Getting Down Under: Planners Tell What It’s Really Like


Six meetings executives recently took more than a week from their busy schedules to travel to Sydney, Australia, and Queenstown, New Zealand, for an activity-packed educational tour. We asked them: What makes such a long-haul trip worthwhile?

“There are things you can't know for certain unless you experience them firsthand. For example. I learned that Sydney is unique in the sense it can have a city feeling and also a small-town feeling all at once. And in Queenstown, the variety of experiences, world-class service, and incredible food and wine can give attendees a once-in-a-lifetime experience.” 

Danielle Childress, managing partner, CPI

“As the owner of a company that does international meetings, going on site trips and meeting with key people in the field is critical. I would never recommend a destination without having firsthand knowledge from a site visit. It is well worth my time to provide a great return on investment for my clients.”

Christianne Heba, external communications and meeting manager, Meetings Unlimited

“My initial perception of traveling to Australia and New Zealand was that it was going to be a long, tiring journey. I was convinced it would be worse than going to Hong Kong, because in my mind these countries were so far “down under” it take longer. Then I discovered that the trip was much easier than I expected—in fact, actual air time was shorter than going to the Far East. Now, armed with this knowledge and understanding the unique features of both lovely destinations, I can’t see why I [or any organization] wouldn’t want to do business with them!”
Andrea Henning-Beavon, president, Down to the Details

“When I call on clients who are thinking about international incentive programs, I can speak with confidence about these two destinations because of my personal experience. The way to make a 12-plus hour flight whiz by is to stick to a plan: a meal and a movie for the first few hours, followed by eight hours of sleep, then wake up for breakfast and the last few hours on the plane. I felt exuberant when I arrived.”

Cindy LoPatriello, director of business development, VIP Incentives

“Taking time from my schedule to ensure that the hundreds of attendees who may visit these destinations aren’t wasting their time, is more than worth it! I need to make sure that people are prepared, that they have a great experience, that they accomplish their goals—and ultimately, when they look back, that they feel the effort was worthwhile.”

Gwendolyn Moore, business events executive, Americas, Ford Motor Co.

“The return on investment for me to visit two international destinations is huge, particularly when the two destinations are so different from each other! This is what makes such a long-haul trip worthwhile.”
Bayo Sharp, manager, global accounts, HelmsBriscoe