Town on 13 April, where delegates checked into the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront-located One & Only Cape Town hotel - which overlooks the iconic Table Mountain - and had the evening at leisure.
The next day was a chance for the winners to take a cable car to the summit of Table Mountain, while they could relax in the afternoon before spending time exploring Cape Town's waterfront with their partners in the evening. An optional trip to see wildlife, including penguins, at Cape Point was planned for the following day, before delegates had chance to sample South African wines in the town of Franschhoek before heading back to the UK.
Client verdict According to Fennell, the trip "presented a premium event offering a range of experiences that many would not have encountered before".
He says that the visits to Victoria Falls, the elephant interaction and the Chobe Safari in Botswana were "an adventure right from the offset", with delegates able to get up close to wildlife at the Royal Livingstone Hotel.
Fennell adds: "Zambia matched what the Jaguar brand stands for so we would definitely consider using the destination again. We would probably use it for a different incentive and a different group of people however, so as not to duplicate incentives."
Post-event analysis An online survey was conducted with participants upon their return and comments included the fact that it was the "experience of a lifetime" and "totally unforgettable".
Meanwhile, 100 per cent of the respondents said they felt they had been motivated by the event. Other questions in the survey covered elements such as the hotel accommodation, which scored the maximum of five points in sections including service, quality and location, and activities such as dinner on the Royal Livingstone Express, which also scored the maximum points from delegates.
Company: Jaguar UK
Event: Sales Dealer and Service Centre of the Year incentive
Agency: River Marketing Travel and Events
Group size: 46
Date: 9-17 April 2011
Venues: Royal Livingstone Hotel, Zambia; One & Only Cape Town, South
June 2010: Proposal to Jaguar and destination selected
July 2010: Local DMC Winners selected to assist UK agency River
August 2010: Site inspection
February 2011: Delegates informed they will be attending incentive
9-17 April 2011: Event takes place