When Monique Rochard-Marine, Director; Strategic Meetings Management & Event Operations, was asked by her organization’s CEO to plan a trip to a new continent with only 8 months’ notice and while expecting a child, she knew she needed help, fast. Luckily, she also knew that Carrousel Travel could step up to the plate.
“I don’t have to worry about anything when I work with Carrousel Travel,” Monique said about her recent experience. “I never have to ask questions because they have the experience!”
As any event planner can attest to, arranging travel for meetings, incentive trips, and more require relationships and research. When a new location is tossed into the mix, it can be nail-biting, but in an exciting and nerve-wracking way. At Monique’s organization, Cardiovascular Systems, Inc., the top sales representatives are rewarded with an annual trip sponsored by the company. Previous incentive travel was a beach-and-resort type of affair. There wasn’t a need for a lot of structured activities or instruction for the travelers. However, for 2018, the CEO wanted something unique. He wanted to craft a once-in-a-lifetime experience--an ‘OMG’ experience.
Rome was that ‘OMG’ experience.
Suddenly, Monique was plunged into dealing with far more than expected. “Rome has a lot of intricacies to manage,” she said. “It’s a cosmopolitan destination, there are more logistics and a lot more planning involved. And I had no contacts there.”
But Monique does have contacts here. She met Carrousel’s Amy Beilke through different networking groups in the area, but they hadn’t worked together in a professional capacity. When Monique found out that Amy had extensive contacts and relationships in Italy, she felt confident that Carrousel was the partner she needed.
What felt like a huge job for one person became “very easy,” Monique said. Working closely with incentive travel executives Amy and Vanessa, they crafted the options and alternatives that fit her budget.
“They [Carrousel Travel] would send me things and all I had to do was say yes or no,” Monique said. “Before, I had to do all the planning myself, and it took away from the things that I should be spending my attention on. It’s great to have someone who can take that off your plate. I felt they were an extension of my team.”
And the support didn’t stop once the trip was in flight--literally. An attendee was pickpocketed and Carrousel was able to help connect with the right government officials and make sure that the damage was mitigated. There was also a need to help an attendee who experienced a reaction. Again, Carrousel was there to help find a doctor and an all-night pharmacy.
“The onsite execution was outstanding,” Monique said. “They ensured that the attendees and planner were well taken care of, we were treated like VIPs.”
Cardiovascular Systems, Inc. now faces the problem that all incentive travel planners face: how do we top this trip? Luckily, Monique has some ideas--and the help she needs to ensure everything comes off perfectly. Based on the experiences from this trip, Monique and Carrousel are planning out the next few years’ trips and fine-tuning the details. Striking the balance between activities, relaxation, dining, and transportation needs to be carefully considered to give attendees that ‘OMG’ experience.
Contact Carrousel to move the needle on your next incentive program. And check out this video to see more of the fun in Rome!