Each year, the top-performing sales people in Mercedes-Benz UK's truck division are rewarded with an incentive trip for themselves and a guest, as part of the car manufacturer's Diamond Club programme. It takes between nine and 12 months to plan the trips and this year agency DBMT came up with four concepts in four destinations.
Mercedes-Benz UK wanted to reward its top sales people as well as deliver a programme that would beat those of previous years.
"From the moment the destination is decided, it needs to have enough 'wow' factor to motivate our sales teams to drive business forward, while at the same time leaving some mystery around what the experience will consist of," says Vincente Connolly, national dealer sales manager, truck, at Mercedes-Benz UK.
Many of the activities in Hong Kong aimed to immerse participants in the local culture, so there were some language barriers to overcome. Weather conditions worsened on the way to Macau, with heavy downpours, which meant that plans for a poolside barbecue at the Four Seasons had to be scrapped.
Solution: DBMT worked with Pacific World on the event. Local guides helped to minimise any language difficulties and the planned poolside party was held inside a restaurant at the Four Seasons, which looked out on to the pool. Guests enjoyed welcome drinks and canapes on the first day, before taking a trip around Victoria Harbour on a junk boat. Dinner was at Jumbo Kingdom, a floating restaurant in Aberdeen Harbour specialising in Chinese cuisine.
The next morning, delegates took part in various cultural activities, including a tai chi lesson, a tea demonstration and a visit to the Man Mo Temple, one of the oldest in Hong Kong. A trip to Victoria Peak took place in the afternoon, with dinner at OVO Logue in the Wan Chai district.
On the following days, the group dined out at the China Club, one of Hong Kong's most exclusive venues, and visited Lantau Island, including sights such as the Great Buddha and the Po Lin Monastery. They then spent two days in Macau, staying at the Four Seasons hotel, with some of the group visiting casinos and enjoying a Cirque du Soleil show.
According to Connolly, the twin-centre approach of using Hong Kong and Macau worked really well and "ticked all the right boxes".
"The programme in Hong Kong had the perfect balance between old and new and included so many highlights, that it felt like we were there for a week, not just three days," he says. "We were posting live video blogs each day onto our event website so people back home could see what we were up to. When we watched these after we returned home, I am amazed at how much we had crammed in."
Participants agreed that this was an exceptionally successful Diamond Club event - the only problem, says Connolly, is deciding how to better the incentive next year.
Company: Mercedes-Benz UK, truck division
Event: Diamond Club incentive programme
Group size: 32
Date: 9-15 May 2011
Venues: Shangri-La, Kowloon, Four Seasons, Macau
July/August 2010: Research into potential destinations
September 2010: Shortlist of accommodation options
January 2011: Site inspection carried out
February/March 2011: Itinerary finalised
May 2011: Group flies to Hong Kong