This luxury incentive was to celebrate a personal milestone of the company principal and in recognition of recent business success. The brief was to 'wow' the guests.
The feedback from the clients was fantastic. During a phone call to follow up with them after their arrival back in the US, they said that they would usually make a list of five to 10 things in a programme that could have been improved, but on this occasion they could not identify a single area for improvement. For clients of this calibre, and a complex programme of this nature, we were understandably delighted.
Vance Haywood, Seasonz Travel
This North American private equity firm had previously visited Queenstown on an incentive with Seasonz Travel and wanted to see more of New Zealand.
The incentive was to celebrate a personal milestone for the main principal of the company, and also in recognition of business successes the company had recently achieved. The brief was to provide ‘wow’ moments at every opportunity. The itinerary was put together for the main principals plus a few extra guests, making a group of 15.
The programme began in the Bay of Islands, with a quick stop in Taupo before heading to Hawke’s Bay. Because of the previous trip to Queenstown, Seasonz wanted to show off other New Zealand locations to the group, who were keen on kite-surfing, scuba diving, golf, and fly-fishing, as well as being very passionate about New Zealand wine. “So utilising the Bay of Islands and Hawke’s Bay allowed us to showcase regions of the country they had not previously seen, the very best accommodation and activity options to suit their requirements, as well as having world-class wineries right on their doorstep,” Seasonz group and incentive operations manager Vance Haywood said.
The clients arrived into Auckland International Airport via private jet - owned by the main principal - and commercial Air New Zealand flights. They were flown by helicopter directly to luxury retreat Eagles Nest in the Bay of Islands, north of Auckland. The group had exclusive use of the five villas at Eagles Nest, including the stunning 4-bedroom Rahimoana Villa. Anchored off the private beach below Rahimoana Villa was the Island Escape expedition vessel, chartered especially by the group for their time in the Bay of Islands.
Once at Eagles Nest the activities commenced. Some of the group were transferred by private helicopter to the dramatic Kauri Cliffs for a round of golf overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Others flew to Karikari Peninsula for a private kite-surfing lesson, and the remainder were transferred by tender boat to the Island Escape before heading out into the Bay of Islands to enjoy an afternoon of fishing and diving. Those who had gone to play golf or kite-surf were later transferred by helicopter to the Island Escape and the group held a working session on the boat as they returned to Eagles Nest.
Unbeknown to the main principal, his family and close friends flew to New Zealand to help celebrate his personal milestone and on the second day they surprised him, boarding the Island Escape as the group were about to lift anchor. Everyone spent the morning fishing and diving, and as the group enjoyed lunch a fleet of jetskis was brought to the boat from Paihia for an afternoon jetski safari. A private dinner was held in Rahimoana Villa that evening, and to celebrate the day a pontoon was moved out into the harbour after sunset for a colourful fireworks display.
On the third day four helicopters flew the group to Hawke’s Bay via a quick stop for a car race around the Taupo Race Track. The exclusive Formula Challenge Driving Experience, complete with podium presentation, grabbed the attention of most of the group who were served up a gourmet barbecue for their efforts. From Taupo they were whisked away in helicopters to The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, a luxury lodge and golf course with more Pacific Ocean views, rivalled only by Kauri Cliffs. There the team embarked on heli fly-fishing, involving nine fishing guides and a range of helicopter transfers. Seasonz ensured the waters had not been fished for two weeks prior to the client’s arrival. More golf ensued while private winery tours pre-arranged with the owners were a great success with some of the group buying several barrels and multiple cases of wines to be shipped back to the US. On the final day guests again enjoyed a range of activities before boarding a private jet at Hawke’s Bay airport for international departure, or flying smaller private charters to Auckland to connect with a departing Air New Zealand commercial flight.
Food and wine
Food and beverage was critical to the overall success of the programme and Seasonz sourced a range of rare vintages (both New Zealand and international wines) at the specific request of the client. Personal chefs were used on the Island Escape and also at Eagles Nest. A private dinner was also enjoyed in the wine cellar at The Farm at Cape Kidnappers.
The complex programme featured multiple activities at any one time. The group were guided by Seasonz directors Sam Porter and Matt Lines, and Mr Haywood. “The feedback from the clients was fantastic,” Mr Haywood said. “During a phone call to follow up with them after their arrival back in the US, they said that they would usually make a list of five to 10 things in a programme that could have been improved, but on this occasion they could not identify a single area for improvement. For clients of this calibre, and a complex programme of this nature, we were understandably delighted.”