A long-haul journey to the East has always been the top preference for the annual incentive trip hosted by GE Money Bank France for high achievers in its sales team.
Many in the group were seasoned globetrotters and had been to exotic sites in Myanmar and Cambodia. Last year, the group continued its exploration of Southeast Asia with a trip to neighbouring Thailand.
Aware that the previous destinations had the advantage of being relatively unexplored countries, Exotissimo Travel Thailand – which had been hired as the destination management company to put together the weeklong itinerary – made sure the group enjoyed a string of unique experiences that were authentically Thai.
The incentive trip involved a group of 100 people. The whole journey spanned seven days across Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket.
“They were eager to try the local modes of transport,” says Edwin Briels, general manager of Exotissimo Travel Thailand.
“Besides tuk-tuk rides in Bangkok and Phuket, the group travelled on songthaews (converted pick-ups with two rows of bench seats) and samlors (trishaws) in Chiang Mai.”
Police escorts accompanied the group when they moved between sites to ensure a hassle-free journey. As one delegate used a wheelchair, a van with a ramp was provided for him and his family and porters were available to carry him onto the different modes of transport.
In case of any bad weather, back-up plans were made, ready to be implemented any time during the incentive.
The programme had a decidedly culinary bent, quite appropriate for a group of food-loving Frenchmen and women.
Dinners in each destination were themed to showcase the city’s unique characteristics.
In modern and trendy Bangkok, the ritzy Bed Supperclub was closed for a night of gourmet dining and the group was treated to a dance show based on the rock musical Tommy, by the English band The Who.
By contrast, the GE Money Bank group was immersed in a traditional, Lanna-style dinner in Chiang Mai. A local-style market, complete with stalls and vendors, was recreated in a complex of traditional Lanna houses.
The evening started with cocktails and guests were given a free rein in shopping for local handicrafts being sold at the stalls.
After the “local market” experience, an exquisite dinner was served accompanied by entertainment featuring northern Thai dances.
The group capped their evening by launching bright-coloured khom loy (hot-air paper balloons) into the night sky.
Phuket’s Phang Nga Bay was the perfect setting for a barbecue lunch. Bamboo mats and low tables were set up at a private beach while the chef served a steady flow of food. Later in the day, guests either watched a takraw (a local sport using a ball made of rattan) exhibition or relaxed with a neck and shoulder massage by the beach.
The popular island destination was also the site of the gala dinner during the last night of the trip. No stone was left unturned for the evening extravaganza complete with a bonfire, a barbecue station, southern Thai dances, Polynesian performances and a fire twirling show.
The group was then delighted to view an unscheduled fireworks display. Merry-making lasted until the wee small hours of the morning with a deejay supplying the music for the cool beachside party.
Event: Incentive trip
Client: GE Money Bank (France)
Event organiser: Exotissimo Thailand
Venues: Thailand – Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket