Konica Minolta has been running an annual Dealer Invitation Trip incentive programme for the past 34 years to recognise and reward top partners across its UK network of dealers and retailers that sell the brand’s products.
While the trip is directly linked to performance, top partners are invited by Konica Minolta at the end of the financial year, as opposed to having a set qualifying period to win a place.
Paul Taylor, event director at Mobile Promotions, who has been working with the client for more than ten years, says: "An assessment is made at end of the period as to who qualifies for the trip. It’s a thank you for their hard work and an opportunity to network, rather than ‘you must shift so many units to qualify’. A lot of the dealers have long-standing relationships with the brand."
The trip is always long haul and generally a five- to-six-night programme, taking place mid-May with around 13 top dealers plus partners and five members of the senior management team from Konica Minolta. Previous destinations have included Vietnam, South Africa and Singapore.
"Every year it’s hard to find a new destination. The challenge is trying to find somewhere the dealers haven’t been to before and offers something slightly out of the ordinary they wouldn’t have done privately," says Taylor, pointing out that accessibility and direct flights is a key factor in destination choice.
Mobile Promotions usually starts discussions with the client about the following year’s destination in early autumn, putting forward around three suggestions. BA announced last August that it was launching the first direct flights to Lima, Peru in May this year, giving the agency the opportunity to put it forward as a destination for the trip.
"Prior to that, we couldn’t have considered Peru because we’d have had to get a connecting flight and it wouldn’t have worked for a five-night programme," says Taylor. "The flights started on 6 May and we flew out on 15 May so I am pretty sure we were one of, if not the first, incentive group from the UK using that direct route."
During the build-up to the trip, Mobile Promotions used its new, internal delegate management system to share the itinerary and obtain all of the personal details for the delegates. The long distance travelled and high altitude of Cusco meant the agency needed to factor in rest time for the group as part of the itinerary. Taylor worked with DMC ESA to put together the itinerary. On arrival in Lima, the group spent the first night at the Belmond Miraflores Park, before taking an internal flight to Cusco the following day where they stayed at the Cusco Belmond Monasterio for four nights.
"We left the first afternoon free as one of the important things on arrival in Cusco is allowing time for people to acclimatise to the altitude. So we just organised lunch at the hotel and a dinner in the evening," says Taylor.
On the Tuesday, the group took a walking tour of Cusco, with the afternoon at leisure and dinner at the Pre-Columbian Art Museum. Wednesday was the big day, with the group travelling to Machu Picchu on the Belmond Hiram Bingham luxury train, with brunch served en route as delegates enjoyed views across the Sacred Valley.
After a short mini-bus transfer up to Machu Picchu, the group was divided in two and had three hours at the site with guides. This was followed by afternoon tea at the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, which is the only hotel at the Machu Picchu site, before transferring back down the valley to rejoin the train with dinner, drinks and music accompanying the journey back to Cusco.
On the final day in Cusco, the group visited Chinchero, a nearby village, to spend time with local villagers, followed by a free afternoon and final gala dinner at the Palacio Manco Capac set in the hills outside Cusco, where guests were greeted by characters in local costumes and enjoyed a drinks reception on the terrace.
On Friday, the group flew back to Lima, before connecting to the direct BA flight back to London.
Konica Minolta says the Dealer Invitation Trip to Peru exceeded all expectations, with positive feedback received from the group.
One dealer says: "I wanted to thank you once again for a most memorable trip to Peru. As always the organisation, food, wine and restaurants were perfect and your personal attention to detail made the trip unforgettable."
Another commented: "We had a fantastic time on the recent Dealer Invitation Trip to Peru. The organisation and planning could not be faulted and the visit to Machu Picchu was something we will never forget."
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