On the Road with Motivation Excellence: December 2021

Motivation Excellence

Things are changing quickly when it comes to travel. At Motivation Excellence, our goal is to keep our followers and clients informed on the latest protocols, trends, and tips. In our On the Road series, we’ll highlight our own travels for leisure and business, as well as report on current client trends in the incentive industry. Look for the latest On the Road post at the end of each month. If you ever have travel questions during this uncertain time please reach out to us at ME@MotivationExcellence.com

In December, we had a mix of international and US-based travel, by plane and by car. Read below for the highlights and takeaways from our travelers. 

Hotel Advisory Board Meeting in the Dominican Republic

Traveler: Joe Reise, Manager, Supplier Relations & Sourcing

I recently attended the Teneo Hospitality Group Leadership Forum as an advisory board member. The Forum was hosted at the luxurious Casa De Campo Resort in the tropical splendor of the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic is a Caribbean nation that shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti to the west. It’s known for its beaches, resorts, and golfing. Its terrain is comprised of rainforest, savannah, and highlands, including Pico Duarte, the Caribbean’s tallest mountain.  

The activities at the resort are world-class — 7 outstanding restaurants including the stunning new Minitas Beach Club, a marina, 3 Pete Dye golf courses, an equestrian center featuring polo, a shooting course, great shopping, and 3 private pristine white sand beaches. This was the perfect setting for our Leadership Forum and the resort showcased some of its unique outdoor venues with special ambience for hosting dinners and lunches.  

Key Takeaways:

  • Even though the Casa De Campo Resort opened almost 50 years ago, it’s still a favorite luxury destination for discerning travelers who appreciate a gated community and safe setting. 
  • The DR is the second largest and most diverse Caribbean country and it’s only two hours south of Miami making it a convenient destination for a good portion of the US.
  • Needless to say, the weather was much nicer than Chicago’s weather in December. 
  • Be sure to check out the latest travel protocols and requirements for airlines, cities and re-entry into the United States. This can change quickly.

End of Year Vacation on Turks & Caicos

Traveler: Rhonda Brewer, VP Sales

Turks and Caicos, like many destinations, is requiring proof of Covid vaccination and a negative PCR test prior to arrival. Also, depending on the airline you fly, you will need to submit this data along with a series of questions in order to board the flight. Be sure to follow these rules to save yourself a LOT of time at the airport either from your home city or upon departure from the Turks. 

Once on the island, we stayed at the new Ritz-Carlton located in Grace Bay. The hotel is absolutely gorgeous and the service will not disappoint. The beaches are white and expansive and the snorkeling on the nearby reef is stunning. We did have the opportunity to sail on Lady Grace, which is a brand new sailboat that leaves directly from the beach in front of the Ritz. It is a gorgeous boat with superb staff! We went for a snorkel sail, but you can also do a sunset cruise.  

Key Takeaways:

  • The arrival and departure from the island was incredible with the assistance of Sky Pass! This is a hired service that expedites you through the process and really helps make your arrival and departure stress free.
  • The island currency is USD and the language is English as well, so a great international getaway with easy communication and no currency exchange.

A Family Drive from Chicago to Detroit

Traveler: Sky Capriolo, Strategic Marketing Manager

Our son is a cheerleader for Western Michigan University and he was invited to take part in the Quick Lane Bowl game between WMU and University of Nevada. The game took place inside Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions. We can’t resist an opportunity to see our son do something he loves, so we drove to Detroit from Chicago the day after Christmas. 

Did you know Windsor, Canada is right across the river from Detroit and is actually SOUTH of the city? We thought that was pretty cool! We stayed at the Marriott Rennaissance right on the Detroit River. It’s huge and has several nice restaurants in the same building. All staff wore masks. 

The game was fun! WMU won 52 to 24. We stayed an extra night, but the sleety weather kept us inside. On our way out of town the next day we had to swing by the birthplace of Motown – Berry Gordy’s home. It’s closed currently, but a thrill to see it in person nonetheless. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Have a stash of disposable masks in the car. Each state, and city/county, has different mandates. 
  • Detroit’s sporting venues are within walking distance of many hotels near the Detroit River. 

Our Company Gathering

Our team felt fortunate to gather for a holiday lunch at Shaw’s Crab House near our corporate headquarters. The team at Shaw’s did a nice job spacing our group out among 4 tables and being attentive to our needs. We had plenty of space to feel like we could be socially distanced if desired and the staff all wore masks for our entire stay. 

We welcomed team members from Florida, South Carolina, Missouri, and New Jersey, who all flew in the day before and got a personal sitting with Santa at another nearby restaurant. As you can imagine, there was a lot of merriment!

We all wish our readers a Happy New Year and lots of time with loved ones over these special days. 

Coming Up Ahead (as of now):

  • A women’s leadership conference in Mexico
  • Client programs to Thailand and Palm Springs
  • An industry conference in the Bahamas

Buckle up and enjoy the ride with Motivation Excellence as your guide!

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