SITE Global Conference celebrated 50 years of professionalising incentive travel as a motivator for business in New York. The event featured three days of inspiring content with keynotes from Amelia Earhart and Andre Norman who presented to over 700 delegates.
micebook led a session on how to ‘Mitigate cost rises and inflationary fears and keep your incentive in play”. Chetan Shah, CEO of micebook led with some insight from the institute Practitioners of Advertising (IPA) whose research spanning 40 years studying recessions concluded that “Brands that increase their marketing budget come out of a recession stronger”.
The audience then in workshop groups were asked to answer one of the following questions: How can you mitigate cost rises? Or how do you respond to a client who wants to cut their incentive?
Here are some of the key takeaways from the session, expertly moderated by Leigh Butterfield, Director at 2BUK and SITE GB President and Cate Banfield, COO at Wynford.
Mitigating cost rises:
- Lowering number of incentives but upping the quality.
- Looking at destination choice.
- Look at timing and plan trips for when flight costs are lower e.g., low season for local corporates or over a weekend.
- Try to make the ground programme walkable as much as possible to avoid costly transfers.
- Offer dinner allowances rather than hosted dinners.
- Including socially responsible activities or experiences. You remember people more than places.
- Be flexible. If clients are flexible with their programme or dates, costs can be lower at hotels.
- Working with DMCs and CVBs to include free local attractions festivals and events as part of the itinerary.
- Giving more free time on a programme for incentive winners to reenergise, creating a greater sense of appreciation.
- Getting in earlier and locking in rates can help. Short lead times give you fewer options.
- Finding the balance between contract resources and full-time staff. Allows scaling up and down easier.
- Procurement v revenue department. Leisure demand is currently high, and hotels are offering lower number of rooms at a better rate. Offering a split with partner hotels or suggesting waves will help get the best rates.
- Getting clients to plan multiple destinations/properties at one time for discounted rates.
- Create those relationships and collaborations with local suppliers to help come up with solutions.
State of the Nation:
- There is a lot of delay and shopping around currently and it is harder for things to move forward. The pipeline is not looking as positive.
- We are seeing the same amount of business, but it is 3x the work to convert it.
- There is nervousness about economies or final stakeholder not making decisions and holding things up. Maybe it is a hangover from Covid cancellations making them reluctant to commit.
- Recession is not a selling environment, and you need to be careful about the hard sell in these times.
- Brands that thrived during pandemic marketed strongly – eg. Walgreens, CVS, Pfizer. Brands are successful making a personal connection – a shared voice.
- Include community and care when thinking about incentives.
- Staff retention at this time is imperative and if you aren’t doing something in any capacity to retain, people will walk.
- Use SITE research for advice on return on investment. Use the association as a resource, as it has some great white papers.
- Reasons more than ever to motivate due to there being more remote workers than ever.
- We need to have more co creations about the ‘why’ for incentives. Give the good, better, best option to take to stakeholder. Working together to build the vision for the client. Collaboration is key.
- We still need to include the WOW. If giving more free time, keep the wow that will keep them talking, even if it’s one night instead of a whole week.
- Marketing the incentive trip up to a year in advance and ensure you build marketing and sales strategies to create excitement.
SITE Global Conference in 2024 will take place in Turkey.