THE BRIEF - Grass Roots runs an annual incentive for BT Wholesale's top sales staff, and was looking to build on the previous year's programme in Cape Town.
"We scoured the globe to see what could match it in terms of profile," says Chetan Shah, senior operations manager at Grass Roots. A combination of Beijing and Hong Kong hit the mark, and the agency set about creating a five-night itinerary for 15 traders and their partners.
CHALLENGES - Planners were keen to include the Terracotta Warriors of Xian into what was effectively a Beijing-Hong Kong itinerary, so there was a danger that participants would spend too much time in transfer.
Also, while China was open to new creative ideas - laying on a children's choir in the Great Hall of the People, for example - Hong Kong had firmer boundaries about what could be done. "It was a real challenge to make the gala night there live up to the previous year," says Shah.
SOLUTION - "Rather than flying from Beijing to Xian, then back to Beijing and down to Hong Kong, we actually flew south to Hong Kong from Xian," says Shah. The group had four hours on the Terracotta Warriors site. "It was a busy day but it worked really well and cut out the extra flight."
EXECUTION - Delegates had three full days in the Chinese capital, staying at the Hyatt Beijing. Highlights included a bicycle tour to Tiananmen Square, a guided tour of the Forbidden City and a trip to the Great Wall, with welcome drummers and a private Tai Chi class. Day four saw the group head west to Xian to see the Terracotta Warriors, before reaching Hong Kong in time for dinner. Accommodation for the next two nights was at the Mandarin Oriental, while the daytime itinerary included a sightseeing tour, free time and a Cantonese cooking class. A gala dinner was held at the Pool House restaurant at the Grand Hyatt.
VERDICT - "The programme got a 100 per cent satisfaction rating from everyone," says Nick Jones, customer engagement and employee communications manager at BT Wholesale Markets. "The key thing was that people were able to experience in the region in a way they would never have been able to do themselves."
Client: BT Wholesale
Group size: 30
Agency: Grass Roots
DMC Destination: China
Date: 19-26 September 2007