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Meetings & Travel (September 2010)

News Briefs

Association Meetings Poised for Future Growth

Results from a survey jointly carried out by ICCA and IMEX paint a very positive picture for the Association Meeting sector of the industry. An impressive 31% of those surveyed reported higher actual or planned attendance for their 2010 events than in previous years, and 46% indicated no change, with only 14% reporting slight reductions and fewer than one in ten reporting a "significant" decline in numbers. However, the financial pressures are clearly continuing: only 20% reported higher income from sponsors and exhibitions, 40% showed no change, but the remaining 40% suffered falls in financial support from this side of their budgets. When asked about their projections for 2011, these executives painted an even more positive picture: almost one-third of associations will be running more meetings in 2011 than in 2010, with only 8% planning to organize fewer; and a massive 53% are projecting higher attendances than in 2010, compared to a tiny 6% who expect their delegate numbers to fall. This is the most positive forward forecast that these regular surveys have ever produced. For more information, go to: @@http://www.iccaworld.com/

Wilmington & Brandywine Valley

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SITE Survey Evaluates Priorities in Motivational Program Design

The Site International Foundation has released the first SITE Index: Annual Survey results. Following three topical Site Index focus studies, this annual analysis and forecast for the motivational events industry provides a broader data set of trends and reveals priorities placed on significant topics such as the strength of motivational tools (travel experiences, cash, merchandise, gift cards), ROI, buyer decisions, cruise products, green incentives and more. Some highlights: A majority (62%) of respondents expect an increase in motivational travel use in the next six to 12 months, with 84% predicting improvement in a one- to three-year span. These findings continue to demonstrate a high expectation that the requirement for measurement will increase in both the short and long term. "The results indicate the marketplace is improving," says Steve O'Malley, SITE International Foundation Vice President/Research Committee Chair, and Vice President, General Manager, Maxvantage. "They forecast the changing landscape of a heightened awareness around green incentives and a necessity to incorporate business meetings or similar components. With each study we seem to unlock new nuggets of actionable information, such as that 88% of respondents agree that the effectiveness of any motivational tool varies based on the generation being engaged. Every practitioner and user of incentive travel needs to include more elements of choice in their programs to appeal to the diversity in today's workforce. That's what this project is about, triggering meaningful conversations about the way we go to market." Complete survey results are available at @@http://www.siteglobal.com/

Q Center

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IMEX America Names Official Sustainability Consultant

IMEX America has appointed MeetGreen as the show's Official Sustainability Consultant. The first IMEX America will take place at the Sands Expo Convention Center at the Venetian/Palazzo from October 11-13, 2011. Earlier this year the Las Vegas Sands Corporation unveiled Eco 360, a broad-ranging energy efficiency and environmental initiative. With the recent LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) of the Venetian and the conference center, the combined properties now comprise the largest adjoined LEED-certified building in the world. "Las Vegas is not usually top of mind when you think of sustainable destinations, yet there are great strides being made by Las Vegas venues," says Amy Spatrisano, Principal of MeetGreen. "We're looking forward to this tremendous opportunity in working with IMEX America to support their commitment to produce a sustainable trade show by using a progressive approach with Las Vegas venues and vendors to elevate the level of sustainable practices being implemented." Since the company's founding in 1994, MeetGreen has pursued its vision to continuously transform the global meetings industry through leadership, innovation, education and performance.
Web: @@http://email.imexexhibitions.com/imexlz/lz.aspx?p1=0522841S324&CC=&w=1236&cID=0&cValue=1 and @@http://email.imexexhibitions.com/imexlz/lz.aspx?p1=0522841S324&CC=&w=1256&cID=0&cValue=1

Marriott San Francisco

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TravelAwarsdOnline Unveils Incentive Cruise Card

TravelAwardsOnline recently announced an individual incentive cruise card. The card allows redemption for incentive cruise awards that are currently available from large-ship cruise lines such as Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and NCL. In addition, award redemptions will now also be available for small and mid-size vessels offering luxury, adventure and non-traditional cruise experiences. "This card represents a unique individual travel awards opportunity within the cruise industry," says Phil Duyff, Founder and CEO of TravelAwardsOnline. "The TravelAwardsOnline Cruise Card significantly increases the redemption options for cruise awards available to the individual incentive travel market." The TravelAwardsOnline Cruise Card is a dual-tender travel award debit card designed specifically for incentive and recognition cruise awards. Each Cruise Card carries a unique 19-digit redemption number that reflects the dollar value that is associated with it. The value on the TravelAwardsOnline Cruise Card is completely open-ended – and dollar amount may be associated with the card's redemption number, making it idead for tiered incentive programs or for recognizing ad hoc individual performance or service. For more information, go to @@http://www.travelawardsonline.com/

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Join the Rustic Revolution!

If you think your group won't go for the exotic cuisine of a far-flung destination, think again. Planners these days are getting their hands dirty, literally going out to local farms near meeting sites and sourcing their menus. It's part of the burgeoning trend toward sustainability and all things natural. Local cheeses, wines, produce – even meat and seafood – are becoming a popular way to showcase your social and environmental responsibility. So come and join the "Rustic Revolution" – what Flavor & The Menu magazine describes as "shorthand for all that's comfortable and affordable." Rustic is the new artisan, encompassing everything from farmhouse tables and pared-down decor to foraged foods, farmstead cheeses and plenty of regional, home-style cooking. Sound easy? Just have a local restaurant ship in a couple of "native" dishes or stock the region's wine at the bar? Like anything involving event planning, it's not quite that simple. But if you're not afraid of a little work – and a little calculated risk – immerse yourself and your attendees in what the MICE industry calls "experiential" incentives and complete the circle of country, culture and cuisine. Read more about this trend in the upcoming September/October issue of I&MI magazine at @@http://www.i-mi.com

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Insights From ESM Meetings & Incentive Travel e-News

Administration Will Fund Travel Promotion Program

The U.S. Travel Association applauded a recent move by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Thursday that will enable U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect a fee from select international visitors beginning in September for the purpose of funding America's first-ever travel promotion program to attract more visitors to the United States. The $10 fee, to be collected every two years from travelers from Visa Waiver Program countries, will fund up to 50% of America's promotion activities. This fee is significantly less than Americans often pay when entering or departing foreign countries. Oxford Economics estimates that a well-executed promotion program will attract 1.6 million new international visitors to the U.S. annually and create $4 billion in new spending each year. In addition to the mandatory $10 travel promotion fee established by the Travel Promotion Act, DHS is expected to add a fee of $4 to cover costs of administering the system. The Department of Homeland Security published a notice of the interim final rule in the Federal Register on August 5 and will accept comments through October 8. For more information, go to @@http://www.ustraval.org

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In the Next Issue of Engagement Strategies Magazine

The September/October issue of Engagement Strategies Magazine will be out soon! 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 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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