Great Barrier Reef region delivers for USA corporates
When: May 2017
Number of guests: 350 adults and 70 children
Length of stay: 5 nights
DMC: ID Events
Convention bureau: Business Events Cairns and Great Barrier Reef
Destinations: Cairns, Port Douglas and the Great Barrier Reef
The incentive program created by Australian destination management company ID Events included an exclusive buy-out of the Sheraton Grand Mirage Port Douglas, which has undergone an AUD 40-million-dollar refurbishment.
Karen Livermore, Director of Sales and Events for ID Events explains that, “having a resort for their sole use was key to our client’s requirements, and the Sheraton Grand Mirage Port Douglas was the perfect location.
Located right on Four Mile Beach and offering two hectares of swimming pools, 294 rooms (some with direct access into the pools), as well as its own golf course, the resort offered a variety of outdoor and indoor event spaces, 24-hour service, and best of all – proximity to the Great Barrier Reef.
“Having travelled the world on incentive programs, our client was accustomed to the absolute best in service but importantly, wanted a destination that would deliver” says Ms Livermore.
That was certainly the case with the Great Barrier Reef region, incorporating the destinations of Cairns and Port Douglas. The region offered a ‘one-stop’ opportunity to discover three unique experiences - the Great Barrier Reef, world-heritage listed Daintree Rainforest, and Australia’s Aboriginal culture.
As well as the resort buy-out ID Events organised a number of unforgettable experiences that showcased the destination, with a highlight being exclusive access for guests to the Great Barrier Reef. Quicksilver Cruises’ private catamaran was used to take guests to the best Reef location based on the day’s weather, providing them with a tailor-made Great Barrier Reef experience.
The program also featured Australian wildlife encounters during an exclusive guided tour of Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures, a discovery of Aboriginal culture with a private Mossman Gorge Dreamtime Walk and golf at Palmer Sea Reef.
Not every incentive trip includes delegates’ children travelling with their parents, but for this company, it was key to the success of the program. Designing a range of experiences to bring Australia to life for the children’s program, ID Events coordinated a ‘Finding Dory’ evening led by a Quicksilver Cruises Great Barrier Reef marine biologist, an Aboriginal discovery program led by Tjapukai that included craft-making activities, dancing and didgeridoo performances, and encounters with Australia’s famous animals from Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures.
Ms Livermore says, “The result was very gratifying. The program exceeded all expectations and had guests commenting for weeks about how amazing their Australian experience was. Our client remains so thrilled they are considering other Australian destinations for programs in 2019 and 2020 and maybe even beyond.”
Events that inspire
ID Events worked with local suppliers in the Cairns and Port Douglas region to create memorable events as part of the program. Here are some highlights.
With a tropical climate offering plenty of opportunities to enjoy outdoor event venues, Sheraton Grand Mirage Port Douglas was the perfect location for the welcome cocktail event. Fireworks lit up the skies above Four Mile Beach during the event, which utilised the entire Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort Port Douglas Lagoon Pool area. Bringing the tropical theme to life, the Lagoon Pool was decorated with tropical flowers, palm fronds, brightly coloured sun umbrellas and lounge seats for the event, while decorations including pink flamingos and pineapples, floated in the pool.
A Taste of Australia
The Mirage Country Club was the setting for the second night’s authentic Australian barbecue, with guests enjoying kangaroo fillet with native pepper berries and North Queensland tiger prawns amongst other dishes.
ID Events brought a taste of Australia to the night with activities including boomerang throwing, Australian native ingredient tastings, an Australian ‘bush’ (country music) band, indigenous performances, and the use of native florals, corrugated iron and timber furniture for decorations.
The circus-themed farewell function, held at Sheraton Grand Mirage Port Douglas Glade Pavillion, a versatile pillar-less space with retractable panels and a translucent covering that allows it to fill with soft natural light. Named “Circus Bizircus”, the evening brought the world of circus and cabaret to life. A carousel-like stage allowed performers, including contortionists in LED costuming and sword swallowers to entertain guests while they enjoyed the resort’s cuisine and service.