Imagine a couple of successful executives from competing companies meet at a trade show, and the topic of incentive reward programs comes up. Exec #1 says he went on a weekend outing this year with other top producers from his firm, and everyone had a really good time. He and his wife spent most of their days reading by the pool, and it was swell. Executive #2 says he and the missus flew silently among the clouds over San Diego in a high-performance glider. Then they went diving with great white sharks. Last year, the couple manned the controls of an Italian Marchetti fighter plane in a mock dogfight 6,000 feet over New York Harbor. Then they took private ninja lessons in Manhattan! That second couple gets around. All of these adventures and many more are available for corporations to purchase as incentive “experience gifts” from Cloud 9 Living. “Most sales reps already have a flat screen TV,” says Adam Michaels, CEO. “Younger generations are craving something more active and memorable. These are life experiences.” The rewards are packaged in a gift box with an overview DVD and a gift card redeemable at cloud9living.com. Recipients simply browse through the site showcasing all 1,700 different experiences located around the country, and then choose the one they want. And if someone changes their mind for whatever reason, the programs are completely exchangeable without any hassle. Companies can also query employees with a list of experiences and book the selected trips in-house. “We just worked with Rite Aid on one of their recognition programs, and they said it’s a better system since people can use the rewards when and where they want,” says Michaels. “A VP might not want to spend time in a group with the people he works with. He probably spends a lot of time with them at the office, and maybe he would rather share this experience with his wife or family.” Of course, not all the activities are as heart pounding as those mentioned above. For some, a walking food tour with friends around Chicago or a private, romantic cooking class in San Francisco is all the thanks they need.