How did your clients react, when the Grand Prix was cancelled?
In 2010 we had two Panasonic groups of 30 people each in Bahrain. This year the company is contemplating a trip to the race in Abu Dhabi. We wanted to make sure that other clients who had booked the 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix didn’t experience any problems, so a week before the race was cancelled we told them it was a possibility. How would you square it with your conscience if something happened? They were reimbursed the cost of the tickets.
What about hotel bookings?
Because we offer the Bahrain Grand Prix as a package with a stay in Dubai and clients only fly to Bahrain for the day on Sunday, it was difficult to get the hotels to make a gesture of goodwill. They felt the situation in Bahrain had nothing to do with them. So we did get our fingers burned.
What will you do if the race is rescheduled?
If that happens, we’ll definitely offer it. However, there is very high demand for the race in Abu Dhabi on 13 November 2011, and clients are unlikely to book both races. Abu Dhabi has Ferrari World as well. The packages also include three concerts with well-known stars. On top of that, you don’t have to fly to the race on the day, and Abu Dhabi offers fantastic, reasonably priced hotels like the Emirates Palace.
How has the incentives market been developing in your view?
Business has certainly picked up again, and it’s not just from the automotive industry. Demand is particularly high for the German Grand Prix and the races in Barcelona and Monaco. We also give our clients the chance to drive F1 and F3 cars themselves before attending the Grand Prix. We are already booked up for Monaco. But there is not much demand for the Japanese Grand Prix at the moment.
What other new products do you have?
A package combining Formula One with sales training is a new addition to the portfolio. We’ve joined forces with top sales trainer Martin Limbeck for this. He will be training participants in Dubai or Abu Dhabi before they go off to the race.