Experience matters at SDI – your experience and what happens when you work with us, your guests’ experience and how positive and valued they feel, and our experience – 28 years of it with a team that has done it all, seen it all, and come through it all flawlessly.
nding on our theme of Experience Matters, we’d like to bring you “Inside the Experience” – giving you a view into the incredible team members that make working with SDI such an exceptional experience.
Meet Silvia Lucchinetti, Senior Account Manager
How long have you been with SDI?
What do you love most about your job?
The freedom and encouragement to do our work well and develop deep and new client relationships. It is a great feeling to win new business by earning the trust of our clients through flawless execution and of course, always standing by our word.
Why is incentive travel important?
Travel connects people and strengthens bonds among participants. Incentive travel is an incredible way to drive competition and create excitement within a salesforce, and of course its one of the best rewards for top performers. It’s exciting to work with clients to provide opportunities that they could never experience on their own – dinner at the Vatican, private tours of the Louvre, concerts with the Vienna Boys Choir in Vienna, gondola trips across the Grand Canal to a masked ball held at a private palazzo in Venice – I could go on and on.
What is the most challenging situation you’ve faced in your role?
My most challenging situation unfolded during a five-day program with 225 guests to Buenos Aires & Patagonia. We arrived in Buenos Aires as a Chilean volcano began erupting, causing ash to delay flights and shut down airports. Attendee flights were delayed, and once the entire group arrived, we learned all flights to Patagonia were cancelled. We reworked the entire second half of the trip within 24 hours, while on site and operating the Buenos Aires portion of the trip. After cancelling all vendors for the Patagonia trip, we planned and booked travel to Iguazu Falls, where guests were greeted at their new hotel with a welcome party celebrating the jungle setting and featuring numerous artists, live entertainment and locally sourced catering. We celebrated our last day in Iguazu Falls with a disco party before attendees caught their rebooked flights to Buenos Aires to head home. Even then the challenges didn’t end, we had a major mechanical issue on our flight from Iguazu Falls, when the plane engine was hit by birds, and we had to return to the Iguazu Falls Airport with pilot advising engine issues.
That was challenging – I had a very experienced team on-site and an incredible DMC that assisted us. Good partners and experienced staff make all the difference – I could not have done it without them.
What is your craziest / funniest / weirdest travel story?
Back in the day, I was a flight attendant – hired by an international airline that flew to various parts of the world for, I will just say, the “government.” It made for some interesting destinations and some incredible memories.
Another great moment – while on African safari, I got to my villa at 10 PM and a colleague asked to meet up at the open-air bar. I was concerned about possible wildlife in the area and was teased a bit mercilessly about being nervous about the possibility of becoming a lion’s evening snack. I called security and asked if it was safe to walk the path alone, and the security guard said absolutely NOT! The ranger came to pick me up with rifle and light in hand, told me a hyena was in the area and walked me to the bar… and back! My colleague still makes fun of me.
What has been your favorite destination to visit with SDI?
Going to South Africa on safari – there is nothing like realizing you are just a tiny dot on this earth and sometimes you are the prey – it definitely keeps you alert. The animals are magnificent and every trip out into the bush is exciting! One night we were out for a drive and just stopped to look up at the sky – the number of stars and planets you can see is incredible. Overall, it is vast, wild and beautiful and offers something that most people will not get to experience. It’s a great destination for an incentive program.
What is on your bucket list?
Honestly, I don’t have a bucket list. I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every experience and take each day as it comes. I have been lucky to have the opportunity do to a lot! I would like to visit New Zealand; I was planning a trip when the pandemic hit. Someday I’d perhaps like to spend three months of the year with friends in Italy, Greece, Spain or France or any Mediterranean small seaside spot. That’s not happening anytime soon – but someday!