From its people to its geography, Argentina’s culture is the best indicator of how varied this country really is. It’s home to hot, sensual tango dancing and cool, cultural experiences.
We sat down with Lauren Ostrin, senior program manager for Impact Incentives, to get an inside look at a few educational and entertaining options for groups visiting the area. Ostrin’s group visited in April with ATP DMC.
Prevue: What was the purpose of the program in Argentina?
Lauren Ostrin: We took around 80 people down there as a sales incentive program for a telecommunications company. It’s a global company but more than half of the group was from the U.S.
How did you start off the event?
We flew into Buenos Aires. The first day we arranged transportation from the airport to the Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires, which is 45 minutes from the airport, and did a welcome lunch at the hotel property. Each night we usually do a room drop and that night we had a leather maker in our hospitality suite where the guests could pick which leather belt they wanted from an assortment of about 50.
After that we let them rest and from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. we did a Recoleta orientation walking tour, which is really helpful for the group to get an understanding of where they were.
That night we were back at the hotel where we did an abbreviated tango show, just because I personally felt that the tango shows I’ve been to are nice but they’re too long and the food is only mediocre and I didn’t want that quality for our group so we brought the show to the hotel. We did a reception and buffet, which, of course, was amazing. We did it at the mansion of the Four Seasons.
What’s the mansion?
It’s part of the hotel but it’s an old mansion that they use for functions.
Nice! Tell us more about some of the group experiences the following days.
The next day we had breakfast at leisure in the hotel restaurant and then we did a half-day tour of Buenos Aires which included the landmarks, the house where Evita stood on the balcony, La Boca and the surrounding area. Then we did a group lunch at an Argentinean steakhouse. We had the afternoon at leisure and then we took them to Palermo Soho and did cocktails at one restaurant and a group dinner at another restaurant.
The day after that we offered a choice of activity: Either the Tigre River with lunch at Gato Blanco, which is this great restaurant on the river that gives you the sense of life on the Tigre, or the choice to go to La Estancia. Those who went to La Estancia loved it. They loved seeing the gauchos and the barbecue, and those who went to the Tigre loved it as well. They got a chance to see different parts of Buenos Aires.
What was the coolest part of visiting those two places?
With the group that went to the Tigre they loved being on the water. Some of the houses along the river are absolutely beautiful, as well. The food and service at El Gato Blanco was amazing and the scenery of it all was beautiful.
At La Estancia it was the polo match, the gauchos and the food that was being barbecued. There were also lots of things you could do like horseback ride or lay out at the pool.
Wow, sounds amazing! What’d you treat the group to that night?
That evening we actually stayed close to the hotel and used the restaurant right across from the Four Seasons, only because we had a special speaker come in. His name is Fernando Parrado, who is one of the survivors from the movie Alive.We flew him in and he was our guest speaker.
After dinner we took the group down to Palermo Soho because they liked it so much and we bought out this lounge spur of the moment, and had drinks there because that is where most of the lounges and nightclubs are.
That’s a lot of excitement in one day. How’d the rest of the trip pan out?
The next day we gave them a complete day of leisure to walk around the city and explore Buenos Aires. That night we took them to Puerto Madero, which is on the water, and went to Cabana Las Lilas steakhouse. It is great for groups and has amazing food. Just the whole complex of Puerto Madero is really nice.
We like to do a lot of community service so we did a project with this school that houses children whose parents can’t afford to keep them during the week. We did this paint-by-number mural for the younger girls.
That evening we had our gala award at the military palace, which has a beautiful room with this rotunda and beautiful ceiling and that evening we had an Evita performance, followed by an incredible DJ. The party was supposed to end at 11 p.m. and it was still going on around 1 a.m., and that was like a 15-minute transfer from the hotel to the site.
What was the group’s feedback during the CSR event?
They loved it. It was an easy event and the whole idea was that you’re part of the big picture. We took each mural and put it together. We got the kids involved and they really liked that. We had a few guests who were fluent in Spanish so we were able to communicate with the kids and even if you weren’t, these were great girls that just wanted to get their picture taken or be with other people outside the school.
What was your favorite part of the trip?
I love the whole country. I’ve been doing this for a long time so I love always seeing something new and beautiful. I loved the Evita performance and doing things like being able to have our own tango show at the hotel. The community service projects that we do are always nice, too.
I think it’s a great country and the value that you get for your dollar right now is amazing.You can go out right now for an amazing steak dinner with wine for $60 for two people! From an incentive program, we came home and we were ready to propose it to some of our other clients so I do think it’s a great incentive destination.