Catherine Wittke, CMP, Patricia Kerr, CMP, and their working team of 10 had a planning and a promotional challenge facing them when Manulife Financial's two-tiered incentive program for 1999 outgrew the two properties it was booked into. They had to select a new site and plan the conference in less than a year, and then they had to promote the heck out of it.
Fortunately, the meeting team at the Waterloo, Ontario-based company chose to rebook the programs into the new Royal Towers at Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas--a destination that had been doing a considerable amount of promotion on its own. In fact, a multipage Atlantis advertising section from USA Today was included in Manulife's registration materials.
The first promotional piece sent to agents across Canada was a dramatic poster, designed in-house, inviting them to try to be among the qualifiers who would discover the lost city of Atlantis. Because there was much less time than usual to promote the destination (Manulife's incentive program has a two-year qualification period), Kerr notes that a lot more attention was paid to the registration packet, which was sent five months before the program. "Ordinarily we wouldn't put as much money into it, but we realized the registration materials had to be high-end because they would become promotional pieces as well," she says. The resulting glossy packet also was designed in-house, with striking photography and clever clip art. Important meeting information was conveyed via the "Discover" theme.
One other useful trick: The Atlantis Web address was printed in the registration packet, and many agents surfed over to check it out.
The Program * Company: Manulife Financial, Waterloo, Ontario
* Event: Manulife Financial Prestige and Premiere Conference
* Theme: Discovery
* Site: Royal Towers, Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas
* Dates: May 4 to 9, 1999
* Qualification Period: January 1, 1997 to December 31, 1998
* Qualifying Attendees: 525
* Total Attendees (including spouses, home office, and staff): 1,107
* The Creative Team: Jason Boettger, main graphic designer; meeting planning team, including Heather Fedyck, Patricia Kerr, and Catherine Wittke