Since 1980, the annual Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) Crystal Awards Recognition Program — sponsored by IMEX Group — has brought industry acclaim to incentive travel companies. These are the world-class organizations that excel in the design of unique, memorable group travel experiences, which deliver measurable benefits for their clients.
The 2016 awards were presented at the SITE Global Conference, which took place early November in Panama City, Panama. This year seven companies from around the globe were honored for creativity in program design, marketing, corporate social responsibility and, most importantly, business results. The events showcase the best — not just the best-known — destinations that have advanced client values and brands, and whose programs have given generously to local communities, while achieving important business goals such as increased sales, higher employee engagement, and greater loyalty.
This “All American” celebration for the insurance company client hoped to provide two waves of 450 participants, five days and four nights in Barcelona, Spain that they would never forget. The peak point of the program was an expansive and decadent “Gaudi Dreaming” Gala Dinner, which was the perfect opportunity for celebrating the client’s corporate identity.
Effectiveness and Results
The goals and purpose of the program were to:
- Ensure delivery of the corporate message throughout each day.
- Energize, motivate and encourage the agents to continue to sell the client’s product line next year – and announce next year’s destination to get them excited to continue selling and attend next year’s trip.
- Arrange a schedule of activities that allowed agents the opportunity to strengthen personal relationships with their regional managers, business colleagues as well as Senior Executives.
- Individually recognize the agents and congratulate them on their sales accomplishments.
- Introduce new products and services for the coming year.
The most measureable ROI were the attendee evaluation forms which demonstrated great satisfaction with the program as well as the organization. The program was “top rated” with an overall 9.6 out of 10 score on the after trip guest evaluation survey, “best of the best”, “didn’t think last year trip could be beat – but it was!”, “wow how will they top this next year?”, “best gala event ever.”
The mobile app, All American, was designed by SEI M&I and not only wowed the winners and provided them important pre-event information but also gave them a way to share their photos throughout the night. Post-event, the mobile app, together with the guest and professional photos, continued to motivate the client’s employees for the year’s sales cycle
The Creative Approach
With careful attention to décor, the Oval room was transformed into Gaudi’s home ballroom with a strong modernist ambiance. In order to achieve this, the perimeter of the room was draped in sheer white, introducing Tencadis mosaic elements on walls, stage and tables. Each table decor based on chocolate, gold and orange was crowned with a modernist forged iron candelabra specially designed for the event. On the base of the candelabra a lush floral arrangement in tones of orange, white and gold, while clear spiral candleholders on tables and Tencadis mosaic gobo projections along the walls alluded to the décor’s focal point – two large spiral lamps suspended from the ceiling breaking the large volume of the room. This shimmering scenic pieces, reminiscent of Gaudi’s architectural elements, was designed specifically for the event and provided a centerpiece for the room that did not block any sightlines. Plated service of a custom dinner menu set a formal tone for the evening.
The night was an ongoing celebration in which all events were bound by a common concept showcasing local character and culture. The modernist spirit, the history and Catalan culture, local and national folklore, all reflected and perfectly mixed in three celebration acts: Welcome Cocktail at the MNAC Dome & Terrace, Formal Gala at the magnificent Oval room, and final dancing party transforming the oval room into the most unique club. Special custom made artistic productions were created for the event. Cocktail background music was provided by a Jigsaw fiddler and a Water glass harpist. Modernist characters with Gaudi himself as master of ceremonies, human towers, modernist Lizard & Chimney ladies. The architects muses represented by the String Ladies Quintet and the Helium Dancer, the magic touch of the evening provided by the Magic Quick Change couple, the Cyber Flamenco, fusion of the world renowned artistic and cultural icon with state of the art laser technology. Finally, the disco party with DJ Geena and a whole universe of Light dancers leaded by the incomparable Mirror Ball Man. All creative components of the event, including characters, costumes, choreographies, shows are produced or managed in house and are intellectual property of Spaintacular.
Top results were reached in this program through a team built for success. The final night “Gaudi Dreaming” Gala Dinner was created by Spaintacular and accented by SEI M&I creative planning and logistics. Sintonizart, the artistic production company of Spaintacular, provided all entertainment, A/V production, headline entertainment and oversaw the success of the show. The event was the epitome of teamwork between six companies–the client, SEI M&I, the applicant, neuvofactor for decor, Sintonizart and the Spaintacular film division.
Program team members participated in joint site inspections and team calls and worked from one master governance deck. Teamwork was enhanced by SEI M&I Five Star Service program that was created several years ago under the directive of the client. The Five Star Service program encourages staff to catch each other in acts of going above and beyond in one of five categories – Sociable, Sincere, Sources, Simplify and Solve. Ballots are filled out throughout the program and the staff by encouraging them to look for the good that each team member contributes, while reviewed on the final day by the program director and client. The winners are announced at a final team meeting and prizes are awarded. The goal is to collect one of each type of star over the years for the ultimate reward. The program unifies also challenging everyone to reach further for the guests.