Australia’s ability to provide priceless experiences is paying huge dividends with Sydney going above and beyond for a major Asian incentive programme – a 3000-strong Perfect China 2013 Leadership Seminar in July.
High-performing distributors from Perfect China, a leading health and personal care direct-selling company, arrived in Sydney in three waves of approximately 1000 delegates each, seeing, tasting, and touching everything that the city and surrounding region had to offer in a jam-packed programme.
Apart from filling the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre for its leadership seminar, much of what the delegates did was arranged exclusively for them.
As Kent Yu, personal assistant to the president of sales and operations and director of business management of Perfect China explained, Perfect China incentives must include options that the average tourist cannot do.
Tobruk Sheep Station was hired exclusively for the group throughout their six-day visit. Around 500 delegates each day travelled to the station, just over one hour from the heart of Sydney, where they were welcomed by stockmen on horseback cracking whips and leading them from the gate to the homestead. On show were a variety of activities including sheep shearing demonstrations, damper and billy tea cooking, bush dancing workshops and sheep mustering.
Delegates were broken into smaller groups to ensure everyone enjoyed up-close encounters with cuddly koalas and an array of farm animals. A marquee was erected especially for the group, which contained produce and souvenirs sourced locally for delegates to browse through and purchase.
“The aim of our incentive is to motivate members to work harder to achieve their sales targets and be eligible to participate in the incentive trip each year,” Mr Yu said.
Another clear once-in-a-lifetime experience was created at Darling Harbour with a large area of the public space cordoned off for Perfect China to allow its 3000 delegates to welcome their Chairman Koo Yuen Kim, Vice-Chairman, Hooy Kok Wai, and president Woo Swee Lian, to Sydney via boat, followed by a high-speed water display complete with jet boats, speed boats, fireworks and acrobatics.
An absolute highlight was climbing to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge with Sydney-based tourist attractions company BridgeClimb, which utilised Mandarin-speaking guides to assist delegates. More than 2100 of Perfect China’s high achievers enjoyed the stunning vista from the top of the bridge over four days, making it the largest single corporate group to climb the icon.
“This was a very exciting milestone for us, both for our relations with China and because it demonstrated our ability to create tailored experiences for large corporate groups,” said BridgeClimb Chairman and founder, Paul Cave.
Private charters were also secured for harbour cruises with Captain Cook Cruises.
Perfect China’s Mr Yu said there were many other instances of Sydney going the extra mile, with Business Events Sydney, the organisation responsible for securing meetings and incentives for the city, a clear catalyst working closely with key service providers.
“Business Events Sydney (BESydney) was proactive in facilitating the programme and assisted above and beyond. For example, we use a lot of organic herbal products. They assisted us in talking to the appropriate government department on being able to bring these with us.
“BESydney also assisted with arranging to streamline the procedure for our delegates claiming back GST under the GST refund scheme on items they purchased when they left Australia.”
The bureau adopts a customised approach for assisting large international groups, according to BESydney’s general manager of event delivery, Robyn Johnson.
“Every conference and incentive is very different and our approach is to tailor packages and programmes that they experience here to suit that specific group,” Ms Johnson said.
Another example of ensuring the Perfect China experience flowed seamlessly and was achieved with the assistance of Sydney Airport which pre-printed incoming and outgoing passenger cards for every delegate, reducing the amount of time it took to enter and depart the airport by eliminating any difficulties or confusion associated with language barriers.
Safety and sophistication
Mr Yu said Sydney’s safety and its multicultural, friendly residents were also important factors in selecting the city for this incentive programme.
“Australians are very welcoming towards visitors to their country,” he said.
BESydney CEO, Lyn Lewis-Smith, credited the bureau’s long-standing relationships with the China market for the growth in Chinese incentive business over recent years, which in the 2012/13 financial year represented 50 per cent of the total economic impact of corporate incentive business secured by the bureau.
“China is a relationship-driven market, and our foresight in 2004 to be the first Australian bureau to establish in-market representation is now paying dividends for Sydney,” Ms Lewis-Smith said.
A noticeable shift in the city is the prevalence of public and private organisations working together to ensure that visitors, and particularly the ever-growing Chinese market, are well catered for.
Destination NSW CEO, Sandra Chipchase, said the city was doing more to attract the Chinese market, which now accounts for just over 13 per cent of all international visitors to the state.
“We are the first state in Australia where taxi cabs accept China UnionPay,” Ms Chipchase said.
“We want to be the one-stop shop in Australia for anybody in China who wants to bring incentive business or conventions to this city.”
The programme ended with a gala dinner held in two halls of the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre. Walking through a swathe of coloured lights, the room captured the magic and variety of the Australian continent with projections of iconic destinations including the Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu, the Snowy Mountains and Sydney Harbour. Five stages and an aerial walkway saw a variety of performances with pyrotechnics punctuated throughout the evening.
Mr Yu said Sydney’s natural beauty, combined with its modern infrastructure and its experience in catering for the incentive market, were other clear reasons why the group chose Sydney for its 2013 programme.
The Perfect China Leadership Seminar 2013 was secured by Business Events Sydney in partnership with Destination NSW.