Event Active8 incentive
Group size 18
Agency Corporate Rewards
DMC Portugal Travel Team
Date 14-16 August 2009
Venue The Lake Resort, Vilamoura
Pre-event planning Microsoft arranges an annual incentive for its highest achieving resellers and has hired Corporate Rewards to manage these events for the past eight years.
In previous years, the computer giant has hosted one big trip every year to long-haul destinations, including a safari to South Africa. Last year, the company wanted its budget to go further by running three smaller incentives, including one to the Algarve.
"The incentive scheme for our channel partners is a vital part of our marketing, particularly for the developer tools portfolio," says Microsoft marketing director Philippa Snare.
Challenges The emphasis of this incentive was on relaxation. "Microsoft didn't want the group to lift a finger on the trip - or to pay for any food or drinks," explains Corporate Rewards business development director Dan Kelly.
August temperatures top 30 degrees celcius on the Algarve, so organisers wanted to ensure that delegates stayed cool and avoided sunstroke.
Solution "Health and safety is an important part of any trip, so DMC Portugal Travel Team made sure that we had plenty of bottles of water for everyone wherever we went," says Kelly.
Representatives from Portugal Travel Team also reminded delegates to carry sunscreen and hats every day.
The group stayed at the five-star Lake Resort in Vilamoura, a 40-minute transfer from Faro International Airport. Highlights of the trip included a two-hour catamaran ride to a secluded beach where the group enjoyed a barbeque and volleyball. "There was lots of space on the boat and we made sure there was shade," adds Kelly.
Plenty of relaxation time was incorporated into the itinerary to give delegates a chance to unwind by the hotel's man-made beach with its seawater pool, or use the tennis facilities. On the first evening, dinner was held at traditional farmhouse-style restaurant, Casa Velha.
"We ate in an open courtyard under the stars," says Kelly. "The service was five-star and the food was first-class."
After that, the group went on a bar crawl in Vilamoura harbour, described by Kelly as a "mini Monaco". Funky nightspot Le Club provided the dramatic setting for the final evening, boasting a cliff-top location overlooking the sea.
Post-event analysis Microsoft and Corporate Rewards received positive feedback from the resellers who took part in the incentive. Snare says: "The scheme really delivered against not only our own but, more importantly, our partners' and resellers' business objectives and revenue goals."