Global Incentives never fails to deliver a 5 Star service
Linda Gorsuch, EA to SVP Marketing & Sales, EMEA InterCall
'Perhaps an island this year - maybe in the Mediterranean?' was the brief for my clients incentive trip for approximately 60-70 delegates. Our client had also introduced a new commission structure within the company and were not sure if this would impact the number of qualifying delegates.
This was the fifth year we had produced this incentive so we knew the delegates and the format that worked well. We put to work and researched programmes to places like Sardinia, Cyprus, Malta ..... and provided some lovely programmes. During our research we discovered 'Yas Island' - not in the Mediterranean - but in the UAE.
Yas island is one of the small islands connected to Abu Dhabi and, what’s more, is the location of the newest International F1 Racing track and the stunning Yas Viceroy Hotel which spans the circuit. After further research we felt confident that we could bring this destination in close to the clients budget, so put it forward as ‘Wild Card’.
This is the first time we have had an immediate response “No brainer, this is where we want to go! ”
Although Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates it is not, as yet, as popular as Dubai where you can swim with dolphins, visit the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, and hit the ski slopes all in the same day. Abu Dhabi is more leisurely, the roads are quieter and there is more space, but it is growing in popularity with the F1 Race Circuit, Ferarri World, Yas Waterworld, the stunning Blue Mosque and lots of development including the world’s largest Guggenheim Museum due to open in 2017.
Because of this, it is still relatively new to the Incentive market and with some keen negotiations we were able to bring our clients 3 nights/4 days trip within budget. Of course Abu Dhabi still has all the benefits of the UAE, good access with flights, mostly direct from all major European cities with Etihad, and guaranteed weather. It is also fairly accessible if you have to fly in through Dubai.
Travel was booked for the end of May 2014 with Etihad (the UAE National Airline) and the Incentive programme launched to the sales team a year in advance. The excitement grew and we ended up with 90 delegates travelling from the UK, Frankfurt, Paris, Copenhagen and Amsterdam. – a 40% increase in the anticipated attendance.
We took an overnight flight into Abu Dhabi arriving into the Yas Viceroy at 8.00 am. Although check-in was not officially until 2.00 pm the hotel pulled out all the stops and managed to get all of our guests into their rooms by 11.00 am which meant that they could chill out in their rooms for the day or take a dip in one of the two stunning roof top pools. We had also organised Spa Treatments for the travel weary and a tour to the Grand Mosque in the afternoon for those who chose to.
Apart from the hotel, the big attraction in this programme was the activities we had planned for the delegates. You can’t overlook the newest Formula 1 Circuit in the world and not test it out!
The Welcome Recognition Dinner was on the terrace of the Atayeb Restaurant of the hotel. The track lights lit up the circuit and the marina – what a backdrop to receive formal recognition of your achievements!
Abu Dhabi F1 Race Circuit - Venue Tour, Pitstop Challenge and Passenger Experience
We transferred everyone by coach to the track’s Racing School, only 5 minutes away. After a Safety briefing and light refreshments the delegates were split into three groups to rotate around three activities.
– A Venue Tour where they were given a behind the scenes peek at all the usual ‘no go’ areas which included the Pit Lane where drivers stop to refuel, change tyres and undergo quick vehicle repairs, Team Villas, which are used by race teams during the F1 race weekend, Shams Tower (or Sun Tower) which has a stunning 360 degree view of the circuit and Yas Island ( and is a fully sustainable solar panelled powered tower.) Then on to the North Grandstands which is used for Briefing Sessions and finally the Drag Racing Centre.
– A Pit Stop Challenge. Four teams of 3 people had to change the tyres of an F1 Racing Car against the clock. The competition was immense – they were amazingly good with the winning time being 4.2 (but still double the time in a real F1 tyre change which we believe is 2.05 seconds for all 4 tyres held by Red Bull!)
– The Passenger Experience. A few yards from here, another group were being dressed in their flame retardant suits and helmets and were getting ready to climb into a Yas SST racing car to be driven around the Circuit at speed – at 220 km/ hr!
The adrenalin was palpable, nerves were definitely showing but everyone to a man and woman loved it. The shrieks of excitement and high fives that were being shared were testament to a great event.
Everyone was still buzzing when we visited the Monte Carlo Beach Club for dinner in the evening. Monte Carlo Beach club is situated on Saadiyaat Island, another of the islands in Abu Dhabi. A 30 minute drive took us to the chic nightclub where a magnificent BBQ was served on the deck. The DJ ensured the night went with a swing and everyone was still sharing their excitement of the track!
Day 3 was one of leisure and guests were able to visit Ferrari World, Waterworld, go shopping, play golf or jump on the free shuttle bus to the Yas beach and bathe in the warm Arabian Sea.
Gala Dinner. The last night could not disappoint. We had to maintain the high.
During the day we had the Pit Garages of the Yas Circuit transformed from an empty shell (which is only used on Race Days) into a stunning Gala dinner venue. F1 display cars, chequered flags, mood lighting, old tyres and oil drums turned the space into a party venue. Cocktails were served in the pit lane where you could see the skid marks from the hot tyres as they had taken off at superfast speed and an amazing dinner was served in the air conditioned garages. To top it all (and unplanned by us) a race night was taking place on another track, which all added to the atmosphere.
This incentive was a little out of the box. This time we did not use a beach resort (although there was a beach very closeby). This time we stayed in and around the venue for most of the time and we did not explore Abu Dhabi (which we would normally build into the Programme). This time we built the Programme around the location and not the destination (the delegates were, however, given an option to extend their stay in Abu Dhabi to explore further at their leisure… and they did)
But it worked and with comments like
“Just wanted to say a huge thank you from Kate and myself for making Abu Dhabi the best Gold Trip EVER! It was an amazing experience and I know how much time and effort you both put into making everything go so smoothly.….good luck topping it next year though.”
“Thank you for an absolutely outstanding trip to Abu Dhabi, it was an amazing experience and the day on the race track I’m sure will remain one of the best things I’ve ever done!
These trips are a massive motivator and I’m not sure how you’ll top Abu Dhabi but I fully intend on making sure I’m there to find out!”
…we have a very happy client.
So how do we top that next year? We love a challenge!