Overseas incentive trips provide the perfect opportunity to show off a destination to a client and guests coupled with a once in a lifetime experience. While it’s not a holiday for us Event Managers (although a poll of all my friends and family would probably reveal that 90% think it is!) we do get the opportunity to visit these far flung places and pass on that knowledge to others.
If you asked the majority of people to name anywhere on their bucket list of destinations to visit they might come up with the usual suspects; Vegas, Thailand or Hawaii to name a few and the common denominator with these destinations are their warm or tropical climate.
Most have never considered the Arctic ones – and that’s the beauty of these destinations. They provide a different dynamic, the chance to partake in new activities and the trip feels like an adventure.
My colleague David and I recently had the pleasure of taking a group of incentive winners to Finland for a three day trip. So I unpacked the thermals and my woolly hat and braced myself for the cold temperatures. Upon our arrival in Rovaniemi we stepped outside the airport to be met by a herd of reindeer pulling sleighs to transport us to our next destination. The peacefulness of riding in the snow through the almost silent woods was such a contrast to the busy London Heathrow we had left behind. Once in a lifetime experience - check! The following day we braved the -19°C (yes you did read that correctly!) temperature for a lesson in how to drive snow mobiles, the typical mode of transport for the locals. Despite my best efforts at trying to avoid the responsibility of driving one I nonetheless found myself in the driving seat with a very trusting passenger.
Nothing quite beats the pleasant surprise you experience when you are busy concentrating on not steering the machine off the track and crashing and you look up and realise you’re actually driving on a river that’s frozen solid. The exhilarating feeling of cruising over a large open space surrounded by a pure white snowy landscape is definitely not one to be forgotten in a hurry. Second once in a lifetime experience - check! The afternoon brought an opportunity to pass the driving responsibility onto David.
As complete novices at husky sled riding around a track, I immediately shot gunned at the chance of sitting tight in the sled, whilst a nervous looking David stood on the back with just two thin legs of wood and a small chunk of metal to use as a stopping break. With the dog handler’s words, “if the sled tips over, just make sure you get out the way of the track immediately, we don’t want you getting hit with the next one…” ringing in my ears and my reliance on David remembering to lean in the right direction around the corners we zoomed off.
Needless to say it was an incredible moment, we made it round the track and David even remembered to hit the brake when we got back to the start. Third once in a lifetime experience – check! It was at this point during the day I started getting a lot of comments from guests telling me how unique and unbelievable the trip had been for them and how they never would have even thought about visiting prior to that moment. It truly was heart-warming to hear first-hand what a fantastic time our guests were having and that’s what it is all about when you create an incentive programme.
Creating an unforgettable experience and making people feel like they wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in that moment and giving them a memory to look back on with fondness and relive to family, friends and other colleagues. I could go on about the rest of the trip, spending the evening in an ice palace for dinner and treating the guests to an outside snow disco or fulfilling my childhood dream of meeting Santa (some of our guests had very jealous children when they got home!) and getting to step across the Arctic Circle line. However, we would be here for days – it really was that magical.
So next time you aren’t sure where to send your guests, give us a call, because we have got more than just Finland up our sleeves!