Archives for May 2012

Short, Sweet and Memorable

Our recent program to the stunning island of Bermuda left a very favorable impression on the members of two different companies who had recently become one.  The cross functional group consisted of salespeople, engineering support personnel and management.  This was one of the first opportunities for high performers from the individual companies to come together and meet each other.  The goals of the program included recognizing high achievers from both companies, making new connections, building camaraderie and demonstrating a culture of high quality.

The opening day did not disappoint. The company’s welcome gift upon arrival was a pair of Maui Jim sunglasses which became a fun event as each guest was encouraged to try on different styles in order to choose their perfect pair.  That evening, the Fairmount Southampton outdid itself with an elaborate barbeque buffet on the beach.  Picture the soft pink sand; bright , aqua-marine water; brightly decorated tables; exquisite, melt-in-your-mouth food; premium open bar and music that made you want to kick off your shoes and move.  It was a surreal setting and the perfect kick-off for the 4-day get-a-way.

The next morning the guests participated in a sailing regatta.  The 10-25 people in each boat could choose whether to take part in the work of sailing or relax onboard.  The teams immediately got into competitive mode after receiving team hats and being instructed on the basics of sailing.  They quickly learned the meaning of sailing lingo such as “come about” which basically means “duck!”  This was an effective, experiential and fun team building exercise abetted by cool, refreshing beverages.

While sailing through Hamilton Harbor, each team participated in a destination quiz based on what they heard during the briefing, terminology aboard the boat, some historical notes about Bermuda and what they saw along the way.  Prizes were awarded to guests with the highest scores but everyone on board who enjoyed the beautiful day and the picture perfect scenery came away a winner.

After a leisurely afternoon, the company hosted an awards dinner recognizing all the higher achievers.  It was an opportunity for company executives to share their vision of the future and recognize excellence among their employees.

The following day the guests chose their own company-sponsored event.  Some played golf on the world-class Port Royal course, others took a “boat, bike and beach” tour around Hamilton Sound.  Another group enjoyed a grilling/cooking lesson hosted by Goslings Rum.  They tasted their way through a 3-course lunch sampling various rums and learning how to use the delicious liquid in marinades and sauces.

The final evening was free time for guests to sample the joys of Bermuda on their own.  Our concierge service helped them select a restaurant and their evening entertainment.

While the trip was short, the company achieved its goals of recognizing high achievers, bringing strangers together and using shared experiences to start new relationships.



A chance to learn from an expert, and from each other

Last week we hosted a number of industry executives at the Performance Enhancement Incentives Executive Educational Summit in Cabo San Lucas.  We have several goals for these summits which include 1) providing relevant information on employee incentives and travel reward programs; 2) introducing business leaders to a particular destination; and 3) demonstrating first-hand how a travel reward program can affect business results.  An added bonus is what happens when executives come together in a non-competitive environment – they share their own experiences and learn from each other.

Bruce Bolger and Colin Higgins

During the 3-day summit, attendees visited several venues and restaurants and experienced some of the attractions of this beautiful area.  Hotel executives conducted site tours to demonstrate their ability to manage groups of all sizes, arrange meetings, and provide exceptional food and service for their guests.  The food and service demonstrated at several restaurants proved that Cabo and the surrounding area can deliver an exceptional reward experience to visitors.

Bruce Bolger, managing director of The Enterprise Engagement Alliance, was the keynote speaker.  Bolger conducts research and creates measurement tools related to engagement, including the Enterprise Engagement Indicator and Meter for tracking an organization’s ability to improve performance through engagement.  At the summit, Bolger talked about the three-pronged approach to engagement – customer, employee and vendor.  When every aspect of the business is engaged, it maximizes a company’s performance and its value which in turn, impacts the stock value.  Bolger also discussed the effective use of incentives and recognition in achieving engagement success.

Summit attendees engaged with each other on topics that are important to business leaders.  They shared their challenges, successes and failures on the topic of employee engagement.  This exchange of high level intelligence is extremely valuable for these executives and they left the Summit filled with new knowledge and ideas to implement in their own companies.

Our Cabo Experience – Beyond Expectations

We’ve been to Cabo before and already knew that it had world class hotels and restaurants.  It’s why we chose it for the Executive Educational Summit that we hosted last week.  But this visit exceeded all of our already high expectations.

We stayed at the Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos Golf & Spa Resort on the southeastern coast of the Baja Peninsula.  Management had arranged for a hotel tour which set a very high standard for all hotel tours going forward.  We viewed standard rooms and suites and an amazing Imperial Presidential Suite, which was a free standing villa with a private pool – all beautiful.  The surprise came when we visited the ballroom where the banquet manager had set up six stations each demonstrating a different themed party including sample h’orderves, entrees, and beverages.  They also showed how they integrate an individual company’s brand and culture into the event through promotional items and logo identity.  The tour ended with a proud introduction to Mexican wine as the group gathered around the fire pit overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Over and over again, the hotel management demonstrated their commitment to service.  The General Manager not only provided an introduction at the Summit conference event but stayed throughout the meetings to share his own experiences in employee engagement.  And later when a member of our group ordered a cocktail that wasn’t “on the menu,” the staff took it upon themselves to search out the ingredients and the recipe and deliver the requested beverage to the guest.  It was clear that this wasn’t “special” treatment but something they do for anyone who visits their hotel.

Off-site, summit attendees were treated to some free time in Old San Jose along with sampling of restaurants available in that town.  They experienced amazing snorkeling at the famous Cabo San Lucas arch, enjoyed walking on the beach and seeing the seals who gather along the shore.  Of course, a highlight of any trip to Cabo is a fishing excursion in waters that among the best in the world.  And today was no exception as they enjoyed the trill of catching a blue marlin.

Fiesta Americana put an exclamation point on the Summit with an extraordinary event on the last evening.  Aptly titled, “Barefoot Elegance,” our guests were treated to a unique treat.  After checking our shoes at the door and crushing some grapes with our own feet (think Lucy Ricardo!) we settled into easy lounge chairs and succumbed to foot and leg massages by spa therapists.  The combination of the crushed grapes, special grape oil from France and aromatherapy collars relieved any stress that may have crept in during the day.  We enjoyed some wonderful Mexican wine pared with gourmet h’orderves served on individual spoons (very elegant!)  After a delicious 4-course dinner on the beach we finished the evening with after dinner cocktails, dessert and entertainment at the fire pit.

Cabo San Lucas provided the perfect setting for an exchange of ideas, the sharing of experiences and the creation of lasting memories for the Summit attendees.