I have just spent 3 days at the superb C& IT Incentive Travel Forum and this year they really pulled out the stops. For those not in the know, the C&IT (Conference & Incentive Travel) magazine & website are the Bible for all Event Agencies. With current market news, venues, think tanks and much more, it really is invaluable. Each year they hold a 3 day event which I have been lucky to attend for the past 3 years and this year’s was the best so far.
Everything of course is for sale, as 71 Event Agencies attend and 32 suppliers from the UK and the World sell their destinations/hotels/entertainment etc. It is a packed itinerary with supplier meetings every half an hour and workshops to attend, your day starts at 08:30 and finishes at 23:00 once dinner is completed. The venue was the Millennium Gloucester Hotel which, apart from the lack of air conditioning, it was so warm the first night has everything you would require for a conference.
Some excellent entertainment was put on in the form of an electric string quartet called Ruby on the first night and a super sister’s trio, The Lazenby Sisters singing old songs on the actual mic used by Dean Martin performed on the second night. There are so many new acts out there now and we have all the details at our fingertips for you.
The London Aquarium was our dinner venue and this really is a great facility for a dinner with a wow. The food was excellent and opting for the vegetarian option, found this thankfully to be inventive rather than the usual risotto and mozzarella salad! Venues please be more creative on your veggie options!!
The main point of the event is to meet with suppliers and this year I really found some cracking deals to be had abroad. I couldn’t believe it when I saw that you could take a group for a 2 day event to Cyprus/Greece/Ireland/Barcelona etc for probably the same price or a tad more than London!! The countries are aware of our current predicament and are willing to play to this by undercutting the UK market. Granted you do need flights, but with the low cost air fares we have now, Incentive Travel is not out of your reach at all.
Just to whet your whistle a little, a very brief outline of just some of the great destinations you could attend below:
This was my favourite and will definitely be featuring on my holiday list!
The city is only 4 years old as a tourist destination and is absolutely stunning. With 22 parks and golf courses, The Falcon is a championship course, sand skiing and desert trips there is so much to do. The mountains backing on to the City of Al Ain 45 minutes away offer alternative activities for those more active of you and the nearby natural islands offer reefs, watersports and rugged terrain for the Desert Adventure experience. Yas Island will host the F1 Grand Prix very soon and the only Ferrari World structure to be built will take pride of place on the Island. Still not sold? The hotels are truly palatial and are well worth the visit.
The Hotel Barcelona Princess is the newest hotel of the Princess group. Located next to the beach and the new International Congress Centre is perfectly positioned. The old town, Las Ramblas is only a short journey away. A roof top infinity pool with stunning views over the city and various restaurants and conference rooms to suit all requirements make the hotel perfect for meetings. Barcelona city itself is just brimming with cultural activities to see and do and of course, being next to the beach and harbour, boat trips and water sports are readily available.
Everything is possible here. The hotel chain at the conference was Le Meridien Limassol Spa and Resort and this was a luxurious hotel situated on 100,000 sq m of landscaped gardens and has an award winning Spa. Obviously all the cities are open to you but just some of the activities are:
Learning how to cook in one of the traditional village squares
Mosaic building workshops
13 Trials of The Gods which includes swimming/cycling/running and is for the very active!
Boat and raft building
The choice of stunning dinner venues is overwhelming with amphitheatres, mountain villages, historical buildings etc being prevalent throughout the country. Something to suit everyone.
The slogan ‘Ireland Inspires’ is very true as I was lucky to find out about 10 boutique hotels spanning out from Dublin with the furthest taking only 1.5 hours to get to from the airport. London to Dublin in 4 hours, not bad at all. These hotels are all 4* and offer a range of facilities and looks. With daily delegate rates from only 35 euro pp!! How can you refuse! Aside from the hotels, there is so much to see and do with horse racing, golf, Irish cooking, learning the traditional Irish drums and my favourite “Bog Snorkelling“ you really would find something to suit your group.
I could go on with Greece, Vienna, Norway, South Africa etc. but if you would like to find out more about a specific destination then do call. We have some great DMC’s available to us in each country that have all the local knowledge and contacts to help us create a super event for you.
Do contact us if you are interested in holding an event with a difference!