In the second in our DMC creativity case study series, inVOYAGER Arabian Adventures Meetings, Incentives & Events (MIE) shares the Dazzling in Dubai programme delivered for a US finance client last year, which won the 2019 SITE Crystal Award for Excellence in Incentive Travel in Africa/Middle East…
For this experience, the client selected Dubai as the location for its yearly reward incentive – the first time a Middle East destination had ever been chosen. This programme was designed for the top 1% of independent advisors who promoted and sold their products, along with their spouses. Over five days, a group of 270 people drawn from all across the United States received celebrity treatment in the UAE through a programme designed to reward hard work, while also gaining insights into Arabic culture.
From the start, the client expressed the desire to make their guests feel like rock stars, so Arabian Adventures MIE negotiated upgrades into Emirates airline’s business class from every point of origin. This luxurious flight experience included access to the pre-departure lounge, lay-flat beds and cocktail bar.
Along with daily activities – from competing in a camel polo tournament, to Arabic cooking classes alongside one of the country’s best chefs – guests were treated to three gala dinners, each designed to highlight a different aspect of Emirati culture. First a welcome to Arabia dinner that gave them a taste of the Middle East. This was due to be held on the Burj Al Arab Terrace, but we had a rare rainy day in Dubai and a few hours prior to the event an unexpected downpour meant that we had to have a very last-minute change to an indoor Ballroom at Four Seasons Dubai.
All logistics had to be discussed with the hotel, and then in order to minimise cancellation charges for the Burj Al Arab event, we renegotiated that some of the food for the evening event could be reserved the following day for an optional afternoon tea for the guests.
On the second evening, guests were transported to the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR) for a night of traditional music and dance in the dunes, while the entire programme ended with a gala dinner at the foot of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.
Hosted in the Armani Pavilion, a stunning terrace set amidst gardens and facing the Dubai Fountain, the evening of glitz and glamour featured Crystal Chandelier Dancers, Gold Wing Dancers, edgy contortionist pop up performances, roaming entertainment and hip music.
“Using close relationships and contacts across the region, we gained strategic and volume-buying discounts for the client, including venue hire, experiences and entertainment. The after-event feedback revealed the incentive was a huge success. Overall the trip was ranked 9.5 out of 10 – the highest score ever received by one of their incentives, with 89% of attendees describing themselves as extremely satisfied, and 65% going further and adding that the event had thoroughly exceeded their expectations.
“Best of all, our staff received a perfect 10 for their performance – the only time this has happened to date – with additional 10 out of 10s for availability and professionalism,” said Justine Thomas-Butler, Head of Meetings, Incentives & Events, Arabian Adventures MIE.
The client added: “It was such a pleasure working with all of the AA team from the beginning of the planning stages through to on-site execution. Although we encountered a few unforeseen rain challenges along the way, you always remained calm and unruffled while methodically working through the back-up plan. We know how much effort you put into this program and that you did everything possible to ensure its success. Your passion for your job and industry really showed while making sure each of our “guests” had a great experience.”