We were tasked with planning an incentive trip to Ischia, Italy, the inaugural trip of a newly launched agency incentive scheme. The trip was to work as not only a please but also a thank you to 35 top-spending agents who had worked with the company to support their growth and success. No strangers to events, our delegates were event agencies, production agencies, venue bookers and venue finders from across the UK, adding to the challenge to create an incredible trip.
Our team organised everything pre, during and post event, including flights, activities, beautifully designed menus, transfers on the island, entertainment and live performances, little gifts and memorabilia for guests, and much more.
The event took place from Friday 8th – Sunday 10th June 2018, the perfect amount of time to soak up the sun, eat and drink like kings and queens, and create a weekend of magical memories for our delegates.
After organising 35 agents and 10 hosts onto a 6am flight, we ensured they arrived in time, and in style, for lunch at the beautiful Giardino d’Eden restaurant. After touching down in Naples, we whisked delegates over to a private harbour to board three speed boats named after the drinks served on each: Aperol Spritz, Peach Bellini and Prosecco Royale. As they cruised over to their lunch spot, they sipped on cocktails and enjoyed just a sample of the beautiful views they were to see throughout the weekend.
After visiting the restaurant earlier in the year in preparation for this event, we knew that Giardino d’Eden was the perfect place to set the precedent for the remainder of the trip: tasty, traditional food with the perfect drinks to match, enjoyed amidst a stunning setting and a relaxed atmosphere. We organised for delegates to be welcomed with a glass of prosecco before enjoying traditional breads, salads and barbequed mussels to start and a beautiful Gerardo di Nola spaghetti for their main. Delicious fruit platters were then served, rounding off a perfect meal as attendees relaxed on the jetty or took a refreshing dip in the sea.
After a long lunch, we lead the agents back to the hotel where they could prepare themselves for the evening ahead. We made sure they were greeted at the hotel with a warm welcome and a chilled glass of bubbly, followed by a few gifts in their rooms including one of Angela Hartnett’s books, Angela’s Kitchen. This was all relevant, of course, because Michelin-starred chef Angela was set to be their personal chef the next evening.
After freshening up, delegates arrived at San Montano to a drinks reception on the upper terrace, where a guitarist playing soothing music awaited them, before they made their way through to the tranquil lower terrace via the picturesque lemon tree gardens.
Our clients then took their seats at 10 intimate tables of four, with crisp white tablecloths dressed with fresh lemon table centres and personal, individually named pizza cutters; here at Smart Live, we know how important the little details are. Following a delicious starter, we invited delegates up to an impressive outdoor pizza oven, where they could select their own toppings and watch the chefs create their pizzas from scratch. A jazz trio provided tranquil entertainment throughout the meal, which was rounded off with a selection of homemade Neapolitan patisseries and a shot of limoncello (the tradition for every meal). DJ Benny Blanco, who we brought out with us on the trip, then took to the decks as everyone enjoyed cocktails and had a little boogie surrounded by the stunning sights of Ischia at night…
The next morning was naturally a slow and relaxed start with a traditional breakfast at the hotel. We then organised everyone onto the boats again, where they stopped at a secluded location to take a leisurely dip in the sea, before heading to their lunch spot for the day: Costa del Capitano. Here, guests lounged on the sunny terrace with welcome drinks and enjoyed potentially the best view of the trip; beautiful glistening sea and clear blue skies. Everyone then took their seats for yet another long and leisurely lunch featuring fresh grilled swordfish and crisp delicious white wine.
We then lead everyone back to the hotel for some down-time and to glam up ready for the gala dinner that evening, hosted by Angela Hartnett herself. We exclusively hired out Monte Corvo, a family-run restaurant and hidden gem perfect for our gala dinner. The agents arrived to a warm welcome from the company’s CEO, whilst a talented pianist played in the background and delicious canapés and drinks were circulated.
Whilst Angela and the Monte Corvo family were cooking up a storm in the kitchen, guests eagerly took their seats at a long, stunningly dressed table. In place of name cards we created gold sprayed stones with hand-drawn names, and designed luxury, dark purple menus with intricate gold foiling. Then began the exquisite five-course meal, introduced to our excited delegates by Angela herself, with a true highlight for many being the rabbit pappardelle, cooked to perfection.
Whilst food was no doubt the main event for this night and indeed the whole trip, the local Ischian wine was beautiful and the setting was perfect. As everyone finished their desserts, Benny Blanco took to the decks and lured everyone inside to round off a perfect evening with cocktails and dancing. By the end of the evening, every single person in the restaurant was dancing, including the Monte Corvo family, the waiters, and even Angela Hartnett herself.
On the third morning, we had Bloody Mary’s ready to be enjoyed by those delegates looking to nurse their sore heads, as well as a long delicious brunch of everything you could possibly imagine. After two days of cruising around on yachts and eating and drinking their way through the very best of the island, we could see how truly relaxed our delegates were.
The stunning and untouched location of Ischia felt a fitting place to kick off the programme and successfully blew every attendee away, as the testimonials confirm:
“This was another event triumph with quite possibly the hardest audience ever! From the word go it was impressive, the communication and the little touches. The brochure, the luggage tags, the gorgeous menus and name cards and all the details such as the pizza cutters and the recipe book were so well thought through.”
“Everything was so seamless and nobody from your team stopped smiling at any point – to me it seems a miracle.”
“How did you manage to pack so much in? Great venue, great food, great wine and great company. No stone was left unturned.”