A Peek into the Crystal Ball for 2013 Predictions!

As we head into the upcoming new year (yikes! 2013 already!), this is a time to consult our crystal ball to forecast what may be in store for the meetings, incentives and special events industries, with the hope of predicting a bright and prosperous year ahead.  After coming out of an economic slump and concluding a fiercely competitive election, corporations are looking forward to better times ahead, which will hopefully translate to better employee attitudes, greater employee motivation, stronger employee performance, and higher employee retention levels. One of the best ways to foster this positive upswing within your corporation is through a corporate meeting or event; or a corporate incentive program.  In a nutshell, a corporate meeting or event can bring participants together to a central location to share company goals and vision; to build enthusiasm and to foster esprit de corps.  A corporate incentive program can motivate employees to reach for greater goals, with attainable rewards, such as an incentive travel program or a Prepaid MasterCard® reward program.

If you are considering a corporate meeting or incentive travel program, but are not quite sure what your next steps would be, let me assist you by looking into my crystal ball and predicting three important and rising trends for 2013.

Prediction Number One:  The first thing I see is that meetings and incentive travel programs will be selecting more international and exotic destinations to reward their top achievers.  Whether that means designing a reward trip to Aruba, Tahiti or South Africa depends on your group profile, program objectives and available budget.  My advice:  Feel comfortable to “opening up your wings” and fly further this year to motivate your participants to strive for ambitious goals.  Employees have been holding back on frivolous vacation spending, but they are tired of having to settle for “stay-cations” (vacations near their home).  What could excite and motivate an employee more than an exotic, off-shore location for their incentive travel reward or corporate meeting.  Three exotic and exciting destinations that I see trending for 2013 and beyond are, (1)  Rio de Janeiro (hosting the World Cup in 2014 and Summer Olympics in 2016), (2) New Zealand (which will regain interest with the upcoming launch of The Hobbit movies that were filmed there, new upscale hotels opening soon, as well as all of the amazing Experiential Travel options that are available in this beautiful country and (3) the incredible destination of South Africa.

Prediction Number Two:  Technology and Social Media will continue to evolve and play large roles in meetings, as well as in travel incentive programs.  Destination Hotels & Resorts recently came out with their “State of Meetings” Survey (http://www.destinationmeetings.com/whitepaper2012) and reported that “…half of meeting planners cited social media as an integral part of the planning process…” and they also “check TripAdvisory and online reviews before deciding on a hotel or resort.”  In addition, “More than 36% noted an increase in technology integration with meetings compared to that of a year ago.” JNR Incorporated is definitely ahead of this trend, as we are on the forefront of utilizing personalized mobile apps for both meetings and incentive programs; we are increasing business and client relationships through an increased Facebook presence, and utilizing social media engagement through creative contests.  We also employ strategic e-mail marketing campaigns that we carry through social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

Prediction Number Three:  Experiential travel that is good for the globe IS the future!  Corporate meeting attendees are no longer comfortable sitting in a bland ballroom, staring at a screen while being talked at.  Attendees want to interact with each other and with their environment, while experiencing something special that they can reflect on for years to come. They want to do this while “giving back”, that is by not depleting nature’s resources (aka by “going green”) and/or by giving back to the local host community through corporate social responsibility.  Once again, JNR is on the cutting edge of this “experiential giving-back” trend, offering such rewarding experiences as allowing meeting attendees to build boxes of pet supplies for pets who will be placed as companions for US veterans through a local “Pets for Vets” program. JNR clients have also built playgrounds in Hawaii, built skateboards for underprivileged children, and helped to improve schools in Mexico.  When you start to think about corporate social responsibility as a motivator and as a reward in itself, the possibilities are endless.

I only see great things ahead in my crystal ball!  2013 is going to be the perfect year to move forward with your corporate meeting or incentive strategy.  You can feel comfortable and confident getting the wheels turning to create customized programs that align with your company objectives.  Need a little help getting started?   Feel free to contact me personally at mkisser@jnrcorp.com for some thought-starters!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Matt Kisser

 Director of Planning, JNR Incorporated

Why Do Corporate Incentive Travel Programs Work So Well As Motivation Tools?


Properly designed corporate incentive programs reward internal sales personnel and outside sales networks extremely well because there are specific goals that need to be achieved and a definite timeframe in which these goals must be reached.

Companies that offer these corporate incentive programs are rewarded with increased sales revenues, while at the same time gaining a compelling platform to promote their ongoing sales messages and sustain enthusiasm.

One of the reasons that corporate incentive programs are so popular is because companies that invest in these programs are successful in attracting and retaining highly motivated and engaged participants. There is a psychological reason for this enthusiastic response, and it was actually studied at great length by psychologist Abraham Maslow. In his 1943 paper, “A Theory of Human Motivation,” Dr. Maslow identified five basic human needs. Incentive and event planners should be aware that a well-designed incentive program filfills the top three out of Maslow’s defined needs. This is why most sales people will do any and all things possible to achieve their established goals. It’s all about having a goal to strive for and making it possible for participants to receive rewards when they achieve it.


An interpretation of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, represented as a pyramid with the more basic needs at the bottom [1] ^ Maslow, Abraham (1954). Motivation and Personality. New York: Harper. pp. 236. ISBN 0-06-041987-3.

I have watched many incentive award ceremonies and observed the look of pride and accomplishment on each winner’s face as their name was announced as a top producer in their respective sales territory. I’ve seen the excitement and delight of the spouses and guests as they arrive at their dream resort destination to celebrate success with their top achiever.

Corporate incentive travel programs can yield incredible revenue results for your company and help your employees accomplish life-long travel dreams of visiting spectacular destinations. Boost the self-esteem and confidence in your top achievers. Develop the perfect incentive program and know that you have made a huge difference in someone’s life while improving your company’s bottom line.

Marilyn Froggatt
Vice President of Sales, JNR Incorporated

Corporate Reality: Disengaged Employees


Real World–Corporate Edition
The popular phenomenon of Realty TV gives us all a chance to look at ourselves from a new vantage point—as viewers as well as participants. Corporate reality is no exception, and a lot can be learned by taking the time to observe the dynamics of your organization from an onlooker’s perspective. Envision your current office environment as a Reality TV series and look at it from the outside in. You might be surprised at what you discover about your employees and work mates!

It’s no secret that individuals within organizations have an impact on those around them. According to Gallup, 72% of US workers are not engaged in their work. This means that even the best companies run potentially become harmful to the organization’s overall success.

Disengaged employees are usually employees who were once high performers, who, for some reason or another, become uninterested in their job or feel disconnected from the organization they work for. As a result, their productivity decreases, their negativity increases, and their dissatisfaction can spread like wildfire throughout the workplace.

Gallup also reports that 18% of disengaged employees actually undermine the success of fellow employees. The havoc wreaked among coworkers further increases the level of disengagement of all employees, thus presenting the company with bigger issues to address.

Disastrous scenarios that can potentially play out include:

  • When a disengaged employee speaks disparagingly enough about the company and/or management on a regular basis, this may lead to other employees becoming less engaged.
  • When a disengaged employee’s work is mediocre and/or the level of productivity is so low that coworkers become irritated and more often than not, blame management for allowing this to happen.
  • When engaged employees depend on work performed by the disengaged employee, productivity of the engaged employees can suffer.
  • When a disengaged employee intentionally disrupts or sabotages the work of engaged employees.

Employee engagement is a “real world” issue in every organization. It’s essential to have a human performance plan in place to support and reward employee engagement, to address employee disengagement, and to ensure that all members of your organization understand and support the company’s objectives and vision.

Which of these characters do you relate to in The Real World–Corporate Edition?
The “Go Getter”: A contented employee who over achieves and inspires others to reach for new heights
The “Listener”: A peacemaker who remains even-keeled no matter what flurry of emotions erupts
The “Gossip Queen”: A feisty employee who hears and sees all, and has a comfortable relationship with everyone
The “Noo-bee”: A new edition to the company, seeking to do their best to climb the corporate latter
The “Veteran”: A seasoned employee with all the tips and tricks of the trade
The “Slacker”: A distanced employee who appears neither here nor there but wants the paycheck

Stay tuned for the next episode!

Tracy Arvin
Marketing Assistant, JNR Incorporated

GAMIFICATION: More Than a Trendy Buzz Word


Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in a very intriguing seminar regarding Gamification. This topic is very hot in our industry right now, as we are all looking for new and effective ways to engage and motivate our audiences.

Gamification is simple, really–a tool designed to be fun and interactive, that connects your product with your audience and drives desired behaviors. The development of your game tool is not so simple. There are many factors that must be considered in order to create a platform that will relate to your demographic and ultimately be successful.

The 5 Most Common Commercial uses of Gamification are:

  • To deepen engagement
  • To create internal collaboration between teams + employees
  • To create collaboration between customers
  • To sustain loyalty
  • To encourage new users (e.g. employees, customers)

Gamification creates access to resources and provides an effective call to action. It is an effective tool for getting people to begin to do something. From there, the user begins to realize the value of the gamified behavior, and meanwhile, the system platform discovers and rewards the user’s intrinsic motivation using audience-specific rewards.

I encourage you to read the full presentation at http://theirf.org/direct/user/site/0/files/2012-05-31%20IRF%20-Gamification%20Deep%20Dive%20v02+polls(1).pdf so that you can gain a deeper understanding and apply this fun tool to help achieve business objectives. JNR has had the opportunity to implement Gamification models for several of our clients and the results are impressive. In today’s fast-paced, technologically-rich world, this method works!

Nicole O’Sullivan
Director of Sales, JNR Incorporated

Gamification Deep-Dive Workshop
Michael Wu, PhD (@mich8elwu)
Principal Scientist of Analytics

Don’t Put Travel Incentive Programs On The Back Burner


I’m often asked for my recommendations as to what the ideal time to implement an incentive travel program would be.  In my opinion, there has never been a better time than now to take advantage of this powerful business tool.

I’ve never understood the reasoning that has led some organizations to put their sales incentive programs on hold when faced with a challenging economy.  Having worked in this industry for more than three decades, I believe that economic slumps are precisely the right times to implement well-crafted travel incentive programs.  When designed strategically and executed properly, incentive programs provide the extra push and motivation needed to bolster sales and renew enthusiasm among the key individuals who can make or break your company’s success.

Recently, as negotiators, we’ve seen increased flexibility, favorable pricing, and added-value propositions offered by hotel, resort and cruise suppliers, so there are some tempting opportunities to investigate. The economy is improving, and incentive programs will continue to play a key role in creating and sustaining employee engagement. Those who are acknowledged through reward and recognition programs will continue to reach for new levels of success. My advice is to create a competitive advantage over your competitors by implementing strategic incentive programs immediately. Resourceful organizations are taking advantage of this time and using sales incentives as key tools for success.  Seize the moment before you get left behind.

Jim Jalet
President and CEO, JNR Incorporated