Infinitus China mega incentive in FijiBy Lauren Arena
12 Jun 2017
An ‘aspirational paradise’ was the promise Infinitus China made to its top performers in 2016—a particularly tall order given the success of its Bangkok and Pattaya incentive tour the previous year. With its natural resources, direct flights from Hong Kong and unique ‘Bula’ culture, Fiji beat stiff competition from the Maldives and Mauritius to host the six-night programme for 1,200 VIP delegates in November 2016.
Local DMC Rosie Holidays worked with Infinitus and its event organiser GZL to develop a programme that allowed delegates to take in the natural beauty of the South Pacific and truly immerse themselves in its ancient cultural traditions.
“The experiences and interactions with the environment and village communities that we share with our visitors are not manufactured, they’re real,” says Chris Green, director of sales, conference and incentives at Rosie Holidays.
“They create an emotional state of happiness that make for rewarding memories, and in many ways are life-changing as well, especially if you come from a country of a billion people with very busy lives.”
For Infinitus, authentic cultural experiences included a Fijian fish drive, cooking with a traditional lovo (earth oven), mat-weaving and pottery-making with locals of the Malomalo village.
“We wanted delegates to have an authentic experience to immerse themselves in our culture, so we took over a traditional Fijian village that has no previous association with tourism,” Green says. “Locals welcomed delegates into their homes and showed them how they live today—the same way they have lived for centuries.”
Delegates were also granted exclusive access to South Sea Island (one of the treasures of the famed Mamanuca Islands), where they enjoyed a day of beach activities such as snorkelling, kayaking and paddle-boarding, or tours in a semi-submersible submarine.
Shopping was also high on the agenda, with tailored tours for delegates to collect Fijian souvenirs and stock-up on local brands, such as Fiji Water and Pure Fiji tropical skin care. Day trips included a mix of local and Chinese cuisine.
The gala dinner at Denarau Island Convention Centre at the Sheraton Fiji was a high point, with a colourful Polynesian theme and local band that performed Chinese classics like TianMiMi and Bu LiaoQing.
“This was a huge surprise and had everyone up out of their seats singing along,” Green says. “To have a Fijian Band perform these classics ‘better than the originals’ was an absolute highlight for the group.”
Following the tour, feedback from delegates highlighted the success of the Fiji programme as customer satisfaction rates were among the highest in recent years.
Infinitus delegates travelled in two waves on six chartered and scheduled flights, and were accommodated in six major hotels on Denarau Island. As Fiji’s largest-ever incentive group, logistics were tricky at times, as was ensuring a consistent programme across both waves.
“Infinitus wanted to offer tours and experiences that were unique, to budget, and available to all delegates over the course of a week, so consistency was critical,” says Green. “Ordinarily this is not a problem but when you have a delegation of 1,200plus, this does present challenges—particularly as the tours were all bespoke, completely tailored to their timing and expectations.
“This required a great deal of logistical planning to ensure it all worked seamlessly. All tours, transfers and activities were thoroughly scrutinised for quality, safety, suitability and practicality—and to ensure everything was of a high and international standard.”
For the group’s exclusive village experience, Green and his team would visit the village twice weekly in the lead-up to the event to meet with village elders, discuss preparations and confirm schedules for rotational visits of 200 delegates.
A clever communication strategy was also employed to overcome the tyranny of distance during the lengthy planning phase. Regular video calls via WeChat were conducted with the client to track progress and openly discuss planning, and any challenges. The entire planning and operations team on the ground from both GZL and Rosie Holidays were also in constant communication with a dedicated WeChat group.
And during the programme, regular debriefs were held to discuss any issues that had occurred and remedies immediately implemented. Rosie Holidays also offered Infinitus a QR code and mobile app with destination information in both English and Chinese, the ability to browse and select tour options, and access exclusive shopping discounts.