The saying that seeing is believing was certainly true for a recent BE Sydney familiarisation program for Asian clients as part of the organisation’s 50th year in operation.

Asia’s incentive market is fast-growing and ever-changing. Corporate companies know all too well that a perfectly planned incentive program will have a genuine impact on employee retention, staff satisfaction, and overall morale and motivation.

Over the years, Australia has been a firm favourite with organisations looking to incentivise their top performers, partly due to its location on Asia’s doorstep and its close cultural links.

Strategic bidding organisation, BESydney, having spent the last 15 years increasing investment in Asia, understands the key to successful and long-term relationships. Understanding clients’ exacting needs, their business drivers and the broader geopolitical environment in which they operate, are keys to strong relationships that lead to impactful outcomes.

“We were one of the first Australian convention bureaus to commit to the Asian market, and those longstanding ties have given us a great foundation to continue to grow,” said CEO of BESydney, Lyn Lewis-Smith.

“We have built a strong rapport with our clients, who return time and again to Sydney as a result.”

Today, incentive gatherings and corporate meetings from Asia add up to more than  50 per cent of what BESydney secures annually, with Greater China, India and Japan as major source markets. This portion has more than doubled over the past decade.

Importance of local industry

Fruitful partnerships – not just with clients but also with the local industry – are integral to sustaining this success. This was particularly evident at the largest familiarisation BESydney has ever held. Run as part of BESydney’s 50th anniversary celebrations, the May famil involved 21 corporate clients, travel agents and media from China, India, Japan and Taiwan.

BESydney enlisted the expertise and creative ideas of its major strategic partners and members who pulled out all the stops to welcome the VIP guests.

“Sydney has so much to offer our expanding Asia-based incentive clientele. Our 50th anniversary year is providing a fantastic opportunity to show them new takes on the impressive experiences our partners can provide,” said Ms Lewis-Smith.

“Nothing beats first-hand experience and our recent Asia familiarisation was a great example of how Sydney can put on a show for the most discerning corporate incentive clients.”

The group were wowed by a Twilight BridgeClimb against a Vivid Sydney backdrop; travelling by Harley Davidson’s along Sydney’s foreshore; a private performance and tour of the Sydney Opera House; and beach fun with Bondi Rescue lifeguards.

The group also visited Port Stephens and Glenworth Valley to get up close and personal with native Aussie flora and fauna.

The five-day extravaganza was full of activity-hopping, selfie-taking and rapport-building, and ended in a spectacular finale and firework display at Sydney Harbour’s Goat Island.

“For international visitors, seeing and climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge provides that ultimate and iconic ‘I’ve arrived in Sydney’ moment,” said Jordana Kirby, head of sales and marketing at BridgeClimb Sydney.

“BESydney have been great supporters of BridgeClimb and together we work to present new experiences and solutions to entice the international incentive market.”

Constant reinvention

The problem with being such a well-known and highly visited city means that Sydney needs to constantly reinvent itself to remain fresh in a competitive market.

“Asia, in particular, is a mature market that knows Sydney very well so reinventing the BridgeClimb experience and offering new products, such as The Vivid Climb, is key to winning repeat and new business from this part of the world,” added Ms Kirby.

“Working with BESydney fosters collaboration to create like-minded Sydney experiences. Together our two companies are presenting exciting, engaging and inspiring solutions for clients.”

General manager sales for Luna Park Sydney, James Granter, said developing markets can be very hard to sell into unless you know how, and none is harder than Asia for a multitude of reasons.

“The reason BESydney was so successful in their Asia Famil celebration is because they have an experienced Asia team who live and breathe the region,” Mr Granter said.

“They have created established relationships, focused on Asia for many years and have constant engagement with local partners and members to facilitate opportunities.”


Being able to demonstrate an authentic Sydney was key to showing BESydney’s visitors the hidden depths of a city they may know well. This was essential to the finale dinner. The NSW Minister for Energy and Environment, Matt Kean, welcomed guests to the Goat Island farewell and the Koomari Indigenous Performers provided a heartfelt traditional Welcome to Country, complete with Indigenous singing and dances.

Breathtaking fireworks ended the evening with views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, lit by Vivid Sydney, and Australian classics sung by the Australian Girls’ Choir.“NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and BESydney share a vison of delivering bespoke nature-based Sydney experiences to the Asian incentive market, and the new Goat Island (Me-mel) product achieves just that,” said Julie Bishop, director visitor experience at NPWS.

“A great way to experience Sydney Harbour is from its islands. Goat Island (Me-mel) and its extraordinary Aboriginal and colonial heritage, and spectacular Harbour Bridge and Barangaroo views, displays Sydney at its best. Goat Island (Me-mel) is our best kept secret for Asian incentive delegates seeking a new and memorable Sydney experience,” she added.

“BESydney has been a leader in our sector for the past 50 years by continuously learning and adapting to clients’ needs, and working closely with our partners to adjust offerings to surprise and delight,” added BE Sydney CEO, Lyn Lewis-Smith.

“Collaboration is key and may this continue for decades to come.”