by Lisa A. Grimaldi | June 01, 2012

Amway -- the 53-year-old health, beauty and household-goods giant headquartered in Grand Rapids, Mich. -- doesn't sell its vast line of products in stores or malls. Instead, it relies on a far-flung network of independent business owners to sell its wares directly to the public. Direct-sales firms like Amway recognize that these individuals truly dictate the company's success, and motivating and rewarding them is key to the corporate culture.

Amway dinner at Ellis IslandThe annual incentive program for Amway's top independent distributors from Europe, Russia and Southern Africa is the European Diamond Conference, which this year took place April 19-24 in New York City. Every aspect of the program, from the destination to the hotel (the Waldorf Astoria) to the events (a private dinner on Ellis Island) and gifts (iPads, Tiffany crystal), was designed to impress and spur these nearly 300 elite business owners -- who hailed from 16 countries -- to even greater achievement.

"The composition of this group is 80 percent repeat qualifiers," says Bob Postins, CMM, Amway's head of events for Europe. "My goal for each new incentive is to present the best that the destination can offer in a way that is different, customized, motivating and unrepeatable on a personal level."  

Following are details on how Postins' team and local partner, AlliedPRA New York, created an unforgettable Big Apple adventure for Amway's Diamond sales associates.

Posh accommodations The historic Waldorf Astoria was tapped as headquarters for the event, selected primarily for its prestigious international reputation. Another plus: The property was able to accommodate the group for six days and had enough variety in its room inventory to house the 11 levels of Diamond qualifiers, as well as the 40 top Emerald, or second-tier, participants who joined the conference for three days.

Chalk art at the Waldorf AstoriaIn recognition of the winners, the Amway flag was prominently displayed over the hotel's Lexington Avenue entrance, and on the day of arrival, chalk artists drew colorful welcome signs on the sidewalk fronting the property.