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Creativity is The First Step Toward Solution
Potentials Magazine, August 2001, Trend Spotting

"We can spend $2,000 to $3,000 and give our employees a perceived value of a $6,000 trip" – Charlie Hollis, President, Mirax Corp.

Been There, done that…
If you’re responsible for enticing inspiring and ultimately motivating high-ranking execs royally bored with the royal treatment, yours is not an enviable job. What’s going to expand the horizon or boost the adrenaline of a corporate leader who’s already up to his ascot in worldly possessions?

The challenge, alludes Gregory Lee Patrick, is not what you do, but how you do it. And he should know. With a repeat client list that includes CEOs for Enron Corporation, Baker Hughes, AT&T Wireless and Hitachi, pampering the pre-pampered elite is his forte. Patrick is self-proclaimed "Experience Designer" who, along with his staff, has spent the last decade creating Tours of Enchantment travel experiences. These dream destinations pull out all the 24-karat stops: How about starting with a personal concierge to help your recipients pack, pick up cleaning or drop off the family pet at a pet hotel?

Then it’s off for a luxuriating week’s stay at the home of the Duke of Devonshire, or perhaps Jane Seymour’s British castle or the Paul Mitchell’s Hawaiian estate. On one designated evening along a majestic lakeside, a plane might fly overhead, dispensing hundreds of rose petals while a boat eases up along shore. A quintet is aboard, including Pavarotti’s maestro cellist, to serenade the private audience with Tchaikovsky’s "Waltz of the Flowers."

Of course a private jet comes with the package, ready and waiting to whisk the guests off to a championship golf course for an afternoon. Plus, the package comes complete with an international celebrity chef so participants never have to leave their lavish premises.

Patrick personally creates those "silver platter experiences" with faith in the concept that unique, individualized incentives hold the key to combating apathy or insuring a lasting impression. "It’s like offering a Rolls Royce instead of a Cadillac. We part the seas for clients, anticipating every need and whim."

"I’ve used [Tours of Enchantment] for seven years for our customer event," says Jim Ducote, vice president for Natural Gas Marketing for Enron. "Each year it’s a step above- better than the year before. Annually I get notes from customers wondering how we can ever expect to top the event…and we do."

Patrick has formed a global network of impressive contacts, allowing him access to the private estates of royalty, politicians and celebrities. The experiences often include world-renowned chefs, butlers, chauffeurs, nannies, security and concierges. His trips have been featured on The Travel Channel and "Extra," as well as in
The Wall Street Journal.

Must one put a price tag on the gift of experience? Yes, one must. Retainers have ranged from $5,000 to $97,000. The company cites a starting price of $2,000 per person for 60 for a weeklong trip. "Even if people have $3,000 to $10,000 to spend a week on a trip like ours, they wouldn’t know how to go about arranging it. That’s where we come in."

"It’s not necessarily about cost," notes Patrick, "but creativity and connections." Sounds like Tours of Enchantment has plenty of both to go around. Contact: Tours of Enchantment ( Houston, TX ; 1-800 - WHY-DREAM? (800-949-3732).

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