Tilsley has a background in hotels and incentive conference management, starting with Sheraton Hotels working up towards conference and incentive sales before breaking away to work for an incentive client for a number of years before returning to the sales side of things with Tourism Marketing Solutions where she conducted marketing and training programmes for 10 years.
Both Herd and Tilsley have extensive global experience, having organised group trips to Morocco, Portugal, India, Egypt & Jordan, South Africa, the Pacific Islands, Vietnam, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Australia, Croatia and Mexico to name a few.
They have the domestic market covered too, having run an event in almostevery region within New Zealand as well as extensive knowledge and trusted industry contacts.
‘We’ve done gala dinners in palaces of Morocco and elephant polo in India, African safaris to rugby matches in Argentina,’ says Herd.
‘I think some of the highlights for me were having the Pyramids of Giza especially lit for a group; and having the full royal procession with the Maharaja in India coming to meet the group in a palace – there’s been some incredible nights.’
Venture Travel and Events offers a one-stop-shop for groups, with agency experience, ticket issuing, sales datareporting, database management, and travel knowledge for extensions all included.
‘We’re small, so from the start to when you get home you’ve got one of us – you’re not dealing with someone for the land, someone for the air, someone for the onsite – you’re getting that one-stop-shop for want of a better word,’ says Herd.
Tilsley says incentive and conference groups is where the passion is.
‘We had one client who has benefitted from increased sales and customer loyalty due to the creative trip experiences enjoyed by their customers. This client has gone from booking the typical ‘boys booze trip’ to a fully managed incentive programme with sales targets set and monthly reports being sent.
‘We become part of their team. Delegates get to know us well before they travel because we’re dealing with their sales figures, so we actually build up a rapport so when we come to deliver the programme it’s like greeting old friends.’
‘We believe we can truly make a difference within a company through our programmes.’