In Incentive Travel, Special Events, Strategic Meetings

Throughout the changes and challenges of the pandemic, one element of a well-designed event – be it in person or virtual – remained constant. Personalization reigns as the key driver of engagement, value and connection. As experienced planners of detail-rich, personalized events, the SDI team offers their thoughts on how a personalized, custom approach makes the difference for our clients.

Committed to the Details

Attention and commitment to the smallest details define a truly great event that produces results with lasting impact. Ensuring those details embody the client’s brand takes the attention one step further, and immersing your guests at every turn — from visual elements to live experiences – creates an intimate, bespoke feel even in a large venue or once-again-possible large gathering.

  • Travel & transportation: The experience begins before arrival. Custom travel plans, branded transportation and detailed and personalized itineraries help guests feel cared for from the moment they are invited to attend to their final ride home.
  • Signs & décor: A full property takeover for your event creates an instant community and a custom destination, but all gatherings can effectively welcome guests with branded décor and signs throughout the property and in the guest rooms and meeting spaces.
  • Welcome gifts: Expand on the feeling of a special arrival by placing in-room welcome gifts packed with items curated to the destination and to each recipient.
  • Daily surprises: Reinforce the gratitude for your guests with daily surprises from afternoon mixology experiences to local culinary delights to fun mementos of their trip each day.
  • Custom experiences: Send guests away with lifetime memories from their trip with once-in-a-lifetime adventures that can only be delivered by the destination. Golf, spa and team-building activities are great additions to any gathering, but custom experiences create the strongest positive response. Take into consideration the needs and likes of the group, and then give them the opportunities that would be near impossible to duplicate anywhere else.

Personalized Attention, Individualized Experience

Creating a personal event is about more than designing the perfect environment for the group – its about understanding and delivering individualized attention to each and every guest within the event. This begins with understanding who your guests as people, not just employees or clients, in order to deliver on their desires and interests.

  • Personalized surveys: As you gather travel details from your guests, extend your information gathering a bit further, surveying them to find out their favorite foods, beverages, hobbies, activities and some fun facts. Consider welcoming them to the destination with their beverage of choice or surprising them with a room delivery of loved snacks to make them feel valued and included.
  • Meaningful activities: Learning about the preferred activities of your guests helps not only create unique experiences, but also gather small groups that might otherwise never have discovered their common interests. Don’t fall into the trap of assuming activities will be successful just based on age or background – let your guests surprise you and surprise themselves with whom they may connect in the group. Experiences that allow guests to give back to the local destination – through volunteer work or cultural experiences – provide another opportunity to create long-lasting shared memories.
  • Free time: Once in a lifetime adventures, bespoke culinary experiences and team-building outings aren’t the only thing guests want from an incentive trip or meeting. Give them space and time to explore one-on-one, form new friendships and have their own adventures. Free-time can be the most indulgent gift of all.
  • Personalized gifting / artisan gifts: Guests love souvenirs, and the most special mementos have extra meaning. A gifting catalogue where attendees can make their own choices is an easy option. Add local flavor by inviting local artisans to create custom pieces with your guests that they will be thrilled to take home and share with friends and family.

The New Normal: Here, There and Everywhere

The format of events is shifting once again as organizers find themselves planning for every eventuality – from in-person to hybrid to fully virtual.  Hybrid will stay with us for some time, and it requires special attention to ensure guests feel connected and cared for – regardless of where or how they are participating. Hotels and event venues are partnering with event planners to ensure connecting with virtual attendees is high quality and seamless.  From event studios to increased AV capabilities, the sophistication of hybrid events has rapidly increased, including gifting and activities.

  • Gifting Far and Wide: Make sure your virtual attendees feel as welcome as your in-person guests by sending personal gifts to their homes to be opened as part of the event kick-off.
  • Hybrid Activities: Include virtual attendees in networking and team building by creating activities that allow them to participate and interact with their in-person colleagues. From quiz games to culinary demonstrations to virtual tours of local landmarks, ensure the virtual itinerary is as interesting as in-person.

Most importantly, make sure every event attendee feels like a valued member of the team, whether they are with you physically or digitally. Personalizing meetings and incentive events is about creating memories and celebrating achievements and expertise – and a significant consideration for the near future is acknowledging and accepting their own comfort and desire to travel.

Creating the perfect personal and engaging event requires an experienced team accustomed to delivering excellence in every detail. At SDI we pride ourselves on delivering world-class experiences for our clients who share our value of making sure every guest is seen and honored, and every guest returns home engaged, excited and incentivized to continue to achieve.

About Us: SDI Meetings & Incentives is the global-yet-boutique meetings, incentives and special events partner driven by the basic truth that Experience Matters.  Creating custom experiences to reward performance and fuel growth, SDI taps decades of expertise to deliver solutions managed from concept through execution by one tenured point of contact. We’ve produced programs around the world, for groups from 10 to thousands, combining the exact right elements to support our clients’ goals and to motivate and inspire their attendees. Find out more and contact us at