D’Exclusive Trip 2013

Having experienced several creative incentive events, DiGi.Com has set the bar high for ICEM Regional for its Melbourne programme. By Karen Yue

When Malaysia’s telecommunications giant, DiGi.Com, decided to take 39 of its top performing business partners to Melbourne in 2013, its orders to event specialist, ICEM Regional, were simple: the incentive event must have a “wow” factor.

Speaking to TTGmice, Poh Ching Huey, DiGi’s trade marketing – event and promotions, said: “We hold incentives every year, and each time the programme is unique and impressive. The same standard was expected from the Melbourne programme.”

Giving an example of how unique and impressive DiGi.Com’s incentives are, Poh said a trip in 2009 saw an entire street in Lijiang city of Yunnan, China being “wrapped up” in the company’s corporate colours and branding imagery. Winners were given “DiGi cash” to use at shops in the area and participating merchants were later reimbursed with real money.

The Lijiang event was put together by Lim Pei Pei, currently head of sales at ICEM Regional but who was with another event house then, so the challenge for Lim was to outdo herself in the Melbourne project.

Kuala Lumpur-based ICEM Regional was first alerted to the project at the end of July 2013, and event plans were finalised by September. Commenting on the timeline, Lim said: “We scrambled a little, but we were lucky to have had some good advice from Edward (Kwek, regional sales director-South Asia, Melbourne Convention Bureau) and found a reliable groundhandler in Tour East Australia. Plus, our client was very cooperative, flexible and realistic in their expectations.”

To keep participants excited throughout the programme, ICEM Regional built an air of mystery around the itinerary. Lim said: “The itinerary was kept from the delegates, so every part of the journey was a surprise. That made delegates look forward to the next item on the programme, but it was a challenge as everyone kept probing. Plus, we needed an advance team to be at the next venue or attraction two hours ahead to ensure all’s in place for the group.”

After arriving in Melbourne, the group enjoyed brunch and was sent off on a city tour on roaring Harley-Davidson motorcycles. A fun dinner was hosted at Taxi Kitchen on Federation Square later that day.

A site visit of Apple office was also conducted, as was a visit to a brewery and a full day of stomping grapes and tasting and blending wine at Rochford Winery in Yarra Valley.

Lim said: “When they exited the winery, eight helicopters were waiting to whisk them back to the city. It was spectacular.”

Another highlight of the incentive trip was a dine-around event at the South Wharf Promenade. The group started the evening with coffee, sweets and conversations at the industrial chic Charlie Lovett, moved on to tapas in a motorcycle workshop at the Italian-influenced Gasolina, and ended the evening with barbeque meats and drinks at Meat Market.

For airport transfers on the last day, 25-seat stretch Hummers were deployed.

“The helicopter transfer was a tad tricky to pull off because a weight restriction applies to each helicopter and we needed participants to declare their body weight ahead of the trip,” revealed Poh. “And because of the weight restriction, we had to assign ahead the seating arrangements to prevent participants from choosing who they wanted to take the flight with.”

According to Poh, her winners loved the winery activities most because “it was a great bonding experience for all”.

Poh added: “It has been months since the event but it is still the talk of the town. The word that is going around the local telco industry is that the incentive was very exclusive, very impressive. Everybody felt like true VIPs.”

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