Imagine it. You snap on a harness, grip the steering wheel of a 600-horsepower, Indy-style race car and watch for the checkered
flag. Faster than a heartbeat, you're off for 14 thrilling laps at 180 mph on the Las Vegas Superspeedway.
All in a day's work? Hardly. Yet, the inspiration to negotiate that next sales contract might come from the experience of
having successfully negotiated the Las Vegas Superspeedway. In today's incentive travel industry, bringing peak performance
back to the office may have more to do with literally climbing peaks than negotiating around yet another conference room table.
"We are known as the world's fastest driving experience," says Kevin Oelschlager, corporate sales manager, Mario Andretti
Racing School, which is located just 15 miles from the Las Vegas strip and offers Indy-style cars, authentic racing uniforms,
awards, full instruction, and pit crews. Oelschlager recently hosted an event for the top 25 national sales performers from
a Midwest pharmaceutical company.
"The client told us they needed something exciting to drive sales and motivate their team to high levels so they brought them
the highest-level driving experience," he explains, adding that the top performers also excelled on the track because they
are "Type A" personalities and always up for a new challenge. The speedway enabled participants to enjoy a remote desert locale,
contrasted against their first-class hotel experience on the bustling Las Vegas Strip.
A trip on horseback in the Paradise Valley outside of Pray, Montana may be the answer for those incentive winners looking
for a more serene, back-to-nature travel experience.
Wilkinson has created another adventure—a rocket launching expedition on the USS Hornet on the high seas of the San Francisco
Bay. It combines adventure with teamwork and problem solving, and is custom designed to meet a corporation's individualized
needs and goals.
After your group splits into teams representing such intelligence agencies as the CIA or KGB, your entire "G-Men" squadron
gathers for a multimedia mission briefing in a warroom located below the hangar level. It is only then that your group will
learn the true nature of their covert objectives. The teams have two to four hours to complete the exercise. The mission concludes
with your team constructing and launching five-foot long missiles at a covert underwater NASA facility. There are many different
missions to choose from, and each one can be customized for your group based on demographic profiles or to meet specific goals.
Best of all, Wilkinson and his crew take care of the clean-up.
For those interested in more sedate and scenic adventures, Dan Austin, director of Austin-Lehman Adventures, Billings, Montana,
has lead many a pharma executive through a Costa Rican adventure tour, immersing them in a world of smoldering volcanoes,
winding rivers, and majestic rainforests. Such groups have biked within the shadows of the Arenal volcano, soaked in a hot
spring, discovered wild monkeys on a cruise down the Rio San Juan, kayaked the canals of Tortuguero, and rafted the Pacuare
River. Austin-Lehman also offers trips to Belize to visit lush rainforests and magnificent ruins.
Led by native guides, groups paddle the Mopan River, explore the mysteries of Xunantunich, Tikal, and Caracol Maya sites,
blaze jungle trails on horseback, and gaze upon the artifacts of Barton Creek Cave.
Austin's business continues to grow with sales incentive trips. For a group of 11 top sales reps and executives from a Midwest
pharmaceutical company, Austin-Lehman chose Vancouver Island for combined pampering and outdoor adventure, amidst a spectacular
Pacific Northwestern locale, popular in the incentive travel market.