Charles P. Rogers, director of sales promotion of American United Life Insurance Company in Indianapolis, has brought incentive groups to Scottsdale three times in the past two years. Working with a destination management company, he has found some unusual ways to reward his qualifiers. After visiting the Champlin Fighter Aircraft Museum, he thought others would enjoy seeing the array of WWI, WWII, Korean, and Vietnam War military planes. So he held a special dinner at the museum for his group of about 100 people, and gave the top producer the honor of landing in a P51 Mustang. On another evening, a catered dinner to honor some of the company's top producers was held in a private mountainside home in Phoenix. Rogers says that everyone enjoyed a spectacular view of the city lights twinkling below. He also made use of Arizona's unique natural environment by arranging for a float trip down the Verde River.
* Pat Williams, meeting and incentive planner for Sysco Foods in Kansas City, also touts Arizona for incentive trips. One reason she's been back four times is convenience: There are non-stop flights between Kansas City and Phoenix. Williams also appreciates the facilities at the Pointe Hilton at Tapatio Cliffs and plans all her events on-site. Her groups, numbering between 50 and 70 qualifiers, enjoy Arizona's Wild West ambience, so she always plans Western theme parties. She also says that participants like the idea of outdoor barbecues in January.
* Caterpillar Paving Products of Minneapolis is another company that returns to Arizona repeatedly. "We've been bringing large groups to Tucson for the past ten years," says Terry Sharp, manager of marketing communications, who plans dealer-customer programs. "We like Tucson because we can fly in easily," Sharp says. "Our dealers react favorably because many of them are golf lovers and the Tucson area has great golf courses. If they don't golf we take them horseback riding. They can put on a hat and be a cowboy for a day." His participants also enjoy dining at some of Tucson's great Southwest restaurants and shopping at the Mexican border town of Nogales. Sharp has used many different properties in the area, most recently the Westward Look Resort.