THE BRIEF: The 'Work Hard Play Hard - Arabian Adventure' trip was the culmination of a 12-month sales incentive. GSK wanted an aspirational destination, offering the best in comfort and service, as well as unique experiences to ensure a memorable trip. Maritz were also charged with creating all the communications around the event.
CHALLENGES: Maritz recommended Oman. Maritz Group project manager Amber Keats says: "The main challenge was fitting enough activities into the three-night trip to ensure everyone experienced as much as possible while ensuring they had time to relax and be pampered."
SOLUTION: The hotel's location offered easy access into the desert for an activity day and a night's camping. "We also put ample unstructured time into the beginning and end of the trip," says Keats.
EXECUTION: On arrival at the hotel, guests enjoyed a welcome drink and buffet lunch on the terrace then spent the afternoon at leisure using the hotel's facilities. In the evening, a party and barbecue were set up on the private beach. The next day, guests set off in 4x4s to the desert, stopping at an oasis for a picnic lunch and to swim in its pools. The group was welcomed by an Omani dancer at the Wahiba Sands campsite before spending the afternoon dune bashing, camel riding and sand boarding before a short 4x4 trip took them to a vantage point to enjoy a sundowner drink. In the evening, the group put on traditional costumes and enjoyed local speciality dishes. Women were on hand to paint henna patterns on hands and shisha pipes were set up in a Bedouin tent. The next day was spent at leisure with the option of a city tour. A gala dinner was held that evening at the Bait al Bahr seafood restaurant at the hotel where guests were presented with commemorative photographs of themselves taken during their day and night in the desert.
VERDICT: GSK commercial planning controller Rachel Longhurst was delighted with the event: "Oman met our ideal of a trip of a lifetime that winners will remember for years to come. The hotel service was outstanding and truly made our winners feel special," she says.
Company: GSK Nutritional Healthcare
Group size: 52
Date: March 2008
Venue: Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa, Muscat, Oman