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How To Plan An Incentive Trip Part 3: Running the Trip

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Welcome, Eventurers, to the final part of planning an incentive trip!

The first part of the trip is getting everyone together. If you are going straight to a UK venue that could be reasonably straight forward. If you’re travelling beyond these shores, that’ll involve meeting at an airport or the Eurostar terminal. So, although carried out pre-departure, it’s vital that the first thing you need to think about is getting everyone prepared…

1. The Gathering

Everyone should have received joining instructions. These are the basics of where and when to meet and who to look out for. But included within these instructions should be reminders about passports (you’d be surprised!), taking their EHIC card if going to Europe, travel insurance (if not part of the prize) and a driving licence, even if they won’t be driving. With ever increasing numbers of illegal immigrants entering Europe, it’s not uncommon for visitors to be randomly stopped by authorities to check for ID (and you don’t want to be taking your passport on a night out!)

Included in the joining instructions should be an indication of appropriate clothing. It’s all too easy to assume that because you’re going to a warm place that you don’t need warm clothing for the evening, or if you’re going on a boat. Equally, boat shoes are inappropriate for Oslo in winter…

2. The Host with the Most?

If you are hosting a group, how involved in the trip should you be? If they are work colleagues and you know them, then you’ll probably be very involved. If you don’t know them and you’re really there more as a guide then that is a harder call. Our view is that we’re not there to be Club 18-30 Reps, leading the charge and in everyone’s faces; nor are we to be the serious teacher on the school trip, lurking in the shadows and equally, we’re not going to become servants for three days! Working out the level to which you should integrate into the group can be tricky but is usually led by the group. Never forget though, that as the responsible adult, you need to keep your wits about you for troubleshooting and remain very aware of any potential issues either caused by the group or that could possibly effect the group.

3. What to do?

It sounds obvious but try and arrange activities that are relevant to, or even better, unique to the area, perhaps even once in a lifetime activities… snowmobiling in Iceland, surfing down sand dunes in the Dubai desert, sea swimming with dolphins. Activities that winners wouldn’t usually spend their own money on or get away with spending the family money on! Even so, sometimes you just can’t predict how activities will be received. On a trip to New York, we took a group out in helicopters along the Hudson, around Liberty, and over the south side of Manhattan. Not cheap. But for the group, the most enjoyable memory they had of the whole trip was ice skating in Central Park (which cost $19) – because it snowed!

4. Group dynamics

Sometimes groups know each other sometimes just a few do but many don’t. Even if they don’t all know each other, experience has taught us to try and keep the group together as much as possible outside of scheduled activities. So, leisure time before dinner is fine but rather than having no plan, pre-booking space in a few bars gives the group the opportunity to mix, drink, relax without having to look for suitable bars, finding the space for a group of their size etc. If some want to wander for a bit, they’ll always have somewhere to regroup.

5. The Extra Touches

People will always remember the bigger activities they take part in on a trip but never underestimate the power of those little extra touches. At the beginning of the trip they can help set the tone and remind people that they are regarded as special: the welcome drinks on arrival, the in-room gift, perhaps special signage.

You’ll probably have to move people around from A to B at some point but it doesn’t have to be a coach, it could be a boat, SuperJeep, tuk-tuk, helicopter… how about drinks en route?

You could provide access to places that the public simply cannot get to. For a client group we took to Las Vegas, we sought out and got access to Hugh Heffner’s private club! For another group we arranged (after months of negotiations) a tour of the Taittinger estate, chaperoned by a family member!

Here’s a final top tip – always check passport details for birthdays. We’ve had quite a few on our trips and there is always a little surprise planned for them…

Until next time Eventurers!

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How to Plan an Incentive Trip: Part 2 - Launch and Communication

Manchester Event Management Agency Incentive Trip

So you’re back from your recce, the expenses receipts have been submitted and the thousands of images you’ve taken are uploaded – what’s next?

Again, there are four broad stages to really driving your incentive and motivating a change in behaviour – after all – that’s what it’s all about:

1. What’s the plan?
You’ve seen the places, met the suppliers and tasted the atmosphere – so what are you going to recommend? You’re going to have a debrief with the client but you can’t recommend everything. Your first task is to gather your thoughts on what activities to include, places to visit, restaurants to dine at. Nothing is being set in stone, but begin to get a feel for what could be achieved. What mix of places and activities would work well for the group? And whilst you’re doing this – never forget your likely audience. Don’t go on what you’d like to do or what you think the client would like to do. Or if you are the client then put the group first. They won’t thank you for taking them on your own personal joyride, which they hate. Think of the demographic of your group.

Top Tip – include plenty of downtime. People always appreciate breathing space on incentive trips. Sure - they want fun stuff to do but energy reserves soon begin to drain!

2.  Make some noise
If you haven’t already done so (and timing will dictate this) hold a launch event to acknowledge the start of the incentive. Whether a single office or over multiple sites, get the message and objectives out there, not to mention the rewards, with branded material, desk-drops… perhaps you could set up a microsite. Teaser desk-drops can work wonders. If they are on message, the item will stay around on a desk forever! Try and keep the theme relevant to the reward but you can also mark the occasion by breaking the routine – perhaps bringing in a special lunch or themed snacks.

3.  Communication
Psychologists tell us that we all love rewards, even if that just means finding out some new information – learning something interesting. So, why splurge the whole plan in one go?

By all means share the big picture but save the detail for later on. For our clients, we often create a teaser email campaign so every few weeks everyone gets a little more insight into what they’re competing for. It gives participants a boost, reminds them about the incentive and how much they want to win it! We sometimes have spot prizes too so that interest is kept high week-to-week and especially for those that may not be in the front running.

4.  Winner takes all!
If at all possible, gather the troops in to announce the winners in person – another mini event. But if your players are all over the place then it will have to be done via the email comms. That said, you could still send them something that will arrive at their desk. Something that has the double effect of celebrating their win and showing colleagues that they could have won. Our winners’ presentations focus on the destination in some way: themed clothing, local produce, destination guide – and importantly – the full itinerary and a link to an incentive App.

The planning has happened, the incentive places have been won – in part three we’ll take you through what to do when it all comes together.

Until next time Eventurers!

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Assured Events Brings Christmas Cheer to Maggie's Cancer Support Charity

Assured Events supports Maggies Manchester

Assured Events have provided the Christmas Tree for Maggie's, the award winning cancer support centre, set in the grounds of the Christie Hospital.

The centre opened last year and offers practical, emotional and social support for anyone touched by cancer whether a patent or their friends and family and regardless of whether they are local or visiting the area.  It's a drop-in centre as opposed to a clinical centre, but that doesn't go near doing it any justice!

"We provided the tree last year and wanted to do the same this year", says Karl Perry, MD of Assured Events.

"It's such an inspirational place: the building, the people and the warmth of the atmosphere make for a very human experience.  You walk in and immediately feel that it is a very special place.  As a charity, funds are always limited and there's always competition for what they should be spent on. It would be easy to justify not having a tree at Christmas but we feel that the people that visit and volunteer here deserve it - you should never underestimate the pleasure that people can get from a well-dressed Christmas tree!"

Assured Events will be working with Maggie's in the New Year to further support this amazing place and set of people.

Anyone wishing to find out more about Maggie's should contact Jemma Halman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or look them up on Facebook @maggiesmanchester.

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