How Mahindra’s time out in Prague boosted sales by 15 per cent

Prague can be cold in winter but the snow and the Christmas markets provided an atmospheric backdrop for Mahindra’s latest incentive travel programme, as Shekhar Niyogi reports.

Demonitisation has hit many Indian businesses hard but time-share specialists Mahindra Holidays’ first quarter figures are matching 2016’s pre-demonitisation levels – effectively a 15 per cent growth in volume. And the management thanks its latest incentive travel programme which took place at the end of last year for the successful beginning to this year. The group of 62 sales professionals travelled to Prague in December on a four-day programme, for many it was their first experience of Europe. The objective of the incentive trip was a reward for the sales team’s efforts in selling time-shares and motivation for future performance. The retention of their top staff was also high on the agenda.

The trip was managed by Mercury Travels India and participants flew on Emirates Airways and Turkish Airlines. After transfer to the NH Hotel, the afternoon was spent at leisure and then the evening was a Vltava River Cruise, revealing a panoramic view of this beautiful city. After the cruise, the group was transferred for dinner at a local Indian restaurant.

On day two, after breakfast at the hotel the group proceeded for a guided tour including St Vitus Cathedral, Old Royal Palace, St George Basilica and Golden Lane. Then up to the Prague Castle, residence of Czech kings; to Golden Lane,  an ancient street with tiny houses and Franz Kafka’s house. Then the tour proceeded to the world famous Charles Bridge. During the tour of the bridge they were regaled with many mystic stories that have been told over the centuries. The old town square with famous astronomical clocks is the historical centre of the city and the final point on the tour.  After the morning tour the delegates had lunch at a local restaurant and then went for a 15-minute ride in a battle tank. In the evening, the group was transported to the Black Light Theatre show. Black light theatre is a world of illusory creations and hidden secrets. The story is related visually, through a highly charged mix of different theatrical elements. The show included some dynamic dance routines, ballet, colourfully dressed mime artists, singers, puppets, animated film, state-of-the-art visual effects and dramatic sounds. Post show the group was transferred for the Medieval Folklore Show with some fantastic belly dancing, sword fighting and other performnces, with unlimited beer, wine and beverages. The participants then gathered at the U Pavouka Restaurant for dinner.

On day three, after breakfast at the hotel the group left for a full day trip to Karlovy Vary, a two and half hour drive away. A guided tour was conducted of this, one of the most famous spa towns in the Czech Republic, located to the west of Prague, near the German border. The spa town was built during the Middle Ages after the discovery of hot mineral springs. It is a clean, elegant place with gracious colonnades and picturesque boulevards, surrounded by forests. The invigorating waters are used to treat all kinds of disorders and for general well-being. The group gathered for an Italian lunch. After lunch the group went to a shooting range to try their hand with guns and live ammunition – a first time experience for most of the participants. On arrival at the range, each group was met by the instructors and briefed on the rules. In the evening thy drove back to Prague for a cocktail and dinner at a local Indian restaurant with music provided by a disc jockey. Overnight was at the NH Hotel in Prague.

On day four, after breakfast the participants left for the airport to board their respective flights back to India. A spokesperson for Mahindra Holidays and Resorts said the purpose of the incentive trip was to motivate the high performers in the company, to show the appreciation for their efforts and to encourage them to keep performing well. It is a regular exercise for the company to motivate its employees using such trips as a token of their appreciation. Mercury Travels, the travel managers, were happy that their tour was successful as the participants returned with very positive feedback about the trip and that it had been a seamless smooth operation.