Brand-sponsored trips within the Food + Beverage industry aren’t uncommon, but it’s rare to find ones that are flawlessly executed and memorable. We’ve all heard stories of exhausting travel schedules, badly behaved guests, packed itineraries, and long hours of repetitive lectures. However, Padilla’s Food + Bev team recently had the privilege of supporting an exceptional brand immersion trip to Norway, organized by our client, the Norwegian Seafood Council. This trip provided valuable education and ensured that every activity catered to the business and educational interests of the guests, receiving positive reviews from all.
When organizing your next brand immersion trip, incorporate the three planning hacks below to ensure success. By curating the perfect guest list, making time for breaks and exploration, and implementing exclusive touches, you can transform an ordinary trip into an extraordinary one. These simple but effective strategies can make all the difference.
1. Curate the Perfect Guest List
- Carefully select individuals who are most suited to connect with your target audiences and will share what they learned from the trip.
- Look for participants who bring diverse perspectives and varied professional backgrounds to the conversation. This includes stakeholders from multiple geographical areas catering to different clientele, and who are involved in various parts of the supply chain.
- Avoid direct competitors. When inviting guests from the same industry, be mindful of potential tensions that can arise. It only takes a few minutes to research if there may be a background or potentially unpleasant past between guests.
For this trip, we focused on influential members of the culinary scene in New York, ensuring a well-rounded guest list that included distributors, retail and restaurant owners, highly lauded chefs, registered dietitians and foodie influencers. Each participant played a crucial role in the product supply chain, providing valuable insights and asking important questions during presentations and discussions.
2. Make Time for Guests and Be Prepared
- Plan breaks. Traveling is tiring, particularly with changing time zones. Allotting breaks after long commutes allows guests to connect with loved ones, catch up on work from back home and rejuvenate. During activities, incorporate bathroom and snack breaks to ensure a comfortable experience for your guests.
- Allow time for independent exploration. Including free time in your itinerary allows guests to discover local activities and points of interest that align with the trip’s objectives.
- Account for delays. Allocate an additional 10-15 minutes for guests to arrive, providing flexibility and ensuring punctuality for the next destination.
- Always remember to pack an emergency kit and commonly needed over-the-counter medications.
For our trip, we incorporated breaks at key moments, allowing guests to rest and explore their surroundings. We also provided suggestions for local activities during breaks, which proved popular and led to joint learning and exploration.
3. Customize the Guest Experience
- Avoid overwhelming guests with a continuous flow of content. Spread out the key learning points throughout the trip, presenting different parts at various locations. This approach mimics a guided museum tour, allowing guests to absorb information in manageable portions. This also helps accommodate varying energy levels, because not everyone has the same endurance or travel pace.
- Welcome guests with small gestures. Enhance the guest experience by offering a warm greeting, such as a custom beverage or a local snack. This special touch makes them feel at home and engaged from the start.
- Personalize the experience. Include a handwritten note in guest hotel rooms or use them as parting gifts along with a small keepsake.
During our trip to Bergen, we visited the Funicular de Mount Floyen, where guests were greeted with outdoor homemade hot chocolate cooked over an open fire, delicious carrot buns and a comfortable outdoor patio. The stunning view combined with a warm beverage provided a memorable touch to their experience.
With these practical planning hacks, you’ll undoubtedly elevate the guest experience and create a truly unforgettable and successful trip. Contact Yoni Aguilar the next time you’re planning a brand immersion experience.
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