We spoke with FICP members Lynn Lee and Melanie Stevens, both global sales directors for AlliedPRA, about the direction incentive experiences are taking for 2017.
Some twists and turns and surprises in the mix with regard to incentive trends. Take a look.
What new incentive experiences can groups expect this year?
Technology is making a big impact. We’re seeing a lot of digital swag bags where a curated list of gifts, education and discount codes for apps can be offered to attendees. Additionally, wellness trends are here to stay! Instead of offering a morning yoga or run, how about an afternoon class of the latest fitness trend, followed by a juice/smoothie bar for “happy hour?” This is a great way to rejuvenate from a day of meetings and get recharged for the evening. Athletic wear pop-up shops are also getting more attention with group gifting experiences.
Have you noticed any incentive trends emerging in 2017?
We are hearing more interest in incorporating virtual reality and gaming technology into programs. All generations are intrigued by the addition of these unique VR experiences offered during daytime and evening events. These emerging technologies are gaining momentum and we’ll see more opportunities to incorporate them into all types of programs. We are seeing clients interested in incorporating augmented reality into programs, sometimes with custom scavenger hunts (similar to Pokemon Go) in the destination. Unique meeting places or gathering spots are also becoming more popular. A planner might rent out a condo or cool loft space in the city near the hotel and use it as a gathering spot, laid-back networking location or after
Any tips for helping cost-conscious planners achieve high ROE incentives?
Engage with your DMC early even as you are trying to decide on or narrow down destinations. At times, planners are focused on securing a specific property or destination without fully seeing how it can impact the overall program budget. A DMC can help planners budget the proper amounts for activities, offsite dinners and events, interactive experiences and thoughtful components that achieve ROE through a well-rounded program. Leverage a DMC’s local relationships and volume buying power to achieve greater value.