The incentive industry is growing, and Brisbane is on the map for companies looking to inspire their staff.
Brought to you by Brisbane Marketing
Staff love them, companies that use them are increasingly nailing their sales and other business targets, and the relationships gained from them can fuel careers, productivity and company bottom lines.
But the market for incentive travel programs is only really just taking hold in certain parts of the world – albeit at a rapidly growing pace, especially throughout the Asia region.
In 2018, China was Australia’s largest inbound market for visitor arrivals and total expenditure. In that same period, Tourism Australia’s International Visitor Survey tracked expenditure of $700 million from 101,000 Chinese business events arrivals.
It’s estimated about a quarter of those arrivals were to Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland – and these numbers have been steadily increasing year after year.
A 2018 joint study conducted by the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence, the Incentive Research Foundation, and Financial & Insurance Conference Professionals shows the incentive market is growing.
The study showed more than half (54%) of buyers reported an increase in budgets year over year with the median per person spend stable at $US4000. About two-thirds of buyers surveyed for the report said they were increasing the number of incentive program qualifiers thanks to companies taking a positive view of the world economy.
And while sales and profits were the main reasons companies ran incentive programs, more focus was now on management and employees building their relationships, increasing productivity and keeping employees engaged.
Most importantly, 70% of buyers said their programs were effective at achieving business objectives.
What are companies looking for?
Destination appeal and value for money remain the top factors for buyers, but wellness – such as yoga and outdoor adventure activities – has rocketed up the list as one of the most desired features for companies wanting to reward and inspire their staff. And it’s something Brisbane has in spades, especially for our close neighbours looking for a dose of Australia’s great outdoors.
There has also been a marked increase in interest from Greater China MICE agents in Brisbane since the city hosted Dreamtime in 2017, Tourism Australia’s signature incentive showcase.
So with many eyes from the industry now focused on southeast Queensland, here’s just a taste of what Brisbane has to offer buyers in the incentive market.
Tangalooma Island Resort
Words by Vera Zhou, Director of Sales – Northeast Asia
At Tangalooma Island Resort we have many different activities and facilities catering to the ever-increasing incentive market.
Naturally, the location of the resort in itself is a big drawcard. Moreton Island is just 75 minutes from Brisbane, and our Brisbane wharf is 5 minutes away from the domestic and international airport terminals, making connections fast and straightforward.
When guests arrive, they’re greeted by a beautiful setting of white sandy beaches and blue waters that are safe for swimming. From this island base, guests and groups can enjoy over 70 different tours and activities, including 4WD, snorkelling, whale-watching, helicopter flights and private charter tours to see dugongs. But by far our most unique and popular activity is wild dolphin feeding – as much a hit for international guests as it is in the domestic market, being such a rare up-close encounter.
Team building is another activity we offer to large incentive groups – we work working closely with team building company Banana Life – and we can tailor the experience to be bi-lingual, thanks to a team of 16 staff who work as part of our dedicated Chinese guest services team. They’re always on hand to assist our Chinese guests and groups to ensure they’re enjoying their time at Tangalooma.
When it comes to dining, as well as typical Australian foods we showcase international flavours, including very authentic Chinese food – and incentive groups have provided great feedback on it. In terms of accommodations, we can cater for anywhere from 50 to 200 PAX at the resort with various options and seven different accommodation styles.
Words by John Sharpe, Owner & Founder
At Riverlife we offer a wide range of activities for groups big and small, including outdoor adventure-based pursuits such as kayaking, rock climbing, stand-up paddleboarding, segway tours, abseiling, laser tag and Urbie tours. We also offer Aboriginal cultural immersion walks down to the parkland, and can put on seafood barbecues by the river or a Devonshire tea – which we find is the perfect way to bring a group together before or after their adventure to connect and share their experience.
With big groups, we can also join forces with the Story Bridge Adventure Climb to expand the offering. That might involve an adventure climb up the bridge or abseiling down the bridge piers. They will be offering a lot more other adventure activities in the next year, so this is something that will only going to get bigger and better for us too.
What we’ve found over the past 10 years or so is that Chinese guests are getting a lot more adventurous. They’re starting to move into more mainstream adventure activities. For example, where once they would be happy just walking into the water and getting their feet wet for a photo, now they want to go snorkelling, even if their swimming skills aren’t that strong.
So for us it’s been really important to make sure that we have Chinese staff helping out so it makes them feel more comfortable doing something that’s a little bit out of their comfort zone. What we find is that Chinese guests are happy with the experience you give them because it’s all completely new to them. They appreciate the sense of adventure.
Words by Michael Muza, Sales & Marketing Manager
One thing that makes Sirromet unique in our incentive offering is that we can tailor schedules and customise experiences to suit groups of all sizes needs and expectations. For example, we offer customised wine labels for company gifting, as well as onsite team building experiences like stomping the grapes or rolling the barrel.
Depending on the size of the groups we are able to split into multiple groups and offer a Behind the Scenes Tour & Tasting on a rotational format. We also have unique function rooms and award winning cuisine, a 4WD track and Supagolf. To cater to large incentive groups we have a great team of mandarin speaking staff on the ground who are able to assist every step of the way.
From a food service point of view we are also able to cater to groups in our existing facilities up to 300 guests, or we have the ability to scale up with a marquee style lunch capable of catering for a group of 700 to 1000 guests. Set among 226 hectares of natural bushland and vineyards with views out over Moreton Bay, our unique natural setting is a big drawcard. And it’s all just 30 minutes from Brisbane CBD.
For us, ensuring our Chinese guests have an authentic experience is key. They want to experience our authentic local lifestyle, nature, environment and culture. This sentiment is clear across the board and beyond incentive travel. That’s why more and more Chinese guests are now travelling independently rather than pre-packaged holidays.
At Sirromet Winery we also provide a home delivery service to guests from China so they can enjoy our products once they get home. Hosting Chinese incentive groups allows us to provide education about wine making, about the Granite Belt wine region, and the chance to try our wines and ultimately drive the home delivery business.