At goMICE, we regularly organise inspirational trips for our clients. We received the fantastic assignment of organising a retail trip to Asia for 40 top entrepreneurs within one of the most well-known retail chains in the Netherlands. We always kick-off these kinds of assignments with an inspection trip. In this first blog, I’d like to explain how we do things.
Visiting 5 world cities in 8 days?
Singapore – Taipei – Shanghai – Tokyo – Seoul
The inspection trip involved travelling to 5 world cities in Asia in just 8 days. The idea was to choose 3 or 4 cities and incorporate them into a challenging and high-quality itinerary. A lovely assignment which we loved injecting our energy and expertise into.
How do you go about organising an inspection trip like this?
In this first blog, I’d like to show you what preparations for an inspection trip look like. In the following blogs I will, of course, give you an insight into the fantastic cities of Singapore, Taipei, Shanghai, Tokyo and Seoul. The trip will take place in the spring of 2017, which I will of course cover in a blog.
Making preparations when organising an inspection trip
The preparations process involves questions such as:
- What is the purpose of the trip?
- Where does the relevance and parallel lie for the entrepreneur and their organization?
- What kind of transport and accommodation should we be looking for?
- How do you maintain a high level of energy?
- And, above all: how do you make the trip into an unforgettable experience?
Good preparation is half the battle.
This starts with a good briefing with the client, with the focus being:
- what does the client want to get out of this?
- Which retail and food chains in Asia would be relevant and worth a visit?
We don’t just look at their range, but also at:
- their furnishing/design
- routing in store
- location and traffic / public transport gateways
- positioning formula
- ratio of food to non-food
In short, we don’t simply run up and down a high street and look around, but conduct a thorough search for foreign chains and their crossover points with, the opportunities for and the threats to the Dutch market
Experts working with Experts
Because of our own background in retail, we contribute a lot to these briefings, but we also like to call on the help of experts. So, for this journey, we will be collaborating with Pim van den Berg (www.perspectives.nl). Pim van den Berg is a ‘streetologist’ and a citizen of the world, who brings a great deal of added value when it comes to opening up the eyes of entrepreneurs during the trip. In 2010, for example, we already saw that the Japanese retail chain Uniqlo would become a big player, despite being relatively unknown in Europe. In the meantime, everyone has heard of Uniqlo.
Transport, accommodation and energy of a group
Keeping energy levels of a group high is crucial for a successful trip. This is because the goal is to inspire and create an unforgettable experience.
Transport and accommodation are therefore of vital importance. Many agents use coaches, but we’ve been moving away from that approach for years. It’s no use travelling in such a slow and warm bus in the middle of a city: it’s much more fun to travel using public transport. It’s often fantastically efficient, and you can travel all day with just one ticket.
It also means that you’ll feel the atmosphere and ‘vibe’ of the city and the people immediately. You become perceptive, active and get to know the logistics of the city right away. In addition to all these benefits, there’s one more that people often forget: public transport is cheap, and no one minds that, do they?
Guiding the group is important, so we adapt the logistics to this. During the last step, we look for a comfortable, clean hotel with nice beds. The hotel has to be close to the central station or close to a busy metro station.
Finally, we choose a restaurant. Eating locally once is always a must, but eating a little more European one night isn’t so bad either. The restaurant always has to be at a walking distance from the hotel. It’s great to be able to sit down after a busy day in town, and decide whether to linger after dinner or go back to the hotel without having to wait for everyone!
An inspection trip: an unforgettable experience
If the preparations are well-made, the logistics sorted out, the hotel comfortable and the restaurant at walking distance from the hotel, then you’ll really be able to enjoy everything the city has to offer. It also gives you extra time to contemplate, not just the retail aspects, but also the cultural landmarks of the city. It’s always worth doing, because a city moves and lives around its unique characteristics. A visit to the 101 Tower in Taipei or the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo should therefore always be on the itinerary.
If the energy levels are high, it means the atmosphere becomes better and better, meaning that one becomes increasingly open to getting to know a new world and learn from it. The mix of impressions ends up leading to an unforgettable experience!
The preparations for this inspection trip so far .
In my following blog, I’ll be taking you along to bustling Singapore, the smallest country of South-East Asia, which consists of 63 islands and is home to 5.3 million inhabitants.