PROBLEM NUMBER ONE for incentive planners going to Switzerland – perhaps the only problem Switzerland poses for organisers – is what to offer participants as gifts. Not so much what can offer that will give pleasure but what will everyone want as a reminder of their visit.
A few pounds of chocolates or cheese will be welcome, of course. Switzerland’s chocolates and cheeses are superb. A few pounds of gold, or at least a few ounces, in the form of jewellery or a watch from one of the fine shops in Zurich’s glorious Bahnhofstrasse or Geneva’s Old Town would not go amiss either.
But many participants will most want to take home something much more expensive and difficult to handle, beginning with an airport or two. The reason is that flying into Geneva and Zurich remains one of the few pleasures in modern travel. First travel is the beauty of their locations in the heart of the mountains and the lakes. As the aircraft descends, the spirits soar – everyone knows they are going to have a good time.
Then there is the convenience of the airports themselves. Not merely the fact that they are relatively small and superbly equipped with everything from supermarkets to conference suites but that they are directly linked to Switzerland’s extraordinary rail service. Within a few minutes of landing, everyone can be on board and well on their way to some remote Alpine village.
Inevitably people will be saying, I wish we had an airport like that at home! Not all Swiss cities offer this same immediate air-to-rail link, but that’s only because their airports are even smaller and their settings possibly even more beautiful.
What would be the point of getting straight on a train when you land, say at Bern, in the midst of immaculate rolling farmland, or at Lugano, by the lake and its surrounding palm trees?
So an airport should be on every incentive planners’ shopping shortlist in Switzerland. So should a mountain or two.
Yes, it is difficult to see how everyone will be able to take the Matterhorn of the Jungfrau home, but you can be certain they will want to. The reason is that Switzerland’s mountains are better than anyone else’s. They are not merely high masses of inanimate granite. They are decorated with pine forests and tiny glittering waterfalls and brilliant white snow and fairytale chalets and picture postcard cattle, until they are unbelievable beautiful.
That’s their secret. They are so beautiful that one wants to touch them, to make sure they are real, and then, of course, to take them home.
Fortunately for planners, mountains are everywhere in Switzerland – it is literally impossible to go anywhere without seeing them – and perhaps the local folk might not even notice if one of two went missing. A couple of other interesting items to consider buying are: efficiency, for once participants experience the reliable nature of Switzerland they are sure to want to take that with them; and hotels, since Switzerland more or less invented luxury hostel-keeping and everyone is going to want one of these chic establishments for their own exclusive use back home.
To browse all our hotels in Switzerland, please visit: http://www.ghotw.com/list/country/home/switzerland.htm
Kristel van Winkel
Great Hotels of the World
Note to editors:
Great Hotels of the World
Great Hotels of the World provides global hotel reservation, sales and marketing services for an exclusive portfolio of primarily independent hotels and resorts worldwide. Great Hotels of the World provides a range of products, services and innovative technology solutions for over 250 hotels worldwide through trade shows, e-marketing, business travel sales, meeting and incentive sales, public relations, Meeting Forums and a private label GDS chain code (GW).