Incentives programs have long been proven as a way of inspiring extra impetus and motivation from your customers and staff. Travel incentives, in particular, have always been associated with thanking customers or staff for a lift in performance over a period of time. In the past, these programs were often issued without clear structure and targets as a way to drive retention or as an appreciation for loyalty.
However, the introduction of fringe benefits tax tightened the use of travel and other benefits and as a result, today’s growth programs are highly transparent and measurable tools that are modelled to offer a clear dollar return per customer. The programs are designed to achieve defined targets and achievement is tightly monitored. If the target is not achieved then the reward is not granted – though there are a number of sophisticated tools and triggers that can be implemented to ensure that the desired behavioural change is accomplished.
Ultimately, all incentive programs today should offer sound financial and strategic benefits. However, with over 100 successful programs executed, we’ve seen that as well as the financial benefit, growth programs really do deliver another significant payback; establishing strong customer relationships that are protected your competitors. The second payback revolves around the travel component of the program – building from the airport welcome to the first cocktail as the customers are immersed in their once in a lifetime experience. Being there and undertaking these special experiences with your customers develops an emotional connection and sense of comradery that is strengthened day-by-day.
Waves of excitement, exhilaration, gratitude and appreciation develop as your delegates experience new activities, cultures or levels of luxury. This is all delivered through money can’t buy experiences that only the power of a group can economically deliver.
Our experience suggests that it’s not the luxurious hotels that deliver the emotional connection but the small touches that make the difference and show your delegates that you’ve gone the extra mile for them. Whether it’s having your delegates met by a trumpeting fanfare at a Viennese palace, or providing them with a high-end campsite at a Northern Territory outback waterhole, full of designer lounges and décor – producing unique experiences generates the lasting impact.
If you ever get the chance to work with the Vienna Boys Choir, do it! During one of our programs, the choir received five standing ovations in 30 minutes – creating shared memories and a lasting highlight that’s impossible for your competitors to overcome.
Imagine hiring your own town and its people for a night, so that your achievers get to experience a whole new way of life? This tremendous hospitality experience creates emotions and memories that will remain long after the ROI is banked.
Providing these unique, memorable experiences shows your commitment to excellence for your achievers and your appreciation for their involvement with the incentive program. Overall, a well-designed travel incentive allows like-minded guests to develop new friendships.
It also allows achieving couples to spend time away together without the hassle or pressure of having to research and book a trip that covers all the highlights in bucket list destinations. At the end of the day, a well-structured travel incentive gives you two paybacks on your investment, a high ROI and an emotional connection with your customers.
When the program is developed across multiple years, this payback is increased exponentially and it delivers a sustainable competitive advantage for your business. Think about what year-on-year-on-year double-digit growth could mean for your business.
Emotions and memories created from prior successful events are the key drivers of these outcomes. These strong emotions remain long after a program and we consistently see businesses grow by 30% to 80% in mature markets.
Following our most recent inventive program, one of the executives spoke highly about the connection they had formed with their customers. “Just a note to say thank you so much for an amazing experience on the South Africa trip. Feedback from our customers has been sensational and some real business partnerships have been strengthened on the back of it which will certainly assist with the next programme. Onwards to Vietnam and Croatia,” they penned.
Another executive attendee echoed their thoughts, commenting: “Thank you to you and your team on the execution of Roar Rhythm. The program was again an outstanding result and provides great leverage with our distributor partners.”
Remember, you should always structure and develop your incentive travel program on the basis of a sound ROI. But don’t forget that a well-structured and experiential travel program will always give you double the bang for your buck!
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