The client chose New York as the destination and once the announcement had been made on the Venice trip the previous year, all the employees were determined to win their place on this year’s trip.
The guests were accommodated in the four-star Hyatt Centric Times Square Hotel, located just a minute’s walk from the hustle bustle of Times Square with superb rooftop cocktail bar on the 54th floor to admire the city views.
As well as a registration and information website, for the first time we also created an event app which was extremely well received. This included information about the hotel, itinerary, hosts, freetime suggestions with website links, interactive maps, attendee list and the ability to message colleagues through the app, a social wall for uploading photos and surveys for guests to complete therefore reducing the need for paper. We were also able to send push notifications to all the guests to communicate with them throughout the trip and advise of any last-minute changes to the itinerary.
Flights and transfers were arranged for all guests, who were welcomed at either JFK or Newark airport and transferred to the hotel and greeted with a drinks reception followed by light welcome dinner and a nearby restaurant. We themed the restaurant with American flags, banners, aprons and decorations.
Following a business meeting on the first morning, the guests put their walking shoes on for a city tour of New York. As a surprise, we had booked a trip to “The Top of the Rock” at the Rockefeller Centre and they could see the views for miles whilst being in the clouds. They also visited the Ground Zero memorial site, the financial district of Wall Street, a brief visit to Central Park and Winter Gardens for a coffee stop, all whilst being given interesting local information from the guides.
The tour finished with lunch at St John’s Pizza – voted one of New York’s oldest and best pizzeria’s. They then had the afternoon at leisure to explore the city as they wished and we provided a lot of information on the app to give them ideas.
That evening the guests enjoyed a dinner cruise around Manhattan Island and were able to watch the sun set and view all the New York skyscrapers by day and then by night, sailing under a beautifully lit Brooklyn bridge, under which one of our guests proposed to his girlfriend! The cruise then sailed very close to the Statue of Liberty, prompting a flurry of photographic opportunities.
On the Sunday morning an optional tour of Brooklyn was offered and most guests eagerly took part. They travelled on the subway to Brooklyn and then had a very informative tour of the area then walked over the bridge back to Manhattan.
We provided a cash contribution for lunch so guests could choose where to dine in the huge variety of options available and it was interesting to see on the social wall of the app the various places guests visited as they had the afternoon as free time also.
The Saturday night was the grand finale with the gala dinner taking place at the infamous Edison Ballroom. Guests were transported from the hotel in iconic yellow school buses and many commented they felt like movie stars in the grand venue which originally opened in the 1930’s and is the ultimate glamourous and sought-after New York venue. With delicious food, the guests danced the night away to the lively East Side Mix, a local and very popular band.
On the final day, Sunday morning there was an optional visit to Harlem to visit and be included in Gospel Church visits before being collected from the hotel for return flights home.
The feedback we received from both the client and their guests was that this was the trip of a lifetime that would remain in their hearts and memories forever. It ticked many boxes on bucket lists and all the guests are determined to work hard to earn their place on next year’s trip to Sorrento