* TRENDS Cash Is No Longer King, Says New Survey
According to a new study, the old saying, "Money isn't everything," couldn't be more on target.
The most recently completed portion of a major research effort conducted by the Incentive Federation and underwritten by the SITE Foundation found that nearly 75 percent of the 4,000 executives surveyed consider travel and merchandise to be more memorable than cash. More than half said that cash awards and bonuses are viewed by employees as part of their total remuneration package--not as incentives.
The survey also found that companies view travel and merchandise as the most cost-effective incentive awards. The average per-person cost of a travel award for sales personnel among those companies surveyed is $1,981; for nonsales personnel, that figure drops to $1,070.
For Memphis-based Conwood Co., the manufacturer of Levi Garrett and Kodiak brands of smokeless tobacco, merchandise programs are even less costly and just as effective. The company runs incentive programs periodically for its route salespeople. The rewards? Golf shirts, clocks, briefcases, and other merchandise, often emblazoned with the logo from a particular promotion. "We have found that our people view their cash bonuses and commissions as part of their pay, but also that they respond well to merchandise awards--no matter what the perceived value is," says Terry Williams, national sales manager. --Bill Gillette
* MEETINGS OF THE FUTURE The accelerating pace of change has profoundly altered the ways companies communicate with their people. That was the unanimous conclusion of a recent panel discussion in New York sponsored by the International Association of Conference Centers and moderated by Dave Arnold, senior partner, PKF Consulting.
Panelist Pat Coglianese, senior vice president of education for Chase Manhattan Bank, said he spends much of his effort on ad hoc meetings "to draw teams together to get up to speed very quickly. We bring people together in small and large groups, in virtual ways and in real ways, help them to address their goals, and then move on."
Steven Kerr, vice president of learning at General Electric Co., said that as employees become increasingly dispersed in many different locations, "the less possible it is to bring people together for meetings or training, and the company relies on electronic communication. We think increasingly of our conference center as a broadcast center."
The virtual communication theme was echoed by the third panelist, Bellamy Schmidt, vice president at JP Morgan. "We're in businesses now that we weren't in five years ago, and five years from now we'll be in businesses that we aren't in today," he said. "It means we have to communicate internally and with customers and clients, and it means delivering technical messages with new technologies."
All the panelists stressed that both virtual meetings and face-to-face meetings have their place. "At Chase, we have an internalized, formal process for managing learning," said Coglianese, "but we can't do just classroom programs any longer--we have too many people. So we analyze the situation to come up with the best approach for learning."
Play the Millennium Game For a growing number of companies, the use of game formats for meetings and training is anything but a trivial pursuit.
Roswell, Ga.-based QuizMaster Productions brings educational games to life with The Millennium Game, a live TV- style quiz show with a master of ceremonies and even a "studio audience."
Here's how it works: Teams of learners/trainees are formed before the show to familiarize themselves with the material to be presented. Then employees are chosen from the audience during the show to serve as contestants.
The Millennium Game can be customized for corporate meetings, trade shows, product introductions, or distributor/user conferences, says QuizMaster President Jim Seltzer. "Our corporate clients tell us what training or product-information message they want to get across, and we design the Q&A format around it."
For more information, log on to www.quizmaster.com.
* GLOBAL MEETINGS New Format for Beyond Borders Conference
The annual Beyond Borders Conference, which focuses on the information needs of individuals who organize events outside United States, will be held March 22 to 23, 2000 at the New York Hilton Hotel & Towers. A new format will allow participants to choose either beginner or advanced sessions. The conference will also feature a half-day workshop on international negotiations and.
New for 2000, the Beyond Borders Conference will flow directly into the International Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus' Destination Showcase, a half-daymanaged by Production Group International.
The registration fee is $295. Contact Anne Boehme for further information: (516) 561-4223; fax (516) 872-6397; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org . Or see the registration form on page 53/54.
The Beyond Borders Conference is sponsored by Adams Business Media, publisher of Corporate Meetings & Incentives.
Incentive Edge A Golfer's Fantasy Come True Talk about a trip the golfers in the group will never forget: A charter cruise on the grand QE2, docking just off the coast of Scotland, where, at the birthplace of golf, guests will attend the Millennium Open Golf Championship. Packages for this seven-day trip, to be held July 18 to 25, 2000, begin at $2,999 and include meals and, of course, daily admission to the QE2@ttmusa.com. For more information, contact Travel Trade Marketing (800) 732-6338 or
Cool Companies K2 You'd think commuting by ferry across picturesque Puget Sound to a job you love and don't have to dress up for would be enough to make any employee happy. And it is.
Most of the employees at K2 Corp., a leading designer and manufacturer of skis, snowboards, and inline skates, are there because they're enthusiasts. The ferryboat commute to rural Vashon Island is the icing on the cake, as are the bike trails, skate track, and "half-pipe" skate park the company provides.
As Rob Moynan, director of human resources, describes it, "This company has an active, individualistic, creative culture that's often been described as irreverent. We love what we do for work because it's what we do for play. This is not what you expect in corporate America."
Yet management at K2 Corp. doesn't let it go at that. Every year it hosts the K2 Associate Appreciation Ski and Snowboard Days at the nearby Crystal Mountain ski resort. The company buys ski-lift tickets, provides meals, and pays for lessons for all associates and their families.
"We also encourage our departments to take their people out to do things like out to dinner or to play video games," Moynan says. "You can't measure theand communication aspects of doing that--but they're significant."
* GOING, GOING, GONE
Online Meeting Auction a First
It was only a matter of time until business-to-business auctions made it to the meeting industry.
On October 20, EventSource.com held the first-ever Internet meeting auction, where meeting organizers became the "sellers," with blocks of room nights they needed to book, and hotels became the "buyers," the bidders interested in the business.
Here's how an event like this works: A meeting to be "auctioned off" must be fewer than 180 days out, involve only one city, and have a minimum of 50 rooms on its peak night. When the organizer gives the go-ahead, EventSource distributes the specs to properties whose location, facilities, and general rate structure meet the request--in other words, it creates a request-for-proposal for the business.
Built into the preliminary process is a 10- to 14-day period between the initial invitation to hotels and the auction date to allow the organizer time to make site visits. The planner can choose the low bidder or select the winning hotel based on factors other than price alone.
When pre-auction steps are complete, EventSource assigns the participating hotels a paddle number, just as the auction houses do--but the hotels don't know whose paddles belongs to whom. Even after the auction ends, the room rates bid by each hotel remain confidential. The action unfolds in an online chat room, which is accessed by passwords and identifications EventSource assigns.
Pam Taylor, who plans meetings and training for Colorspot Nursery in Pleasant Hills, Calif., was one participant in a trial auction the company held before the October event. An EventSource client unfamiliar with the online auction concept, she decided to jump in with a training meeting she was planning in California. She says she'll do it again.
"It was a little hectic," Taylor says, "but the [EventSource] staff was very helpful. The whole thing was done in
15 minutes, and I didn't have to get in contact with all the different hotels."
At press time, there was already word of another player in the online auction game: StarCite.com, a spinoff company of Philadelphia-based McGettigan Partners. More to come, we're sure.
-- Anna Chinappi
* INTERNAL MEETINGS
What Makes the Perfect Meeting Room? A new online survey done by the 3M Meeting Network Web site asked visitors what qualities they prefer in a meeting room. Here are the top six:
* 1. Comfortable furniture that can be easily reconfigured
* 2. Windows that provide natural light and an attractive view
* 3. State-of-the-art audio/video equipment with readily available connections
* 4. Temperature controls, and lighting controls with dimmers
* 5. High-speed data and/or LAN connections
* 6. A quiet room, free from anydistractions.
Also ranking high on the list were lots of space on the walls for dry-erase writing and hanging flip charts, a well-stocked refrigerator, convenient power outlets, and remote conferencing technologies.
For more information, visit the 3M Meeting Network site at www.3m. com/meetingnetwork.
* CORRECTION The Four Seasons-owned Regent of Sydney reopened this year after a $40 million renovation, not a $5 million renovation, as stated in the Australia SiteFile on page 242 of September CMI.
KSL Launches Incentive Advisory Board
The inaugural meeting of the KSL Incentive Advisory Board brought together a group of incentive house representatives with executives from the KSL Resorts Group for a three-day exchange of ideas. The program was held in October at the Grand Wailea Resort in Maui, on the heels of KSL's Second Annual Insurance Advisory Board Meeting. "The insurance and incentive markets are major components of our success," says Jean Schulte, director of incentive sales for KSL. The goal for the incentive board meeting, she explains, was "to bring them all in, reintroduce the Grand Wailea, ask for their input, and gain their buy-in and partnership." KSL owns and operates six golf resorts: La Quinta (Calif.) Resort & Club, Doral Golf Resort (Miami), Lake Lanier Islands (Ga.) Resort, Grand Traverse Resort (Acme, Mich.), Claremont Resort (Berkeley, Calif.), and Maui's Grand Wailea.