Incentive professionals and destination management companies are always looking for ways to jazz up events for their top performers during once-in-a-lifetime incentive trips. At these top locales in Europe, it’s easy to build a theme into the program.

In 1955, the InterContinental Carlton Cannes on the French Riviera was the setting for Alfred Hitchcock’s famed “To Catch a Thief”, starring Cary Grant as the retired cat burglar John Robie and Grace Kelly as the rich socialite Frances Stevens.  

One of the highlights of the movie is a masquerade ball with wealthy vacationers on the Riviera. The ball was set up to catch Robie in the act of stealing jewels from unsuspecting guests. What better place to stage a 1950s-style black tie masquerade ball for your group with a big band orchestra playing in the background as guests dance the night away?

Lyon, France has become an increasingly popular destination for incentive events. An historic city since the time of the Roman Empire, the city is a wonderful mix of medieval and contemporary architecture. Groups can tour the Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon, one of the largest museums if France. Once a Benedictine Convent, the museum houses everything from Egyptian antiquities to masterpieces by 20th Century French painter Georges Braque. The gardens are a beautiful spot for guests to stroll and the abbey has a few Rodin sculptures to admire.

French DMC has taken groups from Old Lyon to Beaujolais, France, on road rallies where visitors enjoy the wine route through picturesque villages and its famous vineyards. The finale is lunch at one of these wineries with delicious, fruity Beaujolais wine as an accompaniment.

Principal London DMC can satisfy an obsession with Harry Potter. They’ve recreated a gala dinner of Magic & Muggles transforming a venue into a Harry Potter and Hogwarts experience in London. The evening starts in a Vintage Routemaster ride from the host hotel to a secret Platform 9¾ for a reception and fitting of branded Gryffindor capes while being greeted by character lookalikes. Guests then travel to “Diagon Alley” to the “Great Hall” for a banquet.

Porto, Portugal, is the second city next to Lisbon and is associated with the production of Port Wine. As such, wine tasting opportunities are many – particularly in the Port Wine Cellars in the city. CITITRAVEL DMC has also taken groups to the Douro Valley to view the entire wine-producing process. Trips can be done by train or Rabelo boats, which once transported the barrels of wine down to the city from the Douro.

Edinburgh, Scotland, is very unique in that it’s one of the few cities in the world where its entire City Center forms a Unesco World Heritage Site. And when in the city, what better way to feel the part than to come dressed to the nines for a trip on the Royal Yacht Britannia for an evening of unrivaled elegance. For groups, Spectra DMC has hired local tailors to fit men with kilts and woman with silk sashes to wear over their gowns for a truly transformative experience!

This post is sponsored by IHG.