Taking risks, devising detailed programmes that focus on individual
needs and culture, and thinking on the spot during site inspections are
just some of the elements that can turn a good incentive into a great
Such advice was shared by DMCs during a recent SITE webinar, entitled
“What award-winning incentive programmes are doing differently”.
Understand the client’s culture and individual needs.
Rhonda Brewer, vice president of sales at Motivation Excellence advised
engaging with both your customers and partners from the very beginning.
“It is all about teamwork and collaboration, you've got to be able to
unite together because what might work for one client will not work for
another, so it’s really [important to] understand the culture of that
client,” she said. Assess what attendees really want and break this down
from the total group to tailor this on an individual basis, diving down
into as much detail as possible.
Be bold and take risks. Planners and DMCs all have
their favourite destinations and their top five choices, while there are
also clients who are very willing to push the envelope, so do not shy
away from taking a risk and doing something completely different. As
Brewer outlined, an incentive programme goes from good to great with
surprises, tactics and experiences that lead to memories of a lifetime.
"It can’t just be something straight off the shelf,” she said. “There’s
got to be multiple elements throughout the programme that leave
(clients) awestruck, and which are incorporated on a continuous basis.”
Understand the power of site inspections. Rajeev
Kohli, joint managing director at Creative Travel said it was much
easier to grasp incentive ideas when one is there in-person, and walking
through the process. The site inspection needs to show what planners
have sold but it is also an opportunity to showcase creativity, to come
up with something new. Kohli said a DMC that lost a major group to a
competitor because the person who carried out the site inspection ‘was
very junior and very disinterested’. They lost an opportunity to shine.
Being creative with lower budgets. With budget cuts
still on the agenda, incentive planners say they are being forced to
think outside the box and to shy away from the more tried and tested
options, as these may fall outside current budgets. “This is when you
need to start talking to your supplier and ask them to meet you in the
middle, to do something different or even to work with someone else,”
said Kev Shannon, director of sales and marketing at Ireland-based
Having great partners. “Our programmes are nothing
without our partners and our products,” added Shannon. “These
relationships are so crucial to differentiating Odyssey from other DMCs -
not just in Ireland but also in other destinations across the world.”