Numerous challenges arose when it came to planning this Amway incentive trip, but quick thinking and forward planning averted all disasters.
Local DMC Discovery Overland Holidays (DOH) was given 1.5 years lead time to organise an incentive programme in Penang, Malaysia, for 265 of Amway of Australia & New Zealand’s top achievers.
The DMC was to create a seamless experience, from meet and greet at the airport up until the group’s departure. The programme had to include sightseeing tours, meals, entertainment and various workshops.
The event was to be held two weeks after Penang experienced flash floods in early November, no thanks to a 17-hour non-stop downpour. The event organiser was concerned about the safety of the delegates and considered cancelling the event.
Another challenge was helping the 60-odd delegates who arrived on the 17.10 flight from Singapore to clear immigration quickly so that they would have time to freshen up in their rooms at the Eastern & Oriental Hotel, Penang, and still be on time for the welcome reception at 19.30. There were other international flights arriving at the same time which created a queue at the Immigration counters.
Another challenge was to ensure that on day four, the branded Achievers Dine-around went smoothly. This fine-dining experience involved seating 265 delegates at eight different restaurants, in various locations around the city.
Delegates had to be shuttled to the various dining experiences from Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi, where pre-dinner drinks were served along with cultural entertainment. DOH also only had 20 minutes to get all 265 delegates moving.
The challenge was to coordinate the transfers to ensure everyone arrived at the different venues around the same time, as the first course was to be served at around 20.00, and the entire meal was to be completed in 2.5 hours later. DOH also had to ensure that the dietary requirements of all delegates were met.
Lex Lam, director of sales at Discovery Overland Holidays, recalled: “To reassure the organiser after the flash floods, our staff sent daily weather updates, as well as pictures of clear skies and street scenes to show that things were normal and it was safe to proceed with the event.”
While there was heavy rain during the welcome reception, it did not dampen the mood at 32 Mansion, which had photos of Penang landmarks and attractions projected onto the front of the building, supplied by the Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau.
“Upon arrival at the airport, we had staff waiting at the aerobridge to greet delegates as they entered the airport terminal. Noticing a long queue at the immigration counters when the third batch of participants arrived, our quick thinking staff requested for two special counters that was opened only for Amway delegates. This helped to create a special arrival experience,” Lam said.
“Prior to the group’s arrival, we received a list of dietary requirements from all delegates, as well as their choice of restaurant for the Dine-Around dinner experience. We trained the waiting staff in all of the eight restaurants on how to greet delegates, and how we wanted to have the food served,” he added.
As serving staff would have to take a delegate’s order for their choice of main course, different coloured stickers were placed on their chairs to help waiters serve main courses correctly. This also helped to adhere to the various dietary requirements.
Delegates left in batches for the various restaurants from Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi, with those travelling furthest leaving first. This was done so that everyone could arrive at their designated restaurant at around the same time.
Lam recalled that having a back-up plan was important. For instance, the sightseeing itinerary to Penang Hill had to be scrapped as the road leading to Penang Hill was closed due to road maintenance after the flash flood. Instead, delegates were taken to Tropical Fruit Farm, Tropical Spice Garden and Entopia by Penang Butterfly Farm.
Another takeaway was the need to work closely with the organiser to further enhance the delegate experience.
Event:Amway Achievers Penang 2017
Organiser: Amway of Australia & New Zealand
Date: November 21-25, 2017
Number of participants: 265