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Meetings & Travel (May 2010)

News Briefs

Travel Incentives Boost Performance, Retention

Results from a recently conducted analysis of one company's long-standing use of travel awards as a motivational tool show that such incentives have a clear, measurable and positive impact on employee performance and retention. The Incentive Research Foundation conducted the study to document the "anatomy" of an incentive travel program (ITP) and provide a better understanding of the broad reach of a successful ITP. One key measurement of program success was its relationship to retention and performance. Examining the tenure and performance ratings of 105 employees who earned the incentive trip at the company, researchers found that the largest group had a performance rating of 1 (1 being the highest level of performance and 4 the lowest level of performance) and tenure of 4 years or more, while the second largest group had a performance rating of 2 and tenure of 4 years or more. Together, these two groups accounted for 55% of incentive travel earners, showing a very real correlation between incentives, longevity and quality – in other words, ITP participants tend to perform better and stay with the company longer than other employees. Overall, 88.5% of incentive travel earners had a performance level of 1 or 2 compared to 31.2% of the population of active critical employees with those same performance ratings. For a copy of the white paper, Anatomy of a Successful Incentive Travel Program, go to: @@http://www.theirf.org/

Monroe-West Monroe

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EEA Will Announce Engagement Certification Program at Expo

A new curriculum and certification program for the emerging field of Enterprise Engagement will be announced June 3-4 at the Enterprise Engagement Alliance Networking Expo & Conference at the Doral Arrowwood, Rye Brook , NY .  The curriculum and certification initiative is being developed by the Enterprise Engagement Alliance, a coalition of organizations committed to improving financial results on an ongoing basis by fostering the sustained engagement of customers, channel partners, sales and nonsales employees, and vendors. The effort will be directed by an Advisory Board composed of management in all areas and levels of the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. Claire Howells, Vice President of Engagement for Zions Bancorp, and Don Peppers, Partner, Peppers & Rogers Group, will serve as co-chairs of the Executive Advisory Board. The goals of the curriculum and certification are to provide individuals and organizations with the skills and framework essential to profiting from engagement over time. "The return-on-investment of Enterprise Engagement is based on understanding the inter-relationship of engagement across all audiences – internally and externally," says Allan Schweyer, EEA Chairman. The curriculum and certification program is designed to address the need for today's executives and managers to understand engagement both in terms of their personal leadership skills and their ability to integrate the elements critical to engagement: leadership, training, multi-platform communications, technology, rewards & recognition, incentive programs and more. Registration is complimentary for the morning plenary sessions at which this curriculum will be announced and for exhibits; the conference is $329 for two days. Register at @@http://www.eeaexpo.org/.

Enterprise Engagement Alliance

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Engagement Event Returns $2 for Every Dollar Spent

The Enterprise Engagement Alliance (EEA) recently announced that research measuring the return on investment (ROI) of an annual meeting of healthcare insurance brokers that stressed training, relationship-building and networking opportunities found the sponsoring company enjoyed a return of almost $2 for every $1 invested in the program. Initial results reported in March revealed that the program had a profound impact on the way brokers thought and felt about the company, its products and its people. Part 1 of the report, The 'ROI in Channel Partner' Conferences – A Case Study, noted that the annual gathering translated into higher sales, performance and engagement among those who attended. Part 2 of the report examines the actual change in sales of Allsante, Inc.* products among program participants, summarizing the ROI the company achieved from the event. EEA analysis of the methodologies and findings reveals that Allsante earned significant ROI from its annual event. "After all variables were accounted for, a highly credible and conservative estimate of 190% ROI was arrived at," says Allan Schweyer, Chairman of the EEA. "In other words, the company enjoyed a return of almost $2 for every $1 it invested in the first six months following the event, and our researchers say it's likely that the returns, if calculated after another six months have passed, will be even greater." Parts 1 and 2 of the study, The 'ROI in Channel Partner' Conferences – A Case Study, can be downloaded at @@http://www.enterpriseengagement.org/

* The company in this report is referred to as "Allsante, Inc." at the firm's request, due to competitive reasons.

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New U.S. Luxury Passenger Train Will Debut in 2011

Denver-based American Railway Explorer (ARE) will offer a luxury train experience showcasing much of the country and several national parks. When it becomes fully operational in summer 2011, ARE will offer an exclusive "rail cruise" experience combining world-class food, comfortable on-board accommodations and memorable on- and off-train experiences while traveling through spectacular scenery throughout the country, some accessible only on ARE excursions. The company will operate four-, eight- and 11-day tours featuring accommodations, meals, entertainment, off-train transportation and interpretive guides. Last year the American Railway Explorer purchased 1950s-era vintage railcars that are undergoing a comprehensive transformation to restore and improve upon the high standards of the original train. The equipment will feature 11 sleeper cars, one lounge/piano car, two dining cars, two dome cars and one observation car. The train will also include accommodations for crew members. An executive chef will prepare meals on board using sustainable and locally produced ingredients. Rates per person will start at approximately $900 per day for the West Coast Explorer up to $1,500 per day for the Transcontinental Explorer. The capacity for the Explorers is 130 guests. Reservations may be made through a travel agent, online at @@http://www.xanterra.net/mailer/link.php?M=682551&N=1204&L=931&F=H or by calling 888-984-3273. Reservations will be accepted beginning in summer 2010.

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AIBTM Attracts Top Exhibitors

With over one year to go before the show opens in June 2011, AIBTM – The Americas Meetings & Events Exhibition – has announced its first exhibitor signings. New signings include the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, Austrian National Tourist Office, Condor Travel, Essence of Bali DMC, Government of Dubai, Mexico Tourism Board, Monaco Tourist Office, NYC & Company, Silversea Cruises, Skyteam Global Meetings, Eugene/Travel Lane County and Wedgewood Travel Limited. AIBTM will feature over 300 North American and international exhibitors and is set to attract around 3,000 buyer attendees, of which 500 will be Hosted Buyers made up largely of North America-based meeting planners with domestic, interstate and international business. AIBTM will take place in Baltimore from June 21-23, 2011 and will form part of a dedicated Americas Meetings Week commencing on June 19th. For more information, go to: @@http://www.aibtm.com

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Insights From ESM Meetings & Incentive Travel e-News

Industry Campaign Advocates 'Face Time'

A grassroots industry campaign called "FACE TIME. It Matters." promotes the benefits of meeting face-to-face. Nine leading industry trade associations have adopted the campaign theme that was developed under the aegis of the Convention Industry Council (CIC). It is based on the findings of a recent national survey of corporate and association meeting planners, plus in-depth personal interviews with the industry's leading executives, as well as focus groups consisting of corporate and association executives, business travelers and professional meeting planners. According to the research:

"We're very excited about the launch of this grass roots campaign," says Gregg Talley, Chief Strategy Officer for the CIC. "The Convention Industry Council and its members will utilize the message to promote the irreplaceable benefits of human interaction and relationship building that may only be realized only through face-to-face meetings." Roger Dow, President and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, adds that "The FACE TIME campaign will bring home the critical 'human side' of the meetings value equation. When combined with our 'Meetings Mean Business' effort and Oxford Economics compelling findings on the positive financial return from meetings, it becomes crystal clear how important meetings are to talent growth, business development and the economic vitality of our communities." For more information, click here

Advertise here!

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In the Next Issue of Engagement Strategies Magazine

The June/July issue of Engagement Strategies Magazine will be in your mailbox soon! Here's a preview of what you'll find inside:

Collaboration: More than the Sum of its Parts

A pair of articles examines this critical building block of engagement from two different perspectives. The first, Internal Collaboration: Why Partnering Works, by Rodd Wagner and Gale Muller, Ph.D.,  notes that great partnerships don't just happen. Whether your joint mission is to build a great company, coach a team, improve the government, do something spectacular for a charity, or any other worthy goal, all successful partnerships share the same crucial ingredients. The second article, External Collaboration: When You Can't Do It All, looks at some of the companies in the engagement marketplace that have successfully used collaboration to expand their reach through alliances and partnerships. To make sure you get your copy of Engagement Strategies Magazine, go to @@http://www.enterpriseengagement.org/account/login/ and update your subscription today!

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At American Airlines, the People are the Process

Sue Gordon has been with American Airlines for over 20 years. As a result of her vast and varied experience, she not only knows American Airlines and the American Way very well, she also understands very clearly how the company's internal communications and branding efforts work to promote employee engagement and employee retention, while at the same time contributing to a more positive customer experience. In other words, she's seen it all – what works and what doesn't. "From 2001 to today, our industry has essentially been in turmoil," she says. "But we found the most traction by involving employees in the business. This is where we've seen the greatest process improvements and the greatest cost savings. It's where we get our best ideas and the greatest amount of buy-in, by involving our employees from soup to nuts in the process." Read more in the next issue of Engagement Strategies Magazine – coming soon.

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News From Selling Communications Inc.

Engagement Links Directly to Higher Sales

An in-depth review of a 2009 annual meeting of a major healthcare provider reveals that a comprehensive engagement strategy can help increase sales and boost profits. Researchers from the ROI of Engagement Group and the Enterprise Engagement Alliance recently measured the return on investment (ROI) from a gathering of brokers and management personnel that featured a program of training, relationship building and networking opportunities designed to increase sales and profits in specific markets and engage channel partners. The report, The 'ROI in Channel Partner' Conferences – A Case Study, found that the engagement program translated into brokers presenting and quoting the company's products more frequently, which in turn resulted in significantly stronger reported sales from event participants. Specifically, 94% presented the firm's products more often; 98% quoted them repeatedly; and 90% reported greater sales of these products. This is the third major research study released by the Enterprise Engagement Alliance examining the effectiveness of corporate engagement strategies. The company in question (referred to in the report as "Allsante, Inc." at the company's request, due to competitive reasons) wanted to measure the effectiveness of the "Allsante, Inc. Encounter" conference and come up with hard data against which to make decisions about improving future programs. Initial results reveal that the program had a profound impact on the way brokers thought and felt about Allsante, its products and its people. A copy of the study, The 'ROI in Channel Partner' Conferences – A Case Study, can be downloaded at: @@http://www.enterpriseengagement.org/

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Connect Your Marketing to Transactions

Does your organization have a transactional website to handle bulk sales of merchandise to qualified buyers or points programs for incentive companies? The incentive industry is one of the few areas of business that doesn't have a true transactional model to support its end-users and incentive companies. The Corporate Rewards Exchange is a cooperative effort of leading brands, incentive fulfillment firms and incentive companies to build a new distribution channel for sale of gifts to corporations, incentive companies and marketing services firms. The CRE enables brands to tap into a large ad hoc market for bulk gifts and rewards in a way they can carefully control, providing a powerful means for incentive companies to more effectively use their products in reward programs via a highly automated billing, redemption, tracking and customer service system. It's designed to support all of the current players in the incentive marketplace by providing a more efficient means of offering rewards to end-users and incentive companies, at a very low cost. For more information, please contact us for a demo.

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About Selling Communications Inc.

Selling Communications, Inc. is a fully integrated, target marketing, media and technology agency that improves results for clients by focusing on the people who matter most. We can help your business grow and save you money by targeting key prospects, getting their permission and strategically integrating your marketing and sales communications with the specific audiences most likely to affect your business performance.

Take advantage of these SCI services to improve your business development:

For more information on Selling Communications, its products and services, contact Jim Kilmetis at 914-591-7600, ext. 229 or send an e-mail to jkilmetis@sellingcommunications.com.

Tapping new customers, and keeping those you already have, costs less than you'd imagine...

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