Indian incentive group makes history in Melbourne

Event:Amway India Leadership Seminar 2012
Delegates:Over 4,000 delegates from India
Destination:Melbourne, Victoria
Duration:December 2012
Welcoming the largest Indian incentive group ever accommodated in Australia, Melbourne made history in December 2012 when it hosted the Amway India Leadership Seminar.

A global leader in direct selling with in excess of a million independent business owners (IBOs) in more than 80 countries, Amway India rewarded approximately 4,000 Indian IBOs with a bespoke incentive program in and around Melbourne. This contributed approximately A$21 million to the local economy.

During a seven-day itinerary, the group experienced a prestigious business session at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC), a trip back to Australia’s gold rush era at Sovereign Hill, exclusive access to Phillip Island Nature Parks, and a cricket match at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) during a gala dinner event.

The Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) won the bid to host the Amway India Leadership Seminar for Melbourne due to the city’s ability to host the large incentive group in one wave. Additionally, the city’s supreme infrastructure; unique, tailor-made experiences; and collaborative approach with government and key suppliers supported the bid.

MCB worked extremely closely with Amway India from the bidding stage to the event execution, carefully creating and delivering an innovative program for delegates. The strength of MCB’s relationships with its members enabled them to secure access to the hallowed turf of the MCG, previously unheard of during the Australian cricket season; and exclusive use of Phillip Island Nature Parks, another first for a corporate group.

Additionally, the MCB secured accommodation for all 4,000 delegates within a four-kilometre radius in eight of the city’s hotels. A survey conducted by MCB prior to the group’s departure found that 95 per cent of the delegates would recommend Melbourne as a place to visit; and 79 per cent of the delegates will return to Melbourne in the next five years for a holiday.

Doing business
Melbourne has the highest concentration of conference facilities in Australia.

Melbourne’s number one venue for business events, the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) connected Amway India delegates with amazing spaces, leading technology, creative food and wine and friendly staff with the skills and experience to bring it all together. Located on the banks of the Yarra River, MCEC offers on-site accommodation, views of the city skyline, is only two traffic lights from Melbourne Airport and a short stroll to Melbourne’s city centre. Ninety-one per cent of Amway’s top sellers were satisfied or very satisfied with MCEC’s facilities and the session, which provided the group an opportunity to learn, network and grow their business footprint.

“Melbourne for our delegates is just a dream destination. There are just so many different things for people to do … there’s something for everybody. I would very strongly recommend Melbourne and Australia [for business events].” Bill Pinckney, CEO of Amway India.

Contributing to the session’s success wasthe MCEC’s ability to cater for the large group. Using locally-sourced produce, the in-house kitchen team turned around 7,000 meals after 1,400 hours of food preparation. Servings were tailored to Indian palates and various dietary requirements.

“Our food philosophy is to use fresh Victorian produce where possible. It’s the first time [Amway India has] been to MCEC and it was great to showcase how our chefs can cater for any dietary requirements .” Tony Panetta Executive Chef at MCEC

Travelling back in time
The group journeyed for just over an hour north-west of Melbourne to Sovereign Hill. Famous for its discovery of gold in 1851, the area is now home to an attraction that transports visitors back to Australia’s gold rush era with a bustling 1850s-style set-up including costumed actors that parade the streets.

Delegates were greeted by 100 volunteer guides who were on hand to help them pan for gold; explore an old gold mine; catch a horse-drawn coach; or visit hotels, schools and the theatre.

Treating delegates to lunch, Sovereign Hill Café was transformed into a giant buffet hall with temporary kitchen facilities built into a marquee. The buffet included 600 kilograms of dhal, 700 kilograms of lamb korma, 450 kilograms of vegetable curry, 350 kilograms of lasagne, 1,000 kilograms of basmati rice and 80 kilograms of freshly chopped green chilli.

Getting back to nature
In less than two hours, Amway India’s top sellers were also transported from the city to the beautiful and serene Phillip Island. Here, they were given exclusive access to Phillip Island Nature Parks – the first time this has been granted in the Parks’ history.

Identified by BirdLife International for its dedication to conservation, the Park proudly supports significant populations of Little Penguins, Short-tailed Shearwaters and Pacific Gulls.

Guided by over 80 of Phillip Island Nature Parks’ staff and volunteers, the Amway India delegation visited Churchill Island, the Koala Conservation Centre, Nobbies Centre and the resident Little Penguins.

Ending on a high

Returning to Melbourne, the group enjoyed a final gala dinner at the MCG, with highlights including a friendly cricket match between delegates, a motivational speech by Australian cricket legend Adam Gilchrist and an awe-inspiring Bollywood performance by Indian talent, Mika Singh.

The entertainment at the MCG was mentioned as a highlight of the trip, with one delegate describing it as “a dream come true event”.

'The closing ceremony at the MCG was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and everything and everybody was awesome,” said Rita Tandon, Senior Manager Special Events at Amway India.

Peter Jones, famed for working on events surrounding Oprah Winfrey’s visit to Australia in 2010, coordinated the spectacular event at the MCG, which was praised as being “amazing”, “excellent” and a “rare opportunity” by delegates.