Argentina Travel Partners Discuss Success with SITE
In what ways did you or your team need to use creativity in planning and executing this event?
The requirements were to create – from inception to fruition – all events and activities exclusively for them. No universal Argentina DMC catalog for reference. From venues to menus, themes to entertainment, set-up to gifts and invitations – everything had to be unique.
We were asked to create four Signature Events for the 6 days they visited Buenos Aires. The client also required five pre and post packaged Argentine extensions for additional purchase and daily optional exclusive tours and activities that augmented the overall Argentine experience.
And what was that perceived “Argentine experience?” we asked our client. A list ensued: Wine, beef, tango, soccer, architecture, polo, South American art, ranches, leather, gauchos, Evita, capital cityscape and a varied countryside – Patagonia, glaciers, Iguazu Falls, wine country. From these initial conversations grew four special events and free-flowing days with evenings brimming with options to satisfy any first time visitor to our magnificent city. We even created coupons for Buenos Aires’ favorite ice cream parlor, so that the guests could just grab some coupons before going out for a walk and enjoying the dulce de leche flavor so identified with Argentina.
In what ways did you get creative to meet the budget goals?
In an unpredictable, high inflation country such as Argentina, with the additional complication of currency restrictions, budget management is somewhat of an art form. In the case of this project, which extended over 2 years and had a budget to match the importance of the occasion (30th Anniversary), in order to cope with the constant fluctuations during the life of the project we identified and prioritized many items that could be added or omitted from the program as needed to facilitate budget management. Anything larger was discussed in weekly conference calls or Skype. Contracts had to be entered into with both guarantees for the local Argentine provider in mind and protection for the client. Deposit schedules and final payments, with flexibility considered, had to be negotiated. It was like being the juggler in the center ring, balancing the needs and requirements of all parties.
Program budgets were updated, at times weekly, to apprise the client of any fluctuations affecting overall costs and at times what could or could not be included in the pending program. Argentine labor union contracts also had to be safeguarded against and anticipated. Each event had a separate spreadsheet to monitor specific items that might potentially change. Any political election (of which there were several) also had to be watched closely for possible financial effects. “Never did I doubt our partnership’s ability to manage this large budget. It had so many moving pieces, just like a puzzle, but with level heads and our combined local partner’s expertise we could find a place for that puzzle piece to fit in our budget, short of something catastrophic. I was reminded of the importance of creating the necessary relationships early on, to come to our aid when the going got tough,” said our client.
What ideas or tactics did you execute to expand the “return on experience” for attendees? How did you envision that impacting the client’s return on investment?
We had to stretch our minds and think out of the box to achieve the goal of providing original one-of-a-kind experiences adapted specifically to our client. From coming up with new and different gifts, original ways of presenting invitations to signature events, designing a specific logo for the event in a traditional porteño art style, convincing the hotel to allow special events in unusual spaces, taking advantage of both technology and theatrics to create a whole final night out of just the bare bones of an idea, to new ways of ensuring that all the different dietary restrictions were informed without singling the guests out in an obvious way, all the steps in this process have taught us something which we can use and expand on for the benefit of our future clients.
Travel incentives produce different types of returns on investments. Some are not financially based initially, but we all know experiences can be turned into business profits if used correctly. For this entrepreneurial client, providing a trip that no one could duplicate on their own incubated the idea that if you were part of their system, you too could have these wonderful experiences with your peers. Participants had the ability to qualify for the entire trip free by making purchases through the corporate structure of a co-op. They could also pay up to a goal pre-established purchase level, or could buy into the trip outright. No one traveling knew who traveled for free or who had to buy-in to experience the exact same vacation with all of the same inclusions and amenities. It created for them a sense of fairness, equality, and an environment of networking and sharing business practices for the good of the group.
“Client Company 30th Anniversary” Program Overview
As the client’s needs grew, so did their incentive travel program. It may have started as a trip with 300 travelers with a budget of $2500 per couple, but 25 years later, the client’s 30th Anniversary event included over 1000 travelers and booming budget to match. Argentina Travel Partners took the challenge and became just that—partners—as the client assimilated into their team for welcomed participation and transparency. Throughout the event, creative programming and creative cost management elevated this incentive event to an adventure of a lifetime.
Click here to read more about how Argentina Travel Partners won the SITE Crystal Award: Excellence in Incentive Travel: Latin America.
The SITE Crystal Awards have a long history of awarding recognition to creative, practical and truly memorable incentive travel programs. To keep celebrating this prestigious award and share an update on the lasting impression of the winners on their clients, SITE has followed up with the SITE Crystal Award 2016 winners for a SITE Crystal Awards Blog Series. The Argentina Travel Partners (ATP-DMC) from Buenos Aires, Argentina won this year’s SITE Crystal Award: Excellence in Incentive Travel: Latin America. We’ve caught up with ATP-DMC to discuss how their client’s return on investment since applying for the SITE Crystal Award and how their team used creativity to execute their winning event, “Client Company 30th Anniversary.”