Ovation Global DMC launch ‘This is Spain – Discover Us from Home’ – a week of virtual and bespoke Spanish incentive experiences.
There has been a lot (and I mean a LOT) of talk recently about the pivot to virtual events for the MICE industry. As live events get cancelled and the remaining Q4 face to face options seem to swivel tantalizingly down the plug hole of 2020, event professionals are left slightly mouth-ajar in disbelief, but simultaneously (in the way we are trained and hotwired to do) in frantic ..recalculating.. mode, as company directors, managers, sales and operations staff all scramble to re-train and, dare I say, pivot themselves into tech savvy, virtual event specialists. While F2F Meetings, Conferences and Events might seem to more naturally convert into online replacements, it is the “I” in MICE – the Incentive, which is most difficult to imagine transposed into a virtual format. That said, DMCs are nothing but creative and imaginative and if any cohort of industry professionals could pull off a virtual experience that still manages to “do what it says on the tin” and be, in fact, incentivising, it would be this sector.
Ovation Global DMC are straight out of the gate in the recent launch of their Virtual Incentive Experience (V.I.E.) for Spain. On talking to Rutger Hoorn, VP Global Sales and Rudolf Rannegger, Deputy GM for Ovation Spain and Portugal DMC, SITE got a little more insight into the crafting of this new offering.
When did you come up with this Virtual Incentive Experience Idea? Had it been in the pipeline for a long time or was it a purely Covid-response undertaking?
The ideation of this V.I.E. was in the pipeline for quite few months, but the acceleration was made during the first weeks of lock down in Europe.
Why did you choose Spain as the country to trial?
The Ovation Spain DMC team came up with the concept and turned this strategically around, hence Spain is the key destination for the V.I.E. As well as this, amongst other reasons, Spain still is one of our top producing countries when it comes to incentive programs globally.
What were the biggest challenges in turning it into a reality?
Creating a virtual, time-lined experience that was not a replacement of Face2Face. We really drilled into what attendees appreciate best and what most engages them. We tried to include elements that are drivers for virtual enjoyment, while positioning this experience as either a standalone, or as a teaser of what is to come when F2F returns.
Are there plans to unveil offerings for other countries in the near future?
Yes, more destinations to come for sure, stay tuned.
It seems that each day there is a different theme-related activity – music, art, food etc. Is the idea that this experience takes place as a few hours each day, or, could this whole programme be converted into an intensive one-day Spanish immersion as well?
The full experience can be tailored to the needs of the customer. In other words, we can support a full day experience, but understanding digital engagement and attention span, this is more feasible as a multi-day environment – entirely branded or adjusted as per the client’s wishes.
What do you think are the main benefits of a company offering their clients a virtual incentive experience?
Firstly, V.I.E. is not a replacement for an actual recognition program. It is more an added value to the current rewards (often cash or points) which companies provide their qualifiers with.
V.I.E takes the attendees virtually away from their home and provides fun and engaging virtual enjoyment. It is a tool for companies to offer creative content to their qualifiers/winners and bring the community together in a shared experience. This stimulates excitement, which motivates attendees to continue performing well.
Do you have any advice for other DMCs or countries trying to roll out similar virtual experiences?
- Plan and create engaging content
- Involve digital events strategists to maximize the virtual experience in an online environment
- Plan for solid engagement tools during the virtual experience so attendees can interact at will
- Keep the FUN level high
- Adapt to the client’s wishes of course, but make sure the timeline and experience are created strategically
- Make it personal, don’t over produce, make it as human as possible
- Include gamification
- Include trophies or points with awards for the attendees that most engage with the online content
SITE wishes every DMC currently manoeuvring into the virtual and hybrid space the very best of luck with their new endeavours. As we appreciate last year’s freedom of movement, we are sure that, even virtually, each destination has the power to excite and inspire incentive participants. In this current world of restrictions, such glimpses into other cultures have the power to engage and delight more than ever… as with baited breath, we wait to be able to venture forth, explore, and discover once more.