Editor's Blog

A trip fit for a Maharaja
“If Carlsberg did fam trips, they would probably be like Designer Incentives does them”.

Designer’s UK representative Jane Filler would say that, wouldn’t she? But she has a point. The people at Designer really know what they are doing. From the meet and greet airside at Delhi Airport and the airport buggy transfer to immigration, to the tasteful room gifts and messages about their country on our pillows each night, Designer’s management of our visit to India’s golden triangle was a user manual on how inspection trips should be done.

Arrivals at hotels and venues were greeted by general managers in most cases and evening events were colourful and memorable. At the final night’s dinner at the Maharaja’s Palace, the main man himself joined us – all demonstrating that Designer’s relationships with key people are long, deep and at a high-level. True, bumping into the Dalai Lama in the lobby of the JW Marriott Hotel at Delhi Aerocity was an accident, but you can never be sure with Designer!

One of our room messages was a quotation from Keith Bellows, editor of the National Geographic Society, and particularly resonated with me. He said: “It was as if all my life I had been seeing the world in black and white and, when brought face-to-face with India, experienced everything re-rendered in brilliant technicolor.”

Colour is important in India and so is scent. The intoxicating perfumes of jasmine, freesias and roses were complemented by the pungent herbs in the food and drink creations served to us. Hotels scattered rose petals and festooned us with garlands of flowers while floor ‘petal paintings’ greeted our every arrival. I travelled with six event organisers to revisit Delhi, Agra and Jaipur and we found places where extraordinary change is happening on the surface but where, at its heart, India remains the same.

All my travelling companions were professional agency event organisers and all India debutantes; all women and all apprehensive and excited by the experiences that awaited them. Seeing India again through their eyes heightened my senses and refreshed my appreciation of this astonishing country. India was redrawn and recoloured for my more jaded eyes. They loved it and my affection was rekindled.

What else makes Designer’s fam trips great? Principals Sarvin Warden and Dimple Uberoi accompanied our every move. Sarvin the arch-raconteur uses his natural story-telling talents to explain history or give context to Indian cultural foibles and that adds entertainment and education to the tour guide’s delivery.

Most importantly, Designer always make their fam trips the Rolls Royce of the genre – never down to a price, always up to a standard. They demonstrated all creative possibilities, no matter that we were only seven. We played camel polo, we rode on tuk-tuks, horses and carriages, a train and classic cars and were welcomed by elephants, dancers and musicians in raucous cacophonies of loud colours, blaring horns and pulsating drums.

The final evening was enhanced by our arrival in local costume, expertly tailored in just 24 hours by specialists who came to the Taj Rambergh Palace to measure us up. While my turban may have been a source of great mirth to everyone, I have to say that our team of ladies looked fabulous in their saris and our final night’s dinner continued the theme of vibrant colour, pungent herbs and heady perfume.

Blueprint’s Cloe Batey said of the trip: “It was the best fam trip in 25 years!”

Like I said, Ms Filler has a point…

Pictured: Jane Filler, fivestarfiller; Kerry Suter, A2O Events; Jo Dempsey, BI Worldwide; Amy Burleigh, Raspberry Rhubarb Events; Cloe Batey, Blueprint; Rachael White, Activate Events; Martin Lewis, M&IT/meetpie.com.

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