For many of the 1050 Chinese participants of the Herbalife Leadership Vacation held on Queensland’s Gold Coast in May 2013, the incentive reward experience was a life-changing one.

For a successful incentive travel program to work effectively it must not only reward participants but encourage them to reach even greater heights. Arguably, this visit to the Gold Coast by Herbalife China did both.

The high achieving Herbalife China representatives arrived with big smiles when they touched down under clear-blue Gold Coast skies but had even more reasons to smile with the incredible experiences offered during their five-day incentive.
Herbalife distributes its global nutrition products in 88 countries through a network of more than three million independent distributors, with China one of its fastest growing markets.
“This Gold Coast trip has excited me so much,” said one participant at the final night gala dinner and awards spectacular held at Jupiters Hotel and Casino.
“I [have] decided to challenge myself to reach higher goals when I go back to China.”

Another clearly overwhelmed delegate said: “This is my first time visiting Australia’s gorgeous Gold Coast. I am very excited. When I go back to China I will share this experience with my family and friends, and bring them back.”
This is a common reaction with incentive delegates participating in Australian programs, with nine out of 10 typically returning as a leisure tourist at a later date.
In this instance, the Gold Coast and the program did exactly what Herbalife China wanted it to do.
As Herbalife China President, Jerry Li explains, the company chose the Gold Coast for its leadership vacation to reward its top sellers because it perfectly met their requirements and reflected much of their company culture – simple, fun and magical.

“When choosing Australia for the Herbalife Leadership Vacation 2012 we were attracted by its world-renowned culture of fun; its people, natural beauty and its proximity to China,” Mr Li said.
While there were many highlights, a clear stand-out was the opportunity delegates had to interact with some of Australia’s unique wildlife, particularly the koalas and kangaroos at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary in the heart of the Gold Coast. A trip to the award-winning Sea World saw Herbalife high achievers get up close and personal with penguins, manta rays and other aquatic wildlife, while on another tour participants were invited to catch crabs which they later cooked and ate as part of a sumptuous lunch.
Having the opportunity to be so hands-on was “one of the most important reasons why we chose [to come] here,” Mr Li explained.
Interacting with marine and native wildlife was recognised as a key driver for Chinese tourists visiting Australia in Tourism Australia’s China Consumer Demand Project, with these two elements ranking ‘most appealing’ in the study.
Gold Coast Business Events, a division of Gold Coast Tourism Corporation, won the rights for the city to host the Herbalife Leadership Vacation 2012 not only due to its close proximity to Asia but also thanks to its sophisticated event facilities, beautiful natural environments and diverse range of activities for delegates to enjoy.
Part of the brief was the importance of selecting a destination that could provide different experiences for different levels of qualifiers which included delegates and three levels of VIPs.

As Gold Coast Business Events director, Anna Case, explained, the destination’s wide range of activities and experiences “allowed organisers to devise an itinerary that catered for the full scope of the event”.
“From a winery tour and theme park excursions to exclusive high tea at Palazzo Versace for the elite performers – the variety and activities available enabled an itinerary that reflected the level of reward,” Ms Case said.
The Gold Coast is arguably one of the country’s most diverse cities, with an abundance of stunning landscapes, out of this world attractions and unique experiences. Bordered by the water on one side, to the west is the Gold Coast hinterland – home to national parks, bushwalking trails, wineries, outback Australian experiences, and boutique resorts and spas. In between are championship golf courses, pristine waterways, theme parks, shopping precincts, and world-class venues.

Gold Coast Business Events adds value

“Herbalife originally expected 750 delegates to attend the event. When final numbers were over 1000 Gold Coast Business Events (GCBE) assisted in enhancing the program. In particular, Herbalife wanted to include a healthy activity with a team-building element. This was challenging due to the size of the group, however, we assisted through securing permits and approvals through local networks to host the team-building activity – the sand sculpting and beach walk – on Currumbin Beach.

“To address water safety concerns we were able to secure support of Gold Coast City Council lifeguards to provide land and water patrols for the duration of this element of the event,” Ms Case said.
It was this “can do” attitude from GCBE and local Gold Coast tourism operators to guarantee Herbalife delegates a memorable and rewarding experience that is setting the region apart and helping it secure more high-profile international meetings and incentive events.

Gold Coast Tourism CEO Martin Winter said winning and hosting the Herbalife Leadership Vacation 2012 was a major achievement for the city and provided an opportunity to showcase its high quality incentive market offering.
“The Gold Coast boasts 57 kilometres of pristine beaches, world-class entertainment, excellent shopping, the largest collection of theme parks in the Southern Hemisphere, and as our Herbalife delegates found, many wonderful opportunities to interact with our native wildlife,” he said.
“We look forward to welcoming future high-achieving incentive groups in the lead up to hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2018.”

Images copyright Tourism Australia. Photographer: SDP Media