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Meetings & Travel (October 2010)

News Briefs

Report Highlights Strategic Value of Face-to-Face Meetings

Even as virtual meetings become increasingly common, a new study from the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) focuses on the specific strategic advantages of face-to-face meetings for large groups. The report, The Future of Meetings: The Case for Face-to-Face, was written by Christine Duffy, President and CEO of Maritz Travel Company, and Mary Beth McEuen, Vice President and Executive Director of The Maritz Institute. "We know that face-to-face meetings are integral to driving growth and innovation for business in today's challenging environment," says Duffy. "We decided to focus on a science-based approach to identify decision criteria for when face-to- face meetings are the most effective way to drive results. The decision criteria are grounded in studies from the human sciences with a focus on neuroscience." McEuen notes that the report identifies three key reasons for face-to-face meetings: 1) to capture attention, especially for new concepts; 2) to inspire a positive emotional climate; and 3) to build human networks and relationships. "Face-to-face meetings possess the unique ability to spur action and drive business results through creating powerful, emotional ties to your business mission and message," she says. "The fact remains that there's no substitute for meeting in person when you want to build emotional support and develop relationships." The study, which is part of CHR's Industry Perspectives series, is available at @@http://www.hotelschool.cornell.edu/research/chr/pubs/perspective/.

Circus Circus Las Vegas

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American Express Business Travel Forecast Predicts Rate Recovery

American Express Business Travel recently announced pricing projections from its annual Global Business Travel Forecast, indicating increases of up to 10% are expected for airfare and hotel rates in key markets around the world. Flat to slightly lower prices are expected in car rental rates in North America and Europe, but higher in Asia/Pacific. Based on continued economic growth, increased demand, and constrained capacity, airfare and hotel rates are expected to grow up to high single digits in 2011, effectively bringing prices back to pre-recession levels. Asia is expected to lead pricing increases with established Western economies seeing less pricing expansion. The annual Forecast, produced by American Express Business Travel's Global Advisory Services research practice, includes pricing predictions for 89 types of airfares (business and economy class tickets for long-haul, short-haul and trans border flights originating in 21 countries), as well as expected negotiated hotel rates for mid-range and upper-range properties in 317 North American cities, 36 Latin American cities, 127 European and Middle East cities and 55 Asia/Pacific cities. The Forecast also contains pricing trends related to ground transportation and meetings spending in key regions around the world, as well as a section on what companies and managed travel category managers should be doing to curtail their impact on companies' bottom and top lines today. For more information, go to click here.

Marriott Hotels & Resorts

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FutureShow Event Format Introduced

A new breed of collaborative trade show and conference is being offered following a highly successful test run by the Enterprise Engagement Alliance, which used the concept to launch its Enterprise Engagement Alliance Networking Expo & Conference, June 3-4 at the Doral Arrowwood in Rye Brook, NY. The 'FutureShow' event concept is unique in the way it integrates social networking, audience polling, a collaborative education process, a Conversation Center format for sponsors designed to replace the traditional exhibit concept, and a year-round process for sharing content, news and results via the web. FutureShow is designed for use by any association or media company that seeks to profitably serve communities of buyers and sellers of products, services and information.

The EEA worked with Selling Communications and the Hughes Group, using the FutureShow concept to offer a one-to-one engagement opportunity for sponsors and attendees rather than the traditional trade show environment, as well as initiate and maintain a dialog via social-networking, a blog and polling, both before and after the event. As a result of this successful partnership between Hughes Group and Selling Communications, the two organizations are now collaborating to offer an integrated on-site and online year-round event strategy that involves all of the abovementioned media, as well as an optional education program on engagement developed by the Enterprise Engagement Alliance. For more information on the FutureShow concept, go to @@http://www.thehughesgroup.com/pages/page06.html

Future Show

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IAEE White Paper Connects Social Media and Events

The International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) Social Media Task Force recently published a white paper entitled How to Properly Use Social Media to Enhance and Promote Your Event. Led by co-chair and lead writer Michelle Bruno, President of Bruno Group Signature Events, and co-chair Joyce McKee, President & CEO of Joyce McKee & Company, the report focuses on a number of key elements affecting exhibition organizers and exhibitors, including research, marketing, strategies, case studies, legal issues and the benefits of social media. Main elements of the white paper include insight into the research, benefits and strategies for social media. An excerpt: "Social media practices can benefit event organizers in a number of ways, including brand extension, access to online member/customer networks, ability to deliver real-time customer service, opportunity to offer collaborative educational programming, advertising, promotion and public relations, potential reduction in marketing and communication costs and opportunities to implement green event practices." The white paper can be downloaded at @@http://www.iaee.com/pdf/SMTF_White_Paper_LORES_2010

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2011 IRF Invitational to be Held in Vegas

The Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) has announced that its 18th Annual Incentive Invitational will be held April 27 through May 1, 2011, at ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. The IRF Invitational brings together top incentive buyers and corporate decision makers, along with incentive professionals from leading travel organizations around the world, for a host of business networking events and educational seminars. In addition to ARIA Resort and Casino, co-hosts in 2011 include The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Wynn/Encore, The Venetian Palazzo Resort Hotel Casinos, Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority, AWG Inc. (Alan Waxler Group), Destinations by Design, USA Hosts, MGM Resorts Events, JW Marriott Las Vegas, Maverick Aviation, Richard Petty Driving Experience, and other destination hosts and sponsors in Las Vegas. For more information on the 18th Annual Incentive Invitational, go to @@http://invitational.theirf.org/ or contact the Opus Group at (305) 234-1077 for information on participating as a sponsor or hosted buyer attendee.

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Industry Insider...

JetBlue Airways, in partnership with Carlson Marketing, has launched "Be True," a new campaign focused on driving membership and raising awareness of the benefits and enhancements of TrueBlue, the airline's newly revamped customer loyalty program. The year-long campaign, created by Carlson Marketing out of its Minneapolis and New York offices, will involve email, in-flight, airport, online and out-of-home advertising….Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has announced the launch of its Individual Incentive Awards Program, the Unforgettable Experience. With the option of five categories and as many as 49 hotels to choose from, this program offers great flexibility in how companies can recognize great achievements. For more information, please visit the Unforgettable Experience awards website at: @@http://www.fourseasons.com/incentivecard

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Insights From ESM Meetings & Incentive Travel e-News

MPI Publishes FutureWatch 2010 Study

Meeting Professionals International (MPI), in partnership with American Express, recently released a summary of its annual FutureWatch survey, revealing trends that will affect the meeting and events industry in 2010. Respondents agreed that industry conditions will begin to improve in the second half of the year or in 2011, with 41% of suppliers and 28% of planners predicting gradual industry growth in 2010. Meeting and event planners anticipate a 2.8% increase in meetings held and a 4.5% increase in attendance over the next year. Spend per meeting and overall budgets will be the slowest to rebound. Other key trends include:

The full FutureWatch 2010 report is available at @@http://www.mpiweb.org/Education/Research/FutureWatch.aspx

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In the Next Issue of Engagement Strategies Magazine

The September/October issue of Engagement Strategies Magazine is out! Here's a look at what you'll find inside:

Is Engagement Your Silver Bullet?

William Schiemann, CEO of Metrus Group, notes that many firms exhibit some decline in employee engagement – and it costs them dearly. Research demonstrates that when engagement plummets, customer service, quality and productivity also drop, while costs and employee turnover rise. A recent cross-industry study conducted by Metrus Group found performance differences of nearly 10% between organizations where employee engagement was high and those with low-engagement operations. Many employers thought that with unemployment hovering at 10%, people would be delighted just to have a paycheck. And they were correct – up to a point. Many employees are delighted to have a paycheck, but it doesn't mean they're satisfied, committed or even engaged with the organization. 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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Can CSR Clear Up the Industry's Image Problem?

Caught up in the backlash against the major corporations whose questionable business practices helped precipitate the current economic crisis, the image of meetings and incentive trips in the general media has largely been one of excess and irresponsibility – right up there with exorbitant bonuses, private jets and company limos on the list of things people think of when they hear the words "corporate greed." So how does the industry fight that perception? Many ideas have been proposed, but one seems to offer more promise than the others – find ways to "humanize" meetings and incentives, make them less about money and excess and more about people and service. The recent rise of Corporate Social Responsibility offers that opportunity...

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GAP Focuses Resources on Employees with High Potential

For GAP Inc. and its stores, engagement is part of the definition of a high-performing employee. "We think of a high-performing employee as one who is very engaged," notes Marko Satarain, the company's Director of Talent Management. "If they're engaged they'll produce more and stay longer. So there's a business imperative as to why we would want to hire and retain a high-performing or highly engaged employee. If an employee is engaged, we know their productivity levels will be higher than the norm, they'll stay with us longer and it will actually influence and inspire their contemporaries or counterparts to perform better as well." Read more in the current issue of Engagement Strategies Magazine.

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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/

Enterprise Engagement Alliance

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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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