Destination Management Company IDNZ planned and managed a ‘Bucket List’ incentive in beautiful Queenstown, exceeding the expectation of guests, who voted it their ‘best incentive trip yet’.

The company
A leading global technology company.
 
The brief 
A year prior to the event, sales people were asked by the company to list three things on their life ‘Bucket List’, including dream destinations and ultimate experiences they want to see and do before they die. This list was used to determine the company's next incentive destination. While 'flying to the moon' was scrapped as being too difficult, the company took up the challenge on dreams like ‘flying an F16 Fighter Jet’ and 'skydiving'. These extreme wishes, plus the recurrence of New Zealand as a dream destination led to the final choice for the 2014 event – Queenstown, New Zealand!
 
The President's Club is the CEO’s way of saying thank you to his sales force. As such, the itinerary needed to reflect this and put together in an expert way the set of thrill-seeking adventures and once-in-a-lifetime experiences requested.
 
The location
The four-night programme was held in spectacular Queenstown, ‘Adventure Capital of the World’, providing both the requisite wow factor and a full itinerary that ticked off a large number of the 'Bucket List' requests. The luxurious Sofitel Queenstown Hotel & Spa was selected to host the group for their stay.
 
After settling in, guests were transported to the Kawarau Bridge Bungy Centre (site of the world’s first commercial bungy) for a fun and powerful welcome event. The CEO issued his challenge from the bridge and then took the leap, creating a ripple effect where team members unlikely to jump faced their fears and took the plunge. Each jumper had to nominate the next and the vast majority of the group bungy jumped – some of them twice! The energy created from this, along with ‘up’ theming and entertainment, set a positive tone for the whole programme.  
 
The best Queenstown can offer
On day two, guests were treated to the best Queenstown can offer. The group was split into two, meeting up for lunch in the middle of this tailor-made programme. Activities included: a breathtaking jet boat trip on the Dart River, winding through the pristine countryside of the Mount Aspiring National Park; helicopter 'flightseeing' over the World Heritage Site to Milford Sound, travelling the length of the spectacular fiord carved by glaciers; landing on a remote West Coast beach and then onto the Humboldt Mountain range for a scenic landing, with the addition of champagne and, for those interested, an extreme golf tee. Lunch was a riverside gourmet barbecue. A relaxed and fun atmosphere was created with picnic blankets, bean bags, driftwood logs, camping chairs and tables. Local farmers, hunters and fishing guides brought some extra ‘character’ (and cooks) into the mix, each with a story and understanding of the special area.
 
A 'Top Gun' experience
While Queenstown already caters for many of the adventurous 'Bucket List' requests, the Fighter Jet aspiration meant bringing a Strikemaster, Mustang and team of pilots, engineers and crew to Wanaka from Auckland. Guests were transported to and from Wanaka Airport by fixed-wing aircraft in small groups to embark on a full ‘Top Gun’ experience, whether they wanted to experience rolls and loops or simply gain firsthand experience at flying a strike mission. The 30-minute flight was an adventure that provided ‘turning and burning’ as well as some high-intensity flying through some of New Zealand’s most dramatic scenery.  
 
Those not taking to the sky continued to tick off the myriad incentive options in Queenstown, from sedate spa sessions, vineyard tours, horseback riding or fly fishing, to the more extreme canyon swing, skydiving, paragliding, quad biking, whitewater rafting or zip-lining.
 
High Country highlight
Guests had been enjoying their evenings at dine around sessions at Queenstown’s finest restaurants, but the final gala dinner came with a twist. On the afternoon of the final day, guests received an invitation accompanied by a pair of Barbour gumboots in their hotel room, requesting their attendance at the evening’s ‘High Country’ themed gala event. The guests were collected by 4WD vehicles and transferred to a beautiful private property at Mount Soho, offering 360-degree mountain views of The Remarkables, Coronet Peak, The Crown Range and Mount Soho. On arrival, guests were met by a ‘Southern Man’ on horseback and other hosts welcoming them to the event and offering canapés and cocktails. The entertainment included activities such as laser clay bird shooting, archery and gumboot throwing. Sheep shearers demonstrated shearing and invited willing participants to give it a try. Guests were then invited inside to a beautifully themed room to enjoy a first-class gala dinner featuring fresh and delicious local produce, with a local band bringing festivities to a close.
 
A resounding success
Celeste Jones, Director of Incentives at IDNZ, said: “We judge our success through our clients' success.  Hearing from both participants and the company CEO that we executed ‘the best President's Club yet’ let us know that the hard work we put into the programme from conception to execution paid off. The attendees and organisers were thrilled.”
 
Katie Harvill, Managing Director of US-based experience agency Matchstick Creative, added: “You are only as good as the people you surround yourself with, and in New Zealand we were in the very best company. IDNZ helped raise the bar creatively and performed flawless execution on a very complex programme for a high-profile group. I felt their attention to detail was exceptional from the pre-planning, throughout event logistics as well as the post-event reconciliation. If I were to venture back with a group to this beautiful country, they would be my first call.”