June special feature: incentive of the day

In events industry, incentives are the most exciting lifetime experiences you can create for your attendees. Most importantly, they create stronger relationships between team members, educate, inspire or just let you enjoy and have fun, celebrating company’s success.

Over the last couple of years I had the opportunity to attend and be part of incentive activities, or when I was on a holiday at a destination, examine the destination as an event planner and thought such place would be ideal for team building and incentives.

This June, I was happy to share with you some of the most memorable activities and destinations I came across over the past years. They vary from active, to lazy and more creative ones. In some I feature the destination as there is lots to see and do there.

I hope you enjoyed this feature on Instagram and Facebook and could get some new ideas for your next incentive. Below I list all the 30 again – all tested by me. Enjoy!

1 – The Culinary Ramble in Heidelberg by event & eventchen

Starting the feature with Culinary Ramble in Heidelberg by event & eventchen. It’s a three hours experience, combining a city tour, local drinks and stories and a three course menu in different restaurants. Great alternative for the traditional team dinner!

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2 – Cake decorating workshop with GC Couture

The workshop can be as short as one hour or a half day course with an afternoon tea break. We learned some basic decorating techniques such as roses, flowers, butterflies and fondant which are all super easy and fun! GC Couture are mobile and can do it at the location of choice, which can be ideal for corporate incentives and teambuilding. You’ll be surprised but it’s also very popular among men!I did this workshop twice and wouldn’t mind to do it again, who doesn’t like cake?? Until next time..

Photo credit to the wonderful Lisa from Together Forever Photography

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3 – Corporate away days at the Moonraker Hotel

I’m a big fan of incentives on the country side, to get away from the hectic London lifestyle and come back relaxed with fresh ideas. Back in 2014 I had the chance to visit the Moonraker Hotel near Bath (Used to be The Old Manor Hotel – but still with the same owner, and still under this name on my blog). They have 21 bedrooms and event space for up to about 85 delegates, so ideally can be exclusively hired.

They make their own gin and honey, grow herbs, offer smoking and curing courses with the chef and other outdoor activities. It’s a small family run hotel and has a very unique, cosy and traditionally British atmosphere.

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4 – Wine tasting at Château Soucherie

Long summer days call for long lunches and dinners, even better when it’s at a vineyard! One of the incentives that comes to mind is a wine tasting event at Château Soucherie on my trip to Angers, France. In two groups we had different activities involving blind tasting, smelling and some general knowledge (or guessing), followed by lunch and live music. Food and wine always bring people together to share common interests and easy to get everyone involved, even the ones who don’t drink – because real wine tasting is about tasting – not drinking.

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5 – Vietnamese cooking class with School of Wok

It’s now clear that this feature is going to showcase a lot of food. Food brings people together and easy to get everyone involved. This incentive is a Vietnamese cooking class with School of Wok (but they have almost all Asian cuisine to choose from). Be it a half day or a full day class – as the one I did, it’s great fun cooking together, learning new chopping and cooking techniques and eating together!

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6 – Current and future trends in incentive travel – Takeaways from SITE event

Incentive travel gives high achievers an experience of a lifetime, one that money can’t buy. Read this article about current and future trends in incentive travel, takeaways from SITE event.

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7 – Floral workshop with Jens Jakobsen from Floral Construction

At the floral workshop with Jens Jakobsen from Floral Construction at Four Seasons Canary Wharf he took us step by step and showed how to make roses bouquet, highly paying attention for details. Summer, being also a wedding season, is just the perfect time for such workshop with the team or best friends.

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8 – Helicopter transfer from Monaco to Nice Cote d’Azur International Airport

Monaco is easily accessible by car, bus, train AND helicopter from Nice Cote d’Azur International Airport. I bet helicopter is not the usual transfer your attendees are used to and can serve as a perfect incentive to create the ‘WOW’ effect and the views are stunning!

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9 – Danish Christmas celebration in Copenhagen

In December, on the first day of our fam trip in Copenhagen, we were surprised by Christmas themed dinner with games, entertainment and other surprised at Tivoli Congress Centre. It was very authentic, personal, unique and memorable experience!

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10 – Motivational speaker

In one of the blog articles “corporate hospitality in the new corporate world” I mentioned the rise of the young and affluent generation Y who are looking for corporate experience with a more relaxed atmosphere – instead of round tables, for example, look for a back stage with a celebrity, entrepreneur or an athlete. At the ISES Accelerate event I enjoyed listening to Caprice Bourret – an inspiring female entrepreneur who shared with us the ups and downs of her career in a very informal Q & A and I believe such short sessions are of great value for every conference or corporate hospitality agenda.

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11 – Introduction to falconry at Four Seasons Hampshire

Loved the introduction to falconry session at Four Seasons Hampshire where I learned about the different birds and could even feed them. These birds are fascinating. The whole experience takes about 15-20 minutes – so that can be done during a break between meetings or as part of other outdoor activities.

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12 – Cocktail making class

Meeting is like a cocktail and all ingredients have to fit together to create a unique and memorable experience! All groups were given the following instructions for creating a cocktail: find a name, what will you serve it in, participant involvement (how to drink it), great content and local inspiration. All groups came up with very creative ideas!

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13 – Visiting the Danes at their homes  

When organising an incentive – you want to make sure you’re getting the highest ROI. How to get higher ROI on incentives, and other events? The Danes developed the Meetovation, a meeting design concept and its primary aim is to create a better ROI on meetings through four pillars: active involvement, creative set-up, local inspiration and responsible thinking. Was great experience throughout the whole trip, visiting the different venues and being engages and active. Particularly remember visiting the locals at their homes – such a unique experience!

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14 – Corporate away days and golf in St. Andrews

St. Andrews, about two hours’ drive from Edinburgh is best known worldwide as Golfer’s Paradise and is a perfect destination for incentives. A stay there can be also well combined with a few days stay in Edinburgh. One of the popular hotels in St. Andrews is the Old Course Hotel Golf Resort & Spa with its own golf course.

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15 – Incentive destination Angers Loire Valley, France

Angers is the capital of the Anjou region and the fief of Cointreau, the famous liquor. Angers has universities and research centres which foster research and innovation in the region. At the same time the region offers incredible history, culture, viticulture and gastronomy experience – all you need for a tailored and memorable incentive program.

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16 – Watching football in Liverpool

When in Liverpool don’t miss on booking tickets for a football match. This game was Everton vs. Chelsea, great atmosphere at the stadium and my first time watching a game in the UK.

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17 – Incentive destination Cornwall

This coastal destination seemed to be a great for incentives and for all looking for a city escape with outdoor activities (I was there on holidays). Hiking and themed trails, cycling, breath-taking views, traditional fish & chips on the sea side, water activities and more – there’s so much more to explore. Until next time..

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18 – Incentive destination NewcastleGateshead

Continuing with incentive destinations and today looking at NewcastleGateshead. Newcastle and Gateshead are two opposite cities in North East England and lie on the river Tyne. Due to the proximity to each other and for marketing purposes, the destination is known and marketed worldwide as NewcastleGateshead. This destination, including the neighbouring Durham and Beamish, offers a variety of venues and activities to make it an attractive MICE destination where you can combine business with incentive activities. What I particularly remember when we visited it in 2012 is how friendly everyone was and this trip exceeded all my expectations!

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19 – Teambuilding around music at the Cavern Club in Liverpool

The Cavern Club in Liverpool is where the Beatles played in their early career. In my first trip to Liverpool in 2011 we had the unique opportunity to do a teambuilding activity around music, on the same stage Beatles played. We were also lucky to meet Dave Jones, the owner of the club and hear some legendary stories from the early days.

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20 – Swiss MICE Destination Brienz – Interlaken

Switzerland has some of the most beautiful lakes and mountains and each canton can offer a unique incentive experience. One of my favourite Swiss destinations is Brienz – Interlaken in canton Bern. If you plan an incentive in the region, I highly recommend considering the Brienz Rothorn Railway panoramic trip which goes to the top of the mountain and you can enjoy this breath-taking view!

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21 – Themed night at Château de la Perrière, France

Princess for a night in Angers. For the last night of our trip the organisers surprised us with a themed dinner & party in a French castle – Château de la Perrière with costumes waiting in our room. To date I think it’s one of the best experiences I’ve ever had!

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22 – Highwire Adventure at Four Seasons Hampshire

Four Seasons Hampshire has an on-site Highwire Adventure including 24 element high ropes course, a 13 metre ‘Power Fan’ free-fall parachute experience and a 235 metre zip wire ‘The Descent’ that enables you to fly out across the parkland. It’s a good exercise for teambuilding and improving group dynamics, such as competing against other teams and when members supporting each other at different tasks. And the best part is that afterwards to can indulge in a spa experience which is open until 10pm.

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23 – Wine tasting events with Humble Grape

Humble Grape organise themed wine tasting events and recently run a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to open their own wine bar with focus on technology and user experience. The launch is scheduled for July and I’m sure it will be one of the most innovative and attractive venues for corporate bookings. #Eventprofs take note..

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24 – Société des Bains de Mer de Monaco (SBM) – a ‘one stop shop’ for MICE in Monaco

Société des Bains de Mer de Monaco (SBM) is a ‘one stop shop’ for MICE in Monaco and is a major player in the Monaco tourism, culture and entertainment industries. The group owns 4 hotels with a total of 834 rooms, 60 banqueting and conference rooms for up to 950 delegates, 33 restaurants and bars, 3 spas – including one of the largest in Europe, Beach Club – with Olympic pool and water sports, 23 tennis courts, 18-hole golf course overlooking the sea, 5 casinos and 2 night-clubs. Where to start?!?

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25 – Major sporting events 

Surprise your guests or employees with tickets for a major sporting event, such as the Olympics, Wimbledon or the upcoming Rugby World Cup, to mention a few. It’s so exciting watching the games, the great atmosphere and sharing historic moments together! Working at the Olympics was one of my career milestones.

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26 – Night hike in Christmas time

Christmas parties can be costly, hiring a venue, catering, entertainment, DJ… so I have an alternative for you. Two year ago in Germany I had the chance to experience a night hike, Fackelwanderung in German (on an individual basis though). The idea is the following: the guide meets the group at dark and provides the participants with a torch. Since it gets dark in the winter early anyway, around 6pm is a good time to start the hike. In order to see well in dark, the hike is in a forest or not populated area and as soon as you get to such area, you lit up the torch. The hike was not long, about 30-40 minutes and wasn´t difficult until we arrived to historic monument and the guide told us some anecdotes and stories and gave us Sambuca (to warm us up). Afterwards we headed to a local bar for get together and mulled wine. Great and original experience, and on a budget!

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27 – Meetovation handbook for icebreakers and energisers

Any team building activity needs to start with a good icebreaker! This handbook is my starting point for icebreakers, energisers, alternatives to one way communication and methods to improving knowledge sharing at events. Thank you Copenhagen Convention Bureau for this excellent training course never stop learning!

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28 – Swiss MICE Destination Engadin St. Moritz

Looking at MICE destination and today’s pick is Switzerland. Swiss MICE destinations can be classifies into three categories: Cities – such as Zürich, Geneva, mountain destinations/ resorts – such as Zermatt, Gstaad, St. Moritz and regions – such as Wallis or Lake Geneva. One of my favourite such destinations is St. Moritz, where I also studied tourism. In winter it’s a top ski destination with very exclusive events such as the White Turf (on picture) but there’s less going on in summer but then it’s great opportunity for outdoor team building activities and just enjoying the great weather and nature.

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29 – Incentive destination Malaysia

Was a very good experience visiting Malaysia back in 2012, combining a stay in Kuala Lumpur with seaside resort for few days and back to Kuala Lumpur for a conference. Good idea visiting in February when it’s freezing cold in Europe and enjoin the exceptional weather and food in this exotic destination. Lots of opportunities for active outdoor teambuilding activities or lazy relaxation on the beach.

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30 – The Lee Valley VeloPark for incentives, teambuilding, exhibitions and gala dinners

The Lee Valley VeloPark, previously known as the Velodrome, is probably the coolest venue in the Olympic Park. After the Olympic Games in 2012 it was rebranded and reopened to the public on 31st March 2014. It’s the first place in the world for track cycling, road racing and or mountain biking in one place and also an iconic venue to host team building or incentives, exhibitions and gala dinner events.

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That’s all for now. Hope you enjoyed this feature and got some ideas and inspiration for any future incentive activities and destinations. Incentives are the most fascinating part of event planning, focusing on building relationships and rewarding employees and customers. I’m glad that I could share with you some of the most memorable experiences and look forward to sharing with you more in the future – on the blog or here on social media!

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