Five weeks, five cities across China, 600 participants each. That was the scope of the road show created by concrete machinery company FOTON LOXA to showcase its products across this vast country.
The logistical challenges were huge: Venues had to meet a number of weather, logistical, and cost requirements, as well as have the load-bearing capacity of 55 tons per unit to handle the huge machinery. There were live broadcasts of machinery competitions, elaborate laser shows, and drawings to encourage customers to purchase.
The result was a thousand signed purchase contracts worth $230 million, in addition to attention in the mainstream media.
This May 2012 trip to Sun City, South Africa, combined individualized experiences for 800 guests with celebratory events for the entire group. A highlight was a game drive in Pilanesberg National Park with more than 50 four-wheelers followed by a surprise dinner in the bush. Logistical challenges included putting together an emergency and evacuation plan and ensuring participants’ safety. The client is a believer in incentive trips; since it began organizing them 25 years ago, employee turnover has decreased from 10 to 2.3 percent.
For an insurance industry client with a seasoned group of qualifiers and guests, ITB dmc went so far as to ask the walled town of Laguardia, Spain, to recreate its City Festival—a seven-day event held each June to honor the village’s patron saints—as a half-day event in May, exclusively for the winners. Many members of the Laguadia community got involved: The Association of Women of Laguardia spent months sewing flags and banners; 12 folkloric groups performed; the mayor presented the keys to the city to the insurance company’s CEO; and the children were excused from school to join in.
The incentive house, Genius GmbH, reported that the trip was the highest-scoring in the 30 years that the client has been doing incentives, and the bottom-line results were a 30 percent increase in sales versus the previous year.
For an incentive trip for one of Spain’s leading insurance companies, incentive firm Viajes Bilbao Express and destination management company Creative Travel Pvt. Ltd., designed a program on a scale never seen before in these Indian cities. In fact, they actually brought in a team of tailors—a five-hour trip from Jaipur to Delhi—to create traditional Indian outfits for the gala dinner.
The gala itself, at 334 guests, was the largest sit-down dinner ever hosted in Jaipur. The hotel trained students from regional hospitality schools for two days to work as servers that evening. Other experiences included a rickshaw ride through Old Delhi, dancing in a wedding procession down the streets of Jaipur, and an impromptu celebration with one of India’s top cricket teams.
The Volvo President’s Club recognizes Volvo of America’s top performing retailers. In 2012, the 25 winners represented eight percent of the dealer network but generated 16 percent of Volvo’s sales in the United States. Even more impressive, the average 2012 President’s Club winner was 30 percent more effective than the average retailer nationwide.
An important goal of the 2012 trip, which was held in Napa Valley, Calif., was to deepen the relationships between these dealers and the company. One way they did this was by setting up one of the lodges at Calistoga Ranch for hospitality, so that every evening after dinner, guests could relax comfortably by the firepit, enjoy smores or share a cigar, see the latest pictures from the day’s events, and mingle with the hosts. One evening, each of the Volvo execs chose their favorite wines and gave each couple they hosted a bottle to take with them to the dinearound. Another afternoon, guests were given the choice of a group trip to a boutique winery, or they could take a vintage car to the winery of their choice—a huge hit with these automobile aficionados.
Fourth Wall and BI created a once-in-a-lifetime experience for 300 customer service representatives at the Wynn Las Vegas. Influenced by the return of the 1960s to U.S. pop culture, a “Vintage Vegas” event transformed a ballroom into a supper club from the heyday of Las Vegas. BI created a mobile app for the program, and winners posed for professional photos that they could share with their colleagues back in the office to motivate them to qualify for the next trip.
When surveyed about the program, attendees gave the “Vintage Vegas” evening, as well as the overall program, a satisfaction rating of 4.8 out of 5, the highest rating ever received.
When Santander Bank wanted to improved organizational knowledge and strengthen relationships with U.S. top performers who had recently joined the company through an acquisition, it selected Madrid as the place to do it. The trip’s gala event not only reflected the bank’s brand but also celebrated the Spanish culture.
The greatest test of collaboration between Dittman Incentive Marketing and its Spanish partner, Nuevo Factor, came when the scope of the event was increased to encompass additional branding elements. The partners brought the vision to life with different branded areas of the event that were unveiled to attendees throughout the evening.
For its first time integrating a corporate social responsibility objective into a Gold Club program, Microsoft wanted to create a memorable experience that tied back to one of the company’s initiatives: “to empower youth to change their world.” To do so, it worked with four local schools in the Sun City area and created a school-supplies drive, with donations coming from the incentive participants. Some were so passionate about the cause that they carried extra luggage to hold their donations, and in the end, the effort generated enough supplies for two years.
In the post-event survey, 98 percent of participants “strongly agreed” or “agreed” that winning the Gold Club award had a positive impact on their commitment to Microsoft—and the CSR program was a highlight of the trip.
Responsible Experiences—Most Impactful Effort Toward Corporate Social Responsibility as Part of an Incentive Program
For this award-winning event, Hosts New Orleans created a four-hour activity where 200 guests could join in the ongoing Hurricane Katrina efforts and leave feeling like they made a difference. They chose a New Orleans elementary school that had been rebuilt after the hurricane with funds from a FEMA grant but that still needed outdoor landscaping and playground equipment. The employees, including the company president and CEO, rolled up their sleeves to plant 450 shrubs and 50 trees. They also took a tour of the city to see the devastation firsthand, and learned many stories of the school’s families. At the end of the day, the company’s president presented the school with a $40,000 check to pay for a playground.
German publisher Inmedia ONE GmbH was hoping to build commitment and loyalty among its sales team when it created its first-ever CSR program during an incentive trip to Namibia. Since Inmedia ONE employees are specialists working to make knowledge accessible, it chose to work with a nonprofit foundation called Ombili to renovate a facility where children and teenagers could study in a quiet environment.
The participants saw first-hand the hardships experienced by the San people (a local ethnic group formerly known as the Bushmen) and the San people’s struggle to keep their culture and social identity alive. Organizer Terra Nova has been encouraging clients for years to engage with the local people and was inspired that Inmedia ONE took the lead with this program. For Inmedia ONE’s winners, it was a life-changing day.
The incentive industry's highest honor, the Crystal Awards, were announced on November 8 at the Site Global Conference in Orlando