In Spring 2016, the Munich-based event agency trendhouse organised an incentive in Edinburgh, Scotland, for best performers of a direct selling company. Trendhouse is a reputable events and communication agency that specialises in complete event management and strategy. The agency takes a personal and hospitable approach to its clients and is known for going the extra mile with attention to details to each client project.
Their clients are both based in Germany and internationally, particularly due to their proximity to Switzerland and Austria. This incentive was organised for a group of best performers of a direct selling company in Austria.
Edinburgh matches the client brief
Trendhouse was hired for the second year by the client to organise a reward incentive for best sellers. In the previous year they went to Athens, Greece, and after being at a southern destination, the client requested a northern destination, and pre-selected Iceland, Scotland and Lapland.
Eventually, Scotland was selected purely on cost basis because it offered the best price/value ratio, giving the agency the opportunity to book multiple incentive activities within the given budget. Other destinations would have met the budget as well but only to cover the travel and accommodation, with no additional budget left for activities. Therefore, Edinburgh was the perfect match.
The incentive was for 80 people, 95 percent female, and the client requested accommodation in the 4–5-star hotel segment.
Quick overview — key facts and figures
- Industry: Direct sales
- Agency: Trendhouse event marketing GmbH, Munich, Germany
- Project manager: Philipp Simons
- Event objectives: Reward, recognise and say ‘thank you’ to best sellers
- Event type: Incentive
- Activities: Afternoon tea, fascinator workshop, ‘Royal Dinner’, cooking class and a guided tour
- Date: April 2017 (Friday–Monday)
- Number of delegates: 80 people from upper Austria
Suppliers and venues
- Hotel: Principal Hotel, George Street
- Afternoon tea: The Colonnades at the Signet Library
- Dinner on first night: Ghillie Dhu
- Farewell dinner location: Caledonian Hall in the Botanic Garden
- Cooking challenge: Winton Castle
Travel and transfer
Delegates travelled to Edinburg from Salzburg and Vienna airports. Both groups had to go via Frankfurt, where they were both reunited to continue their journey to Edinburgh together.
‘Exquisitely British’ — Incentive itinerary
Upon arrival in Edinburgh and checking into the Principal Hotel, participants went to the Colonnades at the Signet Library, known as ‘Edinburgh’s finest afternoon tea.’ It was chosen because of the short walking distance from the Principal Hotel where the guests stayed and for offering a traditionally British experience. The aim was to provide guests with a first taste of the local culture. Secondly, by choosing the venue just a walking distance from the hotel allowed them to save time.
Afterwards, guest had a short break before heading again by foot to their dinner location, Ghillie Dhu, a traditional Scottish Bar and Restaurant. The aim this time was again to offer guests a local and cultural experience. The venue is located within walking distance from the hotel, and this time in a different part of the city from the Colonnades, giving guests the opportunity to see more of the city.
On the second day, a fascinator workshop took place at the hotel run by a lady who created hats for the queen. Each attendee created their own fascinator to keep as a souvenir.
On the third day, the group went to the Winton Castle for a cooking challenge called ‘Kitchen impossible’. The aim was to cook a meal based on simply tasting a dish beforehand. The participants were given a box with all the ingredients, and additionally could pick up fresh ingredients from the vegetable garden at the Castle.
On the last night of the incentive, attendees wore their creation for a firewall dinner at the Caledonian Hall, which is located in the Botanic Garden. The theme was the ‘The Royal Dinner’ and it was an occasion to dress up and celebrate together with company’s CEO. But there was one more surprise waiting from them. Trendhouse had arranged a Queen Elizabeth II lookalike, who even arrived in a limousine, accompanied by security. The company CEO welcomed the ‘Queen’ and it was very funny and the highlight of the evening.
Initially, trendhouse had planned to book a different hotel for the group which was under renovation leading to the event and was supposed to reopen by the time of the incentive. Unfortunately, the renovation was not yet complete by that time, and with only a few weeks to go until the incentive, another hotel had to be booked. Despite being a last-minute change, the new choice of the Principal Hotel was a highly suitable and satisfactory one.
Verdict and recommendations
The guests were very happy and grateful for this experience and therefore the client was satisfied as well. Trendhouse knew the participants from the previous year, and that knowledge allowed for greater customisation. For this specific incentive, the choice of activities matched the group demographics (i.e., 95 percent female). For a mixed group or with mostly male participants, the choice of activities would have been different; for example highland games, clay shooting or other more adventurous and outdoor activities.
Photo credit, header: P. Tomkins, VisitScotland