A New York-Themed Incentive Trip

October 23, 2002, 12:00 AM EDT

Scitor Corporation's Lee Scott posed with a performer posing as the Statue of Liberty and PRA Destination Management's Patrick Sullivan, who put together Virginia-based Scitor's employee incentive trip to New York.

Scitor Corporation 2003 annual employee incentive trip New York Hilton Friday, 10.18.02, to Sunday, 10.20.02
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If you're not based in New York, how do you bring 1,500 out-of-towners here for a weekend incentive trip and keep them happy and entertained?

You can either send an advance team of 10 people a year in advance, or you can hire one of New York's destination management companies. (See list of several DMCs below). Imagine the work involved in organizing hotel and travel reservations, airport pickups and dinners for 1,500 people, plus the creative planning that goes into giving guests a memorable trip.

PRA Destination Management's Patrick Sullivan helped northern Virginia-based Scitor Corporation (a private information and engineering company) handle such a big task by flawlessly managing a weekend in New York for the company's entire staff and their guests, totaling 1,500 people. “We juggled over 35 different organizations representing hundreds of staff for the care, feeding, entertainment and transportation for the weekend. These events are the equivalent of the planning, rehearsals and opening night of a Broadway show,” Sullivan told us.

The weekend included two nights at the Hilton New York, a welcome dinner on Friday evening, an hour-and-a-half business meeting on Saturday morning, shopping and free time that afternoon and a buffet dinner and a buyout of the Ford Center for the Performing Arts for a performance of 42nd Street.

The opening dinner included a New York-themed extravaganza using five ballrooms at the Hilton New York, each with a different New York theme. Chez-zam Entertainment brought in a cavalcade of acts and performance artists for every room. Guests entered through a mockup of the Brooklyn Bridge and were greeted by jugglers, stiltwalkers, a human Statue of Liberty, David Letterman and Joan Rivers look-alikes, Broadway performers and even talking meatballs representing Little Italy. “It is now more critical than ever for people to experience an event instead of just attending one,” Chez-zam president Richard Blau explained. “That's why we try to create a surprise around every bend.”

Each room had a buffet station representing a different New York theme as well. The food presentations were so well done that despite the large appetites, guests never saw bottom of chafing dish or platter.

Following a day of meetings and shopping, the entire group headed to the Ford Center, where photographer Marc Bryan-Brown shot a unique group shot before the show—an old-fashioned group shot of the entire theater of 1,500 people. Brown used a four-second exposure and a 2?- by 2?-inch film format. In order to see people's faces, the prints will be 20 by 24 inches, and Brown expects that 98 percent of the photo will show people in acceptable poses. Following the shot, Scitor president Jim Hoskins greeted the crowd and introduced the show.

Company-wide incentive trips have been a tradition at Scitor for more than 15 years; last year the entire company went to Maui, and next year the locale will be New Orleans. Why do they take the time, energy and expense to orchestrate incentive events to show the company's appreciation of its employees? Lee Scott, Scitor's manager of corporate events, gave us a simple answer: because they work.

David Adler

Destination Management Companies:
Briggs Red Carpet Associates
Connections Unlimited
Empire Force Events
Lots of Yachts/Lots of Spots
Manhattan Passport Ltd.
PRA Destination Management
PrestigEvents Inc.
Production Group International
Shackman Associates International
ViewPoint International Destination Management USA

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