Thursday, 10 February 2011

Financial Prudence, Motivational Inspiration

Steering your motivational
assets to achieve their goal
You just have to ask businesses like Peugeot, whose top dealers are off to Singapore; KPMG, who are planning event opportunities in Hong Kong; and parcel delivery company Yodel, who are implementing a travel based employee reward scheme – why travel works as an incentive.

Cash as an incentive is retrospective, already spent, just scratching the surface of a MasterCard bill.

Travel (if correctly planned, promoted and applied) looks forward. It’s something to aim for, work harder for. The achievement is a real buzz. The event itself enables social team and corporate bonding, mentoring, fun, enjoyment. True reward for truly incremental effort. It’s something to remember, to share with colleagues on return and to work to achieve again next time.

But - you can’t just pull a destination, venue and itinerary off the shelf and expect what worked for one organisation to be equally motivational for another.

Take time to understand the audience and intentions. Who are the staff, distributors, franchisees and what makes them tick. What do their employers want to achieve and what ‘value’ do they put on the package? Is it just a top achiever reward or a competition based driver to push additional net business across the board.

Ironically it’s the lower budget incentive schemes that need more effort, innovation and creativity than the big budget Singapore and Hong Kong top achiever events. If you can’t deliver the wow factor from HK’s plethora of super luxury hotels, Michelin starred restaurants and glamorous night life then there’s something very wrong. 

Low budget inspiration for a well-travelled client was delivered last year with two nights in Annecy for 30 top achievers and their partners - yes Annecy.

When you've done all the capital cities and travel hot spots, it's time to step off the usual well-trod paths of venue sourcing.

Annecy is the picture postcard Savoyarde town on the northern banks of Lake Annecy. This hidden gem is circled by the snow capped mountains of the Rhône-Alpes and is reached after an hour’s picturesque coach ride from Geneva.

The Thiou River drops via the dramatic gorge, flowing through the town into the lake whose waters are the cleanest in Europe and reach a comfortable 24°C in the summer months.

Canals add to the waterways dissecting the geranium-clad restaurants, cafes, bars and boutiques to add a Venetian flavour to the cultural heritage of this French theatre.

The lake is a playground, busy with boats both sail and power. The water buses, boat taxis and rental power boats take visitors to picturesque villages and hideaway restaurants that are dotted around its 30KM circumference.

Hobbie Cats zip over the surface dodging water-skiers’ arcs of crisp clear water, yet the noise is somehow lost, absorbed in the hillsides and dramatic mountain peaks that encircle the fun packed scene.

There is so much to do, see, taste and savour that the itinerary is a challenge of exclusion rather than inclusion. Much will depend on the chosen hotel.

The obvious lakeside palatial venue is the Imperial Palace (left), a short distance from Annecy’s bustling centre. It understands and provides for conference and corporate visitors, has its own casino, three restaurants, spa and lake access.

Less obvious is a thirty minute boat ride to the tiny village of Talloires (below right) where l’Abbaye de Talloires 17th Century features reflect elegantly in the calm waters of the lake. Guests are here to enjoy its serenity and calm, to sip cocktails on the services pontoon after a delightful swim in the lake.

Locally, restaurants offer less gastronomic but equally tempting Savoy cuisine.

One of the group lunches must include it to taste the fabulous fresh fish, such as whitebait and trout; cheese, including Tome des Bauges and Reblochon, and the classic Savoy dishes: tartiflette, raclette and fondue.

Success is dependent upon: how closely the event is tailored to the profile of the audience; how well it is packaged and promoted to them to drive sales and effort; and how it delivers value for money in terms of budget, its management and the 'wow factor' that even a provincial French town  by a lake can deliver - with a little creativity and innovation from its planners.

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