What’s the point of incentive gifts? Sometimes that’s worth repeating: it is all about showing your team that you care. Sometimes this means taking the whole office on a weekend outing, but sometimes it is meant as a reward for top players, a way of acknowledging an outstanding performance and matching it with an equally outstanding gift. Incentive gifts, in particular, focus on offering your team or employees a token of your appreciation not in the form of material goods or even financial bonuses, but in the form of experiences. This was the spirit in which this specific incentive package was put together by Smart Eventi and Suebo AG for our client MobileZone. We aimed for top comfort and luxury, crafting an experience that was intended to be charming, relaxing, pleasurable and rewarding on multiple levels. Sometimes it’s just nice to let go of all other worries and enjoy the good things in life, and that’s precisely what we wanted to offer our client’s team.
Incentive gifts: how to plan a luxury experience
Our client contracted two agencies to take care of four people, which allowed our teams to concentrate on creating a superior travel experience. The incentive gift was intended for a group of four top managers from the client’s Swiss office and it was to take place in the Italian region of Piedmont, making the best possible use of local resources. When an incentive gift is given to a restricted group of people, it is understood that the value of the event has to be exceptional. It’s not just about pampering your guests by booking them in a nice hotel with a Spa, it is about making memories and accessing experiences that are out of the ordinary and that one would not, usually, think of seeking out on one’s own.
Our task was to organise the whole project, taking care of the bookings, scheduling and logistics and we were instructed to go for the best options, in every respect. We had our guests begin their journey in style, by flying them to Turin in a private jet and then driving them to Castello di Razzano, a XIX Century mansion turned luxury hotel in the subregion of Monferrato. This area of Piedmont is famous for its superior grapes and the castle itself has been producing its own wine for over a century, which called for a local wine tasting. Piedmont, and Monferrato in particular, are visited every year by wine lovers from all over the world and their local production is internationally appreciated. Barbera is probably the best known and most characteristic variety in the region: this strong grape is known for giving rounded, distinctive and sophisticated wines. The most popular wines made from this grape are Barbera d’Asti Superiore, Barbera d’Asti and Barbera del Monferrato and, of course, there’s no better place to taste them than their region of origin.
For our guests’ dinner, on the first day, we chose Corona Reale: the ideal place to enjoy authentic, old style Piedmontese cuisine. It is strongly connected with local history and tradition and it offers a vivid and intense local experience, serving unique recipes that are seldom found in modern restaurants. On the second day our group moved to Asti, for a day of shopping and exploring, culminating with dinner at the restaurant of our next hotel: Relais San Maurizio Luxury Spa Resort. We saved the best for last and, on the third day, we took our guests on a tour of the local subregion of Langhe on stunning vintage cars. This is an activity that we have tried in the past and always found to be enormously appreciated by our clients. There’s something unique and special about driving around the countryside in a vintage car: the vehicle itself adds to the experience in a way that more ordinary means of transportation could never quite match.
In conclusion: the golden rule of incentive gifts
There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to incentive gifts. Teams, like people, have personalities, sometimes complex and very distinctive ones. And there’s nothing worse than giving someone a gift that was intended for someone else. As usual, if we had to offer one piece of advice on incentive travel, it would be the following: take the time to know your team and find something that fits them, however unusual it might be. Some teams will be at their happiest when confronted with challenging adventures or extreme sporting experiences, whereas others will dive straight into art and culture at the first opportunity. In this particular instance we had one operative word: luxury. We sought out each hotel, restaurant and tour operator with one goal: offering our guests a top-of-the-range experience.