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In this episode, we’re talking with Talia Tinao, owner of HD Premier - one of Hawaii’s top Destination Management Companies, and Sam Port, Senior Creative Director at Proscenium Events about making the most of incentive events. This conversation is so authentic, it will make you feel like you’re sitting on a beach in Hawaii. So hit the download button, screw your headphones on tight, and get ready to take notes.

Talia Tinao is the proud Owner and Co-Founder of HD Premier – Hawaii’s most trusted DMC. Talia is a born-and-raised “Maui girl” with 17 years of local destination management in the islands. She is a wife, mother, and sister, avid Audible listener, and casual karaoke singer. Talia’s greatest professional fulfillment is sharing her rich culture with Hawaii’s visitors and making magic happen on each program. Click here to learn more about Talia and HD Premier.

Sam Port brings his storytelling passion and theatrical point-of-view to every moment of the attendee experience, and believes that collaboration is the key to creating the most impactful events. Drawing from his years of stage performance (He was a Las Vegas singer!) and his background in theme park management with Walt Disney World and Busch Gardens, Sam understands the importance of creating immersive and memorable experiences that inspire action. He has directed numerous events and videos for clients including T-Mobile, SAP, JetBlue, Walmart, Harley-Davidson, Credit Karma, and TD Ameritrade.


Hosted and Written by Jeremy Dobrish

Produced by Bethany Potter

Theme Music by Mike Mancini

Logo design by Shraddha Maharjan

Special thanks to Dossie McCraw


By Jeremy Dobrish

Speaking with Talia Tinao, the Owner of Hawaii Destination Premier, is like feeling the warm ocean wind on the beach in Hawaii. And speaking with Sam Port, Senior Creative Director at Proscenium is like being zapped with a jolt of creativity. So…if you want to know what it feels like to get zapped with a jolt of creativity while sitting on a beach in Hawaii, listen to our latest podcast episode. But if you just want some highlights from the conversation, read on…

When you want to reward employees with incentive travel it’s important to be authentic and thoughtful. If you mispronounce words or don’t write things properly, for example, it can be often be considered disrespectful, to both the local culture - as well as the attendees. So, what can event producers do to help ensure they are authentic? Talia has a strong opinion:

"I think finding a partner DMC that does have a real tie to the destination is going to be paramount. Because the way I look at it, I feel a responsibility to be able to share our home in a way that you wouldn't get to see."

When you’re planning an incentive event, you’re not just taking your attendees to a destination. You want to show them something, and give them an experience, they couldn’t get any other way. You need someone who can make the inaccessible accessible. As Talia says:

"I think of it like when you have a friend in a cool city and you've never been there before, but you know someone that lives there, and you now get to go there and they show you the cool spots."

At a recent event for T-Mobile, Sam brought that level of authenticity when reimagining a winner trophy design:

"What we ended up doing is making these custom Monkeypod wood trophies that are sourced from the islands. Each one's hand-carved; etching throughout it that has their names on it. Each one is unique… you’re getting this piece that’s more than a souvenir, it's like a piece of the island."

Talia painted so many vivid pictures of what her culture and environment is like – turtles claiming their place on the beach, Hawaiians performing their ritualistic prayers and blessings. But the most incredible experience she shared was the time she welcomed 40 top executives to Moloka‘i, the birthplace of hula, and brought them up on the highest sea cliffs in the world - to a place where most people are generally not allowed to go. I can’t do it justice, but it sounded like an absolutely once in a lifetime opportunity.

Similarly, Sam told stories about directing an incentive event in San Juan shortly after hurricane Maria devastated the island. Regardless of all the logistical challenges faced during the planning period, the event proved to be one of the most impactful to date and made it clear how important it is work with people like Sam and his team who really know what they’re doing, and are able to pivot when necessary.

Talking with Sam and Talia was inspirational. Reading about our conversation is a bit like looking at a picture of a beach. If you want to get the full flavor, I would suggest listening to the full episode which you can find above.

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