The Realities of Travel Operations

After two prep days (and two nights of disjointed sleep due to jet lag) arrival day is finally here. Welcome packets are stuffed, room gifts wrapped and we are ready to rock and roll! As a meeting planner we spend months meticulously planning every last detail down to the pattern of china for the gala event or how to word an amenity card. On a larger scale, we have to painstakingly plan how to move 90 people (and their luggage!) from three nights in Prague to two nights in Vienna, which is not an easy feat. But with the right partnership of hotels and suppliers it can go off without a hitch and be a huge success.

Yet there are always elements out of our control such as weather or a migration of refugees through Europe. Currently I am dealing with the latter. While my heart goes out to the refugees, my ultimate concern at the moment has to be for the care and safety of my attendees. Fortunately our program moves south from Prague to Vienna, against the flow of the migration.  We are on a privately chartered train that ends at a local train station just outside Vienna and will not be arriving in a large international station flooded with refugees and heightened emotions.

My local partners have assured me that all is calm in the Vienna city center and from what I see on the news; there is nothing to contradict those statements. But I have to be proactive and plan for contingencies, first of which is concerning myself with attendees post-extending in Germany. At this moment the German borders are closed preventing train travel between Austria and Germany.  Therefore we have had to assist a few attendees in booking flights to their next destination. I am also prepared to add security in Vienna should the situation change for the worse.

While many of you only see the glamorous side of this business, there are very real realities we have to deal with that we could have never anticipated months ago. Instead, we have to be a buttoned up with the details we can control so if a situation does arise, we are ready to jump into action.

We have three more days until we travel to Vienna and are moving forward as planned. But as I sit here at 1:45 AM (thank you jet lag) watching the BBC World News, I am monitoring and planning for the unexpected.

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Written by Laurel Axelrod

JNR Spotlight: Trending Now

 

So, what have you been up to?

I’ve embarked on an exhilarating sundowner safari in Kenya’s spectacular Masai Mara North Conservancy and hiked to the gorillas in Uganda’s deep and mysterious Bwindi Forest. I’ve even trekked with the elephants at the luxurious Four Seasons Safari Camp in Chiang Rai, Thailand.  I’ve sailed to the West Indies’ Nevis and partied on the beach of the breathtaking Ritz-Carlton Aruba.  I’ve gazed out at brilliant Lake Geneva from the terrace at Fairmont Le Montreux Palace, and I’ve explored the unforgettable Champs-Elysées, dined at one of the most exclusive clubs and discovered true joie de vivre in Paris.  I’ve made visits to Madrid, Marbella, Barcelona, Prague, Vienna, Puerto Vallarta, Alaska, Maui, the Dominican Republic, Cancun, Argentina, the Bahamas, and New Zealand.

A whirlwind adventure for sure, and it’s all been on paper.

Gotcha, didn’t I!

Our team of travel professionals daily finds delight in creating unforgettable and incredible travel experiences for our passionate and dedicated clients.  It’s what we do. Creative vision artfully becomes living words, phrases and literary images, breathing life into each destination, hotel and event, and the process begins with the question, “What is it about the destination that makes it one of those, ‘I. have. to. go. there. now,’ places?”  It’s the lure of the effervescent energy and party lifestyle in New Orleans…It’s the anticipation of living a celebrity’s dream on a private yacht on the French Riviera…it’s the thrill of getting up-close-and-personal with Big Five game animals in South Africa….it’s the glamour of an exclusive hotel buy-out in the picturesque Tuscan countryside.

The world that we work with at JNR is progressively getting larger.  And we like it.  With technology seeming to daily grow leaps and bounds, an evolving new generation of savvy, tech-smart entrepreneurs, and an increase in the draw of specialized travel, it’s no wonder our clients are seeking the newest, the brightest, the most exclusive, and ultimately…the very best.

So, what are current travel trends?  In one phrase: there aren’t any.  Change is the only constant, when the entire world is your stage.

Always dreamt of that unattainable destination?  We’re up for the challenge.  Let us create an extraordinary travel program for you and your guests that will leave you positively breathless.

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Written by Katharine Heinz

Katharine Heinz has been with JNR for nine years, first as a Desktop Publisher and now as the Planning Business Administrator. When she is not researching the next hot destination or hotel, she can be found at home enjoying her family.

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JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom incentive 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 in 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.

JNR Spotlight: How Popular are Incentive Travel and Prepaid Incentive Card Programs?

An Incentive Federation study of US businesses confirms that incentive travel, prepaid incentive cards and merchandise are popular tools for business leaders seeking to boost sales, reward their employees, customers, sales teams and customers. A total of 74% of US businesses spend $76.9 billion per year on non-cash award programs to achieve their performance objectives.

The value of incentive programs goes beyond its monetary return on investment.  The number one “secret” to success according to the CEO’s of the top companies in America: Motivate Your People. Target audiences (employees, dealers and customers) are inspired to perform at a higher level or remain loyal in exchange for an incentive reward. It is no coincidence that many of the most profitable companies (those with revenues over $1 billion) are those implementing the most incentive programs (89%), and in turn, also have engaged employees, positive workplace cultures and a better bottom line. In fact, 100% of “best-in-class” companies (those with the highest customer retention and sales growth numbers) offer group travel to recognize year-end sales success. (Aberdeen Research)

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For more tips on how to engage your employees, increase productivity, generate sales and improve employee retention and loyalty:



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By JNR Incorporated

Written by Kelly Woolsey

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JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom incentive 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 in 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.

JNR Spotlight: Incentive Travel

Buying lavish goods is one way people attempt to create happiness, but what is the best way to spend your budget ensuring lasting engagement and creating a loyal relationship between you and your employees? Not only should companies aim to make their customers happy, but the cost savings associated with a loyal workforce should always be front of mind.  A recent study conducted by Gilovich reveals that spending on experiences leaves a more significant and lasting impression than material possessions or cash when motivating employees.  If happy employees and high retention rates are what you seek to achieve, consider the following.

Gifts are exciting to receive but the happiness that goes along with it may only last for a short while.  If you want to have the most impact with your gift giving, research suggests that spending money on experiences such as tickets to an art exhibit, outdoor activities through team building or the opportunity to travel to a new place becomes an ingrained part of our identity and gives the recipient a memory trace that can last for years.

Here at JNR we can help you create memorable experiences through a customized Incentive Travel Program made to fit your company’s needs. Give your employees, investors or channel members a lifetime of memories with a journey to a magnificent destination that offers numerous activities to create a trip of a lifetime.  Recognition with something like travel will help solidify your employee base creating a reciprocally loyal relationship that companies strive for.

Another unique benefit to offering Incentive Travel Programs is the organic nature with which the reward’s perceived value increases over time. Gilovich explains that once people have the chance to talk about the experience with coworkers, family and friends, their assessment of the experience increases. For example, one might have been frightened of zip lining through a tropical jungle but when they return home and have the chance to talk about the trip with others, the activity is revered with high regard and the story around it becomes an important piece of their character. For over 30 years JNR’s commitment to quality of service has been instrumental in creating stories of thousands of individuals while increasing the ROI of clients worldwide.

In addition to creating company loyalty, a new study reveals that a well-executed Incentive Travel Program can increase sales productivity by 18 percent and produce an ROI of up to 112 percent. An Incentive Travel Program is extremely rewarding for everyone so don’t wait any longer and set up your trip today!

If you would like to learn more about Incentive Travel destinations, please contact JNR Incorporated. We are happy to set up a time to talk about creating an incentive program that fits your organization’s needs and desires. Give us a call at 800.343.4546, or email us at jnrinfo@jnrcorp.com.




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By JNR Incorporated

Written by Tatum Dumont

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JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom incentive 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 in 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.

 

 

JNR Spotlight: Planning an Incentive Trip to Australia

Although the plane flight can be long (14 hours from Los Angeles International Airport to Sydney Airport) an incentive trip to Australia can be worth the while with dramatic beauty, hidden gems and modern cities.

Organizing an incentive trip to Australia starts with deciding where to visit. Australia is huge. There is no way to ‘see it all’ with less than six months there. If the trip is between one and four weeks it is best to choose one or two or three from the list below so that participants really enjoy their time without feeling rushed.

Top Cities to Choose From:

Sydney

Sydney is an obvious choice. While not the capital of Australia (that’s the often missed city of Canberra), it is the largest. Situated on the Eastern coast with a population of 4.7 million, Sydney is a magnificent mix of art, heritage and relaxation. As soon as participants get off the plane they will notice that the rush of everyday American life is lost and people seem to enjoy a more leisurely pace.

What to see

There is no shortage of things to see in Sydney but there are some standouts not to be missed. Optional activities for participants should include climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, an afternoon at Luna Park or Bondi Beach and a jet boat cruise around Sydney Harbour. With over 40 shows a week, a night at the Sydney Opera House is a perfect highlight to an incredible trip.

Where to stay

Pier One Sydney Harbour features Federation-style architecture with a contemporary feel. This hotel is built on and over the water of the Sydney Harbour and suites and guest rooms feature original timber and ironwork from the historic Pier One Wharf.

Where to host an event

The Taronga Center boasts a location like no other. Built on the magnificent Taronga Zoo grounds, this venue had magnificent views of Sydney Harbour (including the bridge) and the event space was recently refurbished and now includes exclusive on-site caters with menus designed by head chef Sean Connolly. This location also allows for participants to share some time with local and unique Australian animals.

Where to eat

Café Del Mar in Darling Harbour possess a breathtaking view of Darling Harbour with its third story, waterfront location.

The Winery in Surry Hills is not to be missed with its fantastic ambience and even better food.

Quay is known throughout Australia for its culinary endeavors and perfect location nestled between the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House.

Mr. Wong showcases some of the magnificent Asian food that Australia has become known for. Enjoy authentic, steamed dumplings or peaking duck in the timeless colonial furnishings of this venue.

Special Events

There is always something happening in Sydney. One if the most extraordinary is Vivid Sydney – an annual celebration of illumination, color and art that transforms Australia’s largest city into the world’s biggest outdoor art-gallery.

Melbourne

This cultural hub of Australia is brimming with spectacular architecture, festivals and hip cafes.  One of the city’s most memorable tourism campaigns was “Lose Yourself Melbourne” and this is easy to do with magnificent laneways to explore and hidden art around every corner. Melbourne is known for having amazing transportation which makes it easy to see much of what Melbourne has to offer.

What to see

The Melbourne Cricket Grounds (MCG) is a spectacular sporting venue that will leave participants in awe.  Whether watching a cricket match or an Australia rules football (AFL) game here or simply taking a tour of the structure, the MCG will surely impress.  A walking tour of Melbourne’s famous arcades and laneways will take participants through fabulous street art, chic cafes and great venues for shopping. The Royal Botanic Gardens are the perfect destination for an afternoon picnic and the Eureka Skydeck 88 will offer you 360-degree views of this magnificent city.

Where to stay

Park Hyatt Melbourne features world-class design and a central location. It sits 13 miles from the airport and in close proximity to the city’s attractions.

Where to host an event

Crown Melbourne is a great venue for events, meetings and conferences with a central location and onsite expertise.

Where to eat

It is common in Melbourne to find “Feed Me” menus at high end, cutting edge restaurants.  Here groups can pay a set amount per head and enjoy a range of dishes distinctive to that restaurant. This is a unique way to experience all that these fabulous eateries have to offer. If a venue has this option, take advantage of it.

Union Dining in Richmond focuses on fresh and local produce and has a distinct Melbourne identity. They are known for their flexibility and open-mindedness when it comes to organizing dinners for any group size with the wine room opening out onto a roof top terrace with views of the city.

Bluestone sits in the heart of Melbourne’s city and is dedicated to drinking and dinning. It is named after the bluestone used to construct this heritage listed building and has a charming and rustic atmosphere. The food is market driven with an Australian feel – participants can even try emu and kangaroo!

Special Events

Melbourne has festivals showcasing food, film, art and music throughout the year. Anytime is a good time to visit Melbourne as there is sure to be something unique on.

Adelaide

Adelaide is one of Australia’s best-kept secrets. Over the past decade this sleepy city has turned into a top destination for international and domestic tourists. With beautiful beaches, great shopping, a magnificent wine region and some of the best events in Australia, this city deserves a spot on your itinerary.

What to see

The newly redeveloped Adelaide Oval is a great stop for all sports fanatics. This historic venue hosts cricket and AFL matches and dates back to 1871. Participants can find a huge range of retail stores in the beautiful pedestrian mall, Rundle Mall, in the city centre – make sure to grab some Haigh’s Chocolate which is local delicacy. Cleland Wildlife Park is set amongst the gum trees in the Adelaide hills and gives participants a chance to get up close and personal with local wildlife including kangaroos, koalas and pythons. An afternoon at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens and Adelaide Zoo showcase the city’s beautiful parklands that coat the city center with an emphasis on being ecologically responsible. The Adelaide Central Markets are a must-see that caters to foodies with fresh, local produce.

Where to stay

Crown Plaza Adelaide is a beautiful, modern hotel set in the heart of Adelaide city. It is one of Adelaide’s newest hotels and is sure to please all participants.

The Playford Adelaide is a continually evolving, Art Nouveau property that combines classic style with contemporary luxury.

The Majestic Roof Garden Hotel combines elegance with spacious rooms and boasts a beautiful rooftop garden with unrivaled views over the east end of the city.

Where to host an event

The Adelaide Town Hall is one of the most charming and historical venues in Adelaide and has a range of rooms to suit different attendance rates. The atmosphere is enhanced in this heritage building by the regal clock tower and imposing Victorian era presence stands. With its prime location in the heart of the city, your guests will be thoroughly impressed by this venue.

The Adelaide Convention Centre overlooks the visually stunning River Torrens and Park lands and has rooms to suit all numbers and styles of events. This is the more modern option for venues in Adelaide.

Where to eat

Situated in the Adelaide hills is the charming German town of Hahndorf. Participants can enjoy a leisurely morning exploring the hidden gems and tasting the fresh fruit before finding one of the many gorgeous bistros and cafes to have a bite to eat.

Set in one of Adelaide’s beautiful laneways is Chef Jordan Theodoros’ newest venture: peel st. The venue radiates a warm atmosphere with exposed brick and beams, recycled wood panels and floor to ceiling windows and the food will make you fall in love with Adelaide dining.

Auge Restaurant boasts some of Adelaide’s best Italian food and can create the perfect mood and ambience for a corporate function of up to 140 people.

Special Events

The Fringe Festival is like nothing you will experience anywhere else. This event takes over the city of Adelaide every year in February and March and is so popular that cities all over the world are trying to replicate the model. The Fringe draws international comedians, musicians, circus acts and actors but also allows anyone with a show, exhibition or cultural event to register and be a part of the largest art event in Australia. Pop up venues are everywhere across the city including parks, warehouses, laneways, hotel rooms, cafes, theatres, art galleries, town halls and empty buildings. Every night, the parklands come alive and people descend upon ‘The Garden of Unearthly Delights’ to enjoy the summer air, the amazing food, the lively music, carnival rides and a cocktail in a double-decker bus.

The Clipsal 500 Adelaide is an annual motor racing event held each March with the race taking place through the streets of Adelaide. V8 Supercars are watched by over 250,000 people in hotly contested races.

 

Top Experiences to Choose From:

The Great Barrier Reef, Port Douglas

The Great Barrier Reef makes it onto many people’s bucket list and for good reason. The reef hosts some of the most vibrant fish and corals in the world and takes home the award for being the largest living thing on Earth.

When not exploring the reef participants can enjoy a truly unique experience at the Wildlife Habitat’s Breakfast with the Birds. Guests will enter a giant aviary to share a breakfast of fresh fruit with colorful macaws, parrots and other native birds.

Uluru

Sometimes referred to as Ayers Rock, Uluru is a great place to visit not only because of the grandeur of the rock but also to give guests a true experience of the spectacular Australian Outback.

Kakadu National Park and Katherine Gorge

Kakadu National Park is located in the Northern Territory and is home to crocodiles, kangaroos and over 280 species of birds. The park is surreal in its beauty and sure to please participants.

The Barossa Valley

For the wine connoisseurs in your incentive travel group, the Barossa Valley is a must see! Located 40 miles from Adelaide, the region produces some of the best wines in the world. Explore some of the stunning vineyards and take in the beauty of this area.

If you would like more information on how JNR can organize a truly spectacular incentive program to Australia, please call us at 949.476.2788 or email info@jnrcorp.com.





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By JNR Incorporated

Written by Stephanie Thomas

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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.