Brian Kelley, an account executive at Creative Group, told MeetingsNet Magazine about his experience sending incentive attendees to dine with local families in Ireland. Here’s an excerpt from the article:
After Brian Kelley, an account executive at Creative Group, attended his company’s sales meeting in Ireland, he couldn’t wait to organize a client incentive there. The highlight of the trip was dinner in an Irish family’s home. “It felt like Thanksgiving,” Kelley says, with three generations of family members welcoming their guests with music, stories, and food.
So when an automotive client chose Ireland as the destination for their top-tier incentive, Kelley pitched the idea of dinner in local homes, too. They agreed. It took a year of working with his Irish destination management company, but ultimately more than a dozen local families were prepared to host the 65 incentive guests, mainly in groups of four. Everyone was nervous.
“Not one person from our company accompanied the guests to the homes that night,” Kelley recounts. “It was the ultimate out-on-a-limb experience.” Guests, some traveling overseas for the first time, were unsure about the plan too, as they waited at the Hotel Europe Killarney. The hosts began to arrive, staying for an introduction before driving guests off in vehicles to their homes, scattered about the Killarney countryside. Kelley and his colleagues waited for them to return.
Some trickled back, but others moved on from the homes to the local pub. “It was the highlight of the trip,” Kelley says. “People are still in touch.” Some of the Irish families have visited the U.S. Some kids of the U.S. families who traveled to Ireland stopped in Killarney to visit the families. “These incredible relationships were built in just one night,” Kelley says. “I would do it again, anywhere in the world.”
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