Delivering the wow factor

Careful attention to detail helps ICEM Regional to deliver a memorable and luxurious incentive for a new client.

Event brief
ICEM Regional was one of several outbound DMCs that received a request for proposal from Maxis, a local telecommunications company in Malaysia to organise a four-night incentive programme to Monte Carlo for their top dealers in the Enterprise Business Division.

While speaking with the Maxis committee, ICEM’s head of sales Lim Pei Pei, gave feedback that a four-night stay in Monte Carlo would be “a little dry” and suggested instead that a programme could be created by combining two nights in Nice and another two in Monte Carlo. The last two nights in Monte Carlo would be a much grander experience than the first two, with stays in more exclusive properties and more high-end activities.

ICEM was awarded the business in mid-April, leaving the company with less than three weeks to confirm flights and ground content within the allocated budget.

Adding to the stress, working with local suppliers in both countries was not easy due to the time difference, as Lim had to exercise patience while waiting for replies to queries.

Another challenge was that ICEM had never handled incentive programmes for Maxis in the past. Thus, Lim was clueless about the company’s expectations. Being prudent, she went three nights ahead of the actual programme to run through the itinerary and check on the arrangements at hotels and restaurants.

She recalled: “In Monte Carlo, I went to a two-Michelin-star restaurant and had the chef change the duck breast dish from medium to well-done because it looked too raw and will not agree with Asian taste buds.

“While checking on the hotel in Nice, I realised the lobby area was too small to place a hospitality desk. Thus, I changed this to a cocktail check-in on the rooftop.”

Lim worked closely with local agents throughout the planning of the itinerary and during the recce trip. She said: “They helped with the schedule and (took me to) places I should visit prior to the group’s arrival.”

ICEM was lucky because all seats with Turkish Airlines on delegates’ chosen dates were confirmed.

The “wow” elements in Monte Carlo were created by getting stretch limousines to ferry delegates around, allowing delegates to enjoy a private dinner yacht cruise, wine pairing at a family-owned vineyard and flying them from Monte Carlo to Nice Airport.

“Delegates kept asking us what was next, but we kept the details from them as we wanted it to be a surprise,” said Lim.

Key takeaways
It was important to set the right expectations for delegates ahead of time, so they would know what to expect in foreign lands with different cultures, said Lim.

“For example, fine dining can take as long as three hours, which is different from what we (Asians) are used to. The tour manager would also brief participants on highlights of a particular restaurant and what they can expect.”

We had a good working relationship with our partners and this contributed to a successful event.

Event: Maxis SME Business Partners’ trip
Organiser: ICEM Regional
Client: Maxis
Destination: Nice and Monte Carlo
Date: May 8-14, 2015
Number of participants: 27

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