If you try to imagine what the quintessential European incentive destination looks like, there's a good chance you'll conjure some version of the principality of Monaco. With its stunning setting on the French Riviera, glamorous properties and classic architecture, it's bound to inspire a sales team to push harder to reach its goals.
"For more than 150 years, Monaco has attracted and welcomed many of the most demanding travelers, including meeting and incentive participants," notes Cindy Hoddeson, director of North America for the Monaco Government Tourist and Convention Authority. But, she emphasizes, while this destination might have a legacy of luxury, it's also one that is evolving as much as the visitors who continue to arrive -- whether by plane, sports car, yacht or private helicopter.
The principality's attractions have been expanded upon and modernized, without losing the sense of history that has made it a beloved destination for decades.
Monaco's New Event Venues
One prominent example is the new One Monte-Carlo conference center, offering 15,553 square feet of event space, including a replica of the Salle des Arts, a famed art deco hall originally housed in the Sporting d'Hiver building, which was demolished in 2015. Together with the adjacent Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo and the Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo, this facility establishes a business-events hub right in the city center.
Speaking of the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo, in February the historic property, originally opened in 1864, completed a four-year, US$280 million renovation. Updates involved the demolition of two of four wings and the creation of a 7,200-square-foot inner garden, as well as the addition of balconies to all 207 guest rooms, almost half of which are suites. The crown jewels are the nearly 11,000-square-foot Princess Grace and Prince Rainier III suites.
To help promote all these offerings, the MGTCA has launched a new campaign called "Monaco Is for You," which "evokes the evolution of a destination whose values include excellence, experience, ethics, expertise, ensuring quality and a commitment to our heritage while innovating and addressing the demands and dreams of today's visitors," says Hoddeson. "Companies reward their top achievers by customizing their programs to create long-lasting dreams. Some of the themes include gastronomy, sports, sustainability, wellness, culture and team building."
The destination has particularly embraced sustainability with a recent "Business Is Green" campaign showcasing eco-friendly offerings. Monaco aims to be carbon neutral by 2050, and all of its hotels and the Grimaldi Forum convention center have been eco-certified. The city-state's destination management companies have recently rolled out sustainability-accented activities, such as Raising Stones Events' organic confectioner's workshops and the Welcome Travel Team's "Green Treasure" scavenger hunt on the Mediterranean. Hoddeson adds, "New ways to discover the destination, such as exploration via electric bike and learning about urban gardening" await visiting incentive groups.