The Best Sales Incentive Destination is…

One of the most effective ways to inspire sales professionals to perform to the best of their abilities and supercharge the bottom line of their employing company is to effectively incentivize them. While monetary compensation, perks, bonuses and gifts are valuable incentive tools, the power of experiential travel incentives is unmatched.

Elite salespeople are often rewarded for their victories in sales incentive programs by receiving trips that are typically called “Summit Club” or “President’s Club” and send them to destinations around the world for a vacation.

The destination choice for participants is extremely critical to the success of the program. While a trip to South Africa will be sufficiently enticing to most, it may not be realistic financially. On the converse, a trip within a four hour drive of your office may be low cost and easy to plan, but few will strive to win.

Incentive travel planners are tasked with the challenge of maximizing destination appeal and minimizing cost to achieve the greatest incremental performance increase for the lowest cost to optimize return on investment (ROI).

A recent study surveyed sales professionals in an attempt to determine what destination they preferred for sales incentive trips and found the following:

Ranking of Destination Preference

  1. Hawaii
  2. Caribbean (Jamaica, Bahamas)
  3. Machu Picchu
  4. Mountain Resort (Aspen, Vail)
  5. Florida Beach (Pensacola, Miami)
  6. Las Vegas
  7. New York
  8. Disney Theme Park

How The Trips Were Earned

Landing in the top 10% for overall sales quota is the most common way for survey respondents to ensure a spot on a trip.  Other common benchmark goals for winners were achieving 100% to 125% of quota in a specified sales period.  If you are designing a program, these might be appropriate program rules to utilize.

Did the Trip Increase Motivation?

73% of respondents either responded “strongly agree” or “moderately agree” when asked if the trip influenced their motivation to work hard. The most common response was “strongly agree” which is quite encouraging data if you are looking to prove the value of these programs to senior management.

Did the Trip Increase Job Satisfaction?

76% agreed that club incentives influenced their job satisfaction. Those satisfied with their job tend to exhibit higher rates of performance, productivity, efficiency and loyalty.

Did the Trip Influence Job Performance?

77% agreed that club incentives influenced job performance. The incremental sales gains yielding from three quarters of your sales force’s increased efforts can provide quite impressive ROI.

What is the Typical Size of Companies Offering Travel Incentives?

78% of companies with 251-1000 employees and 60% of all companies utilized travel incentives for their sales team. If your company has 251-1000 employees and is not offering travel incentives, you may be putting your organization at a disadvantage.

Suggested Reading:

Why Travel Incentives? Beyond the Research” – JNR Travel Planner Vicki Kern uses her 17 years of experience in the industry to explain why travel is such a strong motivator for salespeople.

Peru: A Dynamic and Dramatic Incentive Reward Destination” – JNR Director of Planning Matt Kisser lends his 20+ years in the business to give you insight on how to do an incentive trip to Machu Picchu in style.

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.

Prepaid Debit Cards Are Effective Incentive and Reward Options

Prepaid debit cards are a specific type of gift card pre-loaded with a fixed monetary amount. In 2012 alone, $77 billion worth of transactions took place using these rectangular pieces of plastic. It is not surprising that businesses of all types are reaching out to reward both consumers and employees with prepaid cards and their popularity continues to soar. Curtis Arnold of Forbes cites 9 creative ways to use prepaid debit cards in a recent article including: door prizes, employee incentives, event attendance, blog giveaways, and tax refund payments. We want to focus on the effectiveness of these cards in the recognition of not only employees, but also customers, dealers and channel sales personnel.

Over half of the companies that give out non-cash rewards utilize some type of gift card. There are three basic categories. The first type is a debit card offered by credit card companies or banks that can be spent virtually anywhere credit cards are accepted. It is usually pre-loaded with a fixed amount, but sometimes able to be recharged. The second is a retail or manufacturer gift card offered by household name retailers, hotels, airlines, and restaurants. These are typically valid for face value and customizable with company logos or specific product imagery. The third type is a debit credit card. These cards appear to be a standard credit card issued in the user’s name. There is a fixed amount deposited toward the card balance initially and can be spent anywhere credit cards are accepted.

There is an ease of use and flexibility that comes with prepaid cards that benefit the recipient as well as the issuer. Aside from the more obvious sense of appreciation that comes with receiving a gift of material worth, a less obvious response is now being recognized as well. Confidence is an underlying form of appreciation when someone is given a card in his or her name that, due to the economy’s impact over the last seven years, may not have the opportunity to use a credit card otherwise. This provides a level of self-assurance that cannot be replicated with cash rewards and in return, loyalty.

On the issuer’s side, a prepaid card comes with straightforward shipping, customizability, the simplicity of recharging a card without incurring the cost of a new card each time, and an inimitable display of gratification for one’s patronage. Prepaid cards can be used in a multitude of programs at all levels producing a sense of fulfillment and motivation across the spectrum from sales incentives to non-profit event attendance motivators.

The pros of gift cards include:

  • A Plethora of Options – Nearly every retailer and many consumer product manufacturers and travel-related companies offer gift cards.
  • Wallet Power – Unlike cash, these cards will often stay in the wallet of the recipient for an extended period of time, serving as a constant reminder of the generosity from the issuer on the branded card.
  • Ease of Distribution – Shipping a card in the mail is extremely quick, easy and inexpensive.
  • Ease of Use – A majority of cards can be used online or at retail outlets.
  • Popularity – Prepaid cards are the most common gift for recipients. An impressive 44% of IRF survey respondents said that prepaid cards were their favorite type of award. When given the choice between a prepaid card or cash equivalent, five times as many respondents chose the prepaid card. Further, over 71% of respondents said that gift cards are either the “best of all gifts/rewards” or “a good gift/reward” while only 8.47% said they would rather have cash.

When you break it down, the pros of prepaid cards make it a worthy investment for any company or organization.

The prepaid debit card industry is booming for good reason and you need an expert in the field to walk you through the process of effectively using cards and effectively growing your ROI. If you are interested in learning more about a JNR Incorporated prepaid debit card program, please send us an email at We will fill you in on how we have been leveraging our relationship with MasterCard® rewarding the employees, customers, and channel personnel of our Fortune 500 clients to consistently exceed their expectations.

To read more on prepaid debit cards, check out our research here.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Kristopher Hewkin

8 Steps To Effectively Implement Employee Incentive Programs

“Properly constructed incentive programs can increase performance by as much as 44 percent.”

Source: The Incentive Research Foundation (IRF)

The brief quote above is the most direct answer to the question: “Why do I need to utilize incentive programs for my business?”

Deciding that you are ready to begin offering incentives to your employees, channel members, dealers, and other sales personnel is the easy choice. Implementing a plan that will be effective and demonstrate a high return on investment consistently is the difficult part.

Thankfully, we’re here to help with and pass along some priceless knowledge that the IRF shared with us.

8 Steps to Effectively Implement Employee Incentive Programs” is not the catchiest title, but it just might be the most important thing you read all day.

1. Assess The Situation

When management decides that there is a lack of motivation and substandard performance levels present in the organization, it’s time to conduct a “gap analysis” and see where the difference lies between objectives and actual performance. If the assessment proves that incremental levels of effort and motivation can close the gap between “desired” and “actual,” then an incentive program may be the perfect tool to implement.

2. Select A Program

Quota-based incentive programs and rewards that are based on quantifiable, challenging, yet attainable performance benchmarks are recommended. Awards are administered based on surpassing these goals and are constantly adjusted and perfected.

3. Provide Work Value

Incentives increase performance based on the level of value that individuals assign to their goals, objectives, and successes at work. The key is to build stronger commitments, administer valuable rewards, enable communication, and constant support that make the contributions of a worker meaningful. This is the secret to motivating people.

4. Establish Training and Communication

After incentives that employees value and strive to achieve are in place, it’s time for them to put their skills to work. Enabling the success of your employees in their pursuit of incentive awards can be assisted by offering training and appropriate communication.

5. Support Your Employees

The only way to gain the trust of employees and their buy-in is to ensure that all rewards are given fairly. Disbursing, administering, and distinguishing awards fairly is the first step. The next step is to make certain that all employees trust and understand that you are doing an effective job on this step.

6. Appeal To Emotions

The most impressive performance gains are always produced when your employees are emotionally engaged. Inspired employees who have an emotional stake in the awards and a healthy competitive spirit are so crucial to program success.

7. Measure Results

The IRF stresses the importance of measuring three motivation outcomes at all stages in the program: active choice—the effort to complete the work as specified, commitment persistence to succeed continuously and mental effortthinking clearly.

8. Analyze and Gauge Feedback

Incentive programs are like any other investment and should be constantly evaluated against objectives and cost. Once the analysis is complete, it’s time to start the process over and refine and improve to optimize results.

Many companies do not possess the adequate resources, experience, and knowledge necessary to put an effective program in place as laid out above. Fortunately, we here at JNR have over 30 years of experience repeating this process with a multitude of clients from different industries and of all different sizes, including Fortune 500 entities.   

Give me a call at 800.343.4546 or send me an email at to discuss setting up a program. Whether you’re looking to manage your program in-house or have us provide some help, I am happy to talk! Our blog at is also a great resource with weekly postings on similar subjects.

By JNR Corp

Written by Kristopher Hewkin