The Importance of On-Site Staff to Meetings, Events and Incentive Travel – Part Three

Today concludes our informative three part series on The Importance of On-Site Staff to Meetings, Events and Incentive Travel. If you have not already, take a moment to read Part One and Part Two. In today’s final piece we cover the qualities to look for in a capable on-site staff member.

JNR is committed to delivering phenomenal business meetings, corporate events and incentive travel programs every time. A large part of ensuring that we deliver on this is making sure we have the right people for the job. We employ on-site expert Travel Directors that we like to call your “insurance policy.” They make sure the event runs smoothly, keep costs in check and they send participants and clients home happy. A solid team of on-site logistical staff is crucial to any event’s success.

When hiring on-site staff members, JNR looks for certain attributes, skills and qualities in a potential employee. These are often elements that cannot be taught.

Hardworking

On-site staff members must be disciplined enough to work incredibly hard. They are the first to rise and the last to rest. They have an array of intricate tasks that must be completed before participants arrive, seemingly impossible tasks while the event is running, respond to individual needs as well as the entire group’s needs, and, as participants are heading home, they stay to make sure everyone has checked out, have rides to the airport, and arrange for any outgoing shipments. Amidst it all, they make sure all billing notes are in order.

Responsive

The first thing you learn on-site is that things change. Our expert Travel Directors expect that there are factors that are out of their control and that they must remain flexible and on their toes in order to keep the event on track. Whether it is a travel delay, inclement weather or a key item that will not be delivered on time, they work on finding solutions rather than getting stuck on problems. They also keenly anticipate complications arising before they actually happen and prepare accordingly. This is fondly referred to as avoiding Murphy. When factors do not go as planned, most of the time, they are solved so efficiently that participants remain blissfully unaware.

Teamwork

On-site staff members are given key responsibilities and are empowered to jump in where needed to help other staff members. While they work in their own specialty areas, they know that at the end of the day the program as a whole is the big picture and that they need to work together for it to be successful – no task is solely one person’s duty. Members of the on-site team know what each other are working on and come together to help with all things from finishing touches to more complicated elements.

Positive Attitude

On-site experts work grueling hours, have multiple jobs on their plates at once and respond to client and participant requests at any hour of the day – all with a smile on their face. Even if an event throws curve ball after curve ball, having the right attitude with a passion for delivering their best can be the difference between an average event and an incredible event. Our on-site staff members see the big picture and work diligently towards that rather than getting stuck on components that do not go as planned.

Ability to Understand the Client’s Objectives

Travel Directors must be fully aware and understand the client’s objectives to deliver a successful meeting, event or travel program. Once goals and objectives have been explained to on-site staff members, they know what elements will deliver on these goals. They are conscientious of how to use their skill sets to direct a meeting, event or travel program in the direction the client wants.

Communication and Negotiation Skills

At any one time, Travel Directors will be in communication and negotiation with multiple parties. They rely on third parties to deliver exactly what is expected of them and must therefore communicate what is needed in an efficient manner. They use their strong negotiation skills to get the best outcomes and value for the client, all while keeping a positive relationship with the vendor for future programs.

Communication with participants can truly enhance the program. We often hear that our client was impressed with our team, how nice it was that participants knew the on-site staff members by name and how wonderfully they were treated.

 

On-site staff members are unique individuals that are driven to deliver above what is expected of them. With a trained eye and a thorough understanding of “back-of-the-house” operations, our experienced on-site travel management professionals direct the logistics of your event, leaving you free to attend to VIP’s, participants and the actual program content. You can focus on just one thing… your business.

 

To find out how JNR can help orchestrate an amazing meeting, event or incentive travel program, please call us on 949.476.2788 or email us at jnrinfo@jnrcorp.com. We would love to work with you on your next program.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Stephanie Thomas with insights from LuAnn Jalet, Chief Operating Officer at JNR.

______________________________________________________________

JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Photo: “The Standard – Cooper Square” by Susan Sermoneta is licensed under CC By 2.0

3 Reasons Google and Other Fortune 500 Companies Have Great Workplace Cultures

It is no coincidence that many of the most profitable companies in the world also have the happiest, most engaged employees and the most positive workplace cultures. Google, Starbucks, Whole Foods Market and Aflac top the list of the eighteen best Fortune 500 companies to work for in part due to a dedication to making their workplaces great ones.

How did these large corporations create such an amazing workplace culture? What can we learn from them?

George Bradt, Contributor for Forbes, isolated three things that these eighteen companies all seem to do extremely well to make their employees loyal and happy.

They Clearly Demonstrate Their Appreciation for Employees

A quick display of appreciation can go a long way. It doesn’t even have to cost a penny or take more than two minutes of your time. The ways that you can show appreciation for your team are quite diverse.

There is the unconventional. Google gives out 100,000 hours worth of free massages to employees over a one-year period. Then there’s the free. The vice chair of NetApp calls 10-20 employees a day to tell them that they are doing a good job.

Other companies such as Qualcomm hold internal tech conferences to foster a sharing of knowledge and ideas. Administering safety bonuses, personalizing notes, booking special luncheons, recognizing and supporting diversity, offering low-cost insurance for part-time employees and setting up health and wellness centers are other interesting ways that companies say “we appreciate you!”

Takeaway: Showing appreciation for your employees can take a wide variety of forms and fit into any budget. Consistency is the key with appreciation programs.

They Give Employees Access to Leadership and Information

The tie between being a good place to work and consistent employee appreciation is quite logical, but this next theme might not be as obvious. Bradt finds that granting employees open access to senior leadership and company information is the second most common way that companies make their employees happy.

John Richels of Devon Energy said he gives his employees time with senior executives as often as possible. Whole Foods empowers employees in very unique ways. Employees have the option to vote on new hires, take field trips to visit suppliers and even view the salary of every employee in the company!

CarMax CEO Tom Folliard is known for mingling at town hall meetings and steak cookouts. CHWM Hill CEO Lee McIntire takes it to a new level. He posts his personal development plan on the company intranet!

Takeaway: Break down the barriers and allow communication to flow freely in your organization. Your executives should be accessible and open to suggestions from all levels. Transparency can also be important for companies that pride themselves on their integrity.

They Reward Employees for Their Achievements

Rewarding employees for their achievements is something that should always be a priority. At EOG, every employee is given stock. Not only is the stock a nice reward, but it is also a way to give an employee more reason to care about the success of the company. Their stock has risen 500% in the past decade, so it appears to be working.

Starbucks gives benefits and stock options to all employees who work at least twenty hours per week. The company culture emphasizes how it is possible for all employees to move up the ladder.

Other companies give their top performing employees travel incentives, merchandise and gift cards.

Takeaway: Employees who are rewarded and have a stake in the success of the company will typically perform at higher levels.

Is your company doing a particularly good job in any of these three areas? Feel free to share other ways your company has been successful in showing appreciation, granting access and rewarding your employees by commenting below. Also, please feel free to send me an email at khewkin@jnrcorp.com for more suggestions or to sign up for our newsletter.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Kristopher Hewkin

______________________________________________________________

JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Photo: “google_logo” by keso s is licensed under CC By 2.0

Indian Spotlight: Indian Vegetable Biryani Recipe

After a fun-filled month in Germany, JNR now ventures east to the bustling and vibrant country of India. Situated in South Asia, India takes the prize for the second-most populous country in the world and is home to the famous white marbled Taj Mahal, among other culturally significant landmarks.

Throughout India’s 29 states and seven union territories, there is a large diversity in soil types and climates, resulting in an array of regional cuisines. Rice, lentils and whole-wheat flour are staples throughout the country with Biryani being a popular dish.

Biryani is a spiced, mixed rice dish that often incorporates meat or vegetables. The name is derived from the Persian word “birinj” meaning rice and although the origins of this dish are uncertain, it is eaten throughout the country, though different regions tend to have different styles of this dish.

Today we are sharing with you our Vegetable Biryani Recipe that hails from Hyderbad, the capital city of Andhra Pradesh. While this dish can be finished in a rice cooker or saucepan, traditionally it is made using the Dum Pukht techniques that involves slow cooking the rice in a sealed clay pot that allows the rice to cook in its own steam and infuse with the herbs and spices.

Vegetable Biryani Recipe                                               

Total Time:    1 hr 25 min

Prep:     25 min

Cook:    1 hr

Yield:    4

Level:    Moderate

 

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups basmati rice
  • 3 saffron strands (dissolved in 2 tbsp of warm milk)
  • ½ cup clarified butter
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 black cardamom
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup white onion (diced)
  • ½ tbsp garlic (minced)
  • ½ tbsp ginger (minced)
  • ½ cup mint paste
  • ½ cup coriander paste
  • 1 tbsp biryani masala powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup potatoes (diced)
  • 1 cup carrot (diced)
  • 5 French beans
  • ¼ cup cauliflower florets
  • 2tbsp fresh cream
  • ¼ cups milk
  • ½ cup milk curd
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp cashewnuts
  • 2 tbsp almonds
  • 2 tbsp raisins

 

Directions

Cook the basmati rice so that is three quarters of the way done and the rice grains separate. Mix in the saffron milk. Take the rice off the heat and set aside.

Melt the clarified butter in a pan over medium heat; add the cloves, cardamom and bay leaf. Increase the heat to high and sauté for a minute. Mix in the onions, ginger and garlic and sauté until the onions turn translucent. Mix in the mint paste, coriander paste, biryani masala, salt, all the vegetables, cream and milk. Reduce the heat to medium and let the vegetables cook.

Remove from heat; cool the mixture to room temperature and mix in the milk curds.

Place the vegetable mixture into a large saucepan and heat on lower temperate. Add in the rice, mix well, cover and let steam for half an hour.

Serve hot.

If you would like to learn about how JNR can organize a magical incentive trip to India, where participants can taste the delights of traditional Indian food first hand, please email jnrinfo@jnrcorp.com.

 

By JNR Incorporated

 

Written by Stephanie Thomas

______________________________________________________________

JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

German Spotlight: Microsoft Operates One of the 8 Best New Restaurants in Berlin

September features Germany as our destination focus for the month. We started with a recipe for German honey cookies and now, sticking in the culinary realm, we’ll let others do the cooking as we share a list of eight new and innovative Berlin restaurants compiled by Thrillist. We honestly feel you would be remiss in not sampling at least one of the establishments on this list when in the area.

The list was compiled in December and every restaurant mentioned has proved to be a smash hit as predicted. Foodies of all kinds will enjoy this list as it features everything from paleo options to ramen bowls and even an establishment run by Microsoft.

In no particular order…

Cocolo Ramen X-Berg

Searching for Japanese food in Berlin? This is probably the spot for you. After previously operating in a very small location, they are open now on Kreuzberg’s Paul-Lincke-Ufer. Rice bowls, ramen with smoked chicken, Miso, spicy TanTan and the pork dish Tonkotsu highlight their splendid menu.

Muse Berlin

The Prenzlauer Berg hotspot functions as a supper club on the weekends hosted by guest chefs and a popular gourmet sandwich spot during the week, particularly busy during lunch. Slow-braised brisket with comté, Montreal Currywurst and Berliner Boa with maple-glazed pork belly are just two of the dishes that Muse has become known for.

Lamazère   

West Berlin’s Lamazère is the mastermind of Chef Régis Lamazère who has perfected classy French fare with this concept. Lamazère, son of a Parisian celebrity chef, serves up escargots, pork confit and tarte tatin to its slew of guests daily.

Microsoft Digital Eatery

Microsoft Digital Eatery, actually owned by Microsoft, serves not only as spot to dish up up soups, pastas and sammies, but also a place for the company to allow people to test their new tech products before they hit the market. Much of the produce is sourced locally and the menu is rather simple, yet tasty.

Sauvage

Promoted as “the world’s first paleo restaurant” and raising some eyebrows as a result, Sauvage in Prenzlauer Berg is the sister location to the Kreuzberg spot that opened in 2011. Apple-fed pork belly and filet mignon with wild mushrooms are interesting points on a menu packed with proteins claiming to serve food that “enhances fat burning and sex drive.”

Dean

Located on the former site of a famous club called Delicious Doughnuts, Dean consistently books prominent disco and soul DJs while crafting renowned specialty cocktails. Phillip Bischoff (Amano Bar) & Tino Hiller (Reingold) contribute unique drink recipes to this amazing nightlife option on the strip of Rosenthaler Strasse.

Jää-äär

The restaurant name translates to “ice age” or “edge of ice” in Estonian and is quite a difficult one to pronounce for Americans. Their edgy, modern menu offers homey dishes such as apple cheesecake, cabbage pie and garlic bread along with rum-style Estonia liquor and various events.

Neni Berlin at Twenty Five Hours Hotel

Neni’s menu specializes in Israeli-inspired dishes dreamt up by Chef Haya Molcho, such as flavored hummus and Jerusalem-style mezze. The hotel that houses Neni is also quite impressive as it features a bikini lounge and sauna with a view of the Berlin Zoo.

Germany is an amazing option for any company’s sales incentive program. We have operated numerous programs there and the customers, dealer principles and employees of our clients have unanimously considered it to be an amazing reward and incentive destination and experience they will never forget.

If you have any further questions about Germany or want to discuss how to plan an incentive travel trip, meeting or event, please feel free to send me an email or give me a call at 949.476.2788.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Kristopher Hewkin

______________________________________________________________

JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Photo: “Microsoft Berlin: Cafébereich der Digital Eatery – 1” used with permission from Microsoft

Incentive Travel Industry Spotlight: 2014’s Positive Outlook

Are decreasing travel budgets a thing of the past? We certainly hope so. Since 2008, the incentive travel industry has been privy to the turbulent effects of a fluctuating economy paired with a watchful sentiment towards travel budgets. Program size and duration have scaled down and large, more elaborate programs have become few and far between. Now a new Pulse Study, titled 2014 Trends in Engagement, Incentives, and Recognition released by the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) show results that are consistent with incentive travel budgets stabilizing and an increasingly positive outlook.

For the past six years, the IRF has documented trends in the incentive travel industry and noted unstable economic conditions that have impacted the way companies approach their budgets. In 2008, 81% of respondents felt that the economic downturn had negatively impacted their ability to plan an incentive travel program for their organization. When comparing this to current findings, the IRF has found that the number of companies decreasing their program size has shifted from 40% in 2008 to only 11% in 2014, on average. The IRF also found that 36% of respondents are increasing their budgets, pointing to a more prosperous incentive travel environment.

The research, which was conducted from April 15 through May 2, 2014, suggests that the increases in travel budgets are going into the non-meal components of incentive programs. These components include gifts, additional excursions and activities as well as comprehensive payment of all airline fees and transfers. This trend is expected to continue and, while slight program expansions are expected, we find planners wanting to increase the quality of programs over increasing the quantity, ultimately leading to a more profound growth in the non-meal component sectors.

Other Incentive Travel Trends:

– North America, the Caribbean and Europe remain the top destinations for incentive travel with Central America, South America and Asia representing the second most common group of destinations for incentive travel

– Planners looking outside the box are choosing areas such as China, Bali, Vietnam and Peru most often due to improved infrastructures and the opportunities they provide for genuine, uncommon experiences

– Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) continues to grow in importance for planners with 47% of them integrating it with their programs

– 62% of respondents said they are interested in utilizing wellness programs

– 60% of incentive travel planners are implementing social media to enhance onsite, pre and post event communications.

An incentive travel program is designed to motivate employees, customers or clients to engage in a certain behavior with the hopes of generating a particular result. These results may include increasing sales, ensuring customer satisfaction or creating greater loyalty. An incentive travel program is a proven form of motivation and increasingly, those who qualify for these rewards want a more robust experience where items on their personal bucket list are checked off. Clients are realizing that a higher quality program with fewer participants generates a greater behavioral change than a large program with no “WOW” factor.

To organize a trip that hits the mark, incentive travel companies need to have great industry relationships and connections, innovative ideas and the experience to manage all the elements. With over 30 years of experience in the industry JNR can help make your dream incentive trip a reality. If you would like more information on how JNR can provide your company with the tools to engage your workforce, please email jnrinfo@jnrcorp.com.

Suggested Reading:

Traditional Advertising vs. Incentive Programs

Group Travel is the Number One Motivating Tool

Safety Incentive Program Saved Massey Energy $5 Million

Pharmaceutical Sales Incentives: A Case Study

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Stephanie Thomas

______________________________________________________________

JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.