Advantages of Social Media in Incentive Program Relationships

How Social Media Can Help Participants Build Relationships on Incentive Trips

A relationship is a connection between two entities. This connection can be between two people or even between a person and a brand or company. Social media has allowed for relationships to survive distance, differences in lifestyle and the general trend of the time-poor individual. Humans inherently want relationships and social interaction is nothing new, but it is important to know how we can help foster these connections through the use of social media.

The value of relationships to Incentive Travel

Relationships give humans companionship, support and allow us to grow and learn. The feeling of belonging to a community gives us a sense of identity. Research has found that people are happier when they are in a group setting rather than alone. Developing relationships with other participants and companies brings higher value to incentive programs and coheres positive emotions with your company and memories of the program. Salespeople can use incentive trips to get together with friends and talk about ways they can better their business and be more successful, while enjoying themselves in a relaxing setting.

Using social media we can amplify the value of these relationships.

How relationships are formed

Relationships have a lifecycle and are formed in communities, where people with common interests or links come together and make an initial connection. This relationship starts as a weak tie and the more time and attention that a connection is given, the more likely it will grow into a binding association. Once a strong connection is formed, it takes more time and attention to maintain or it risks reverting back, weakening and eventually disconnecting. When people move between communities they remain connected to their solid ties and this web of associations across different communities is known as a social network. Despite having many social network platforms, each person has one individual social network.

Social media platforms are avenues for connections and can either be a network or a community. Yelp, YouTube, Flickr and Trip Advisor are communities that bring people together through the common interest of food, videos, photo or travel. This is the initial connection stage where weak ties are formed and have the potential to become stronger bonds.

Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter etc, are all social networks as they allow you to be a part of many communities with many common links and connections through them.  Social networks form naturally through communities as people develop relationships.

Incentive programs can also work as an avenue for linkages to form as they are communities. Participants travel together, have fun together and build connections all because of their common link of working for, being a customer of or acting as a dealer for a particular company. Within these incentive programs, social networks can exist too.

How Social Media can Improve Relationships between Participant and Company

According to a study by Granovetter, there are four components that effect the strength of a connection’s tie. These are the amount of time spent together, emotional intensity and sense of closeness, trust and mutual confiding and the reciprocity within the relationship.


Companies can increase their tie strength with participants and clients by increasing the amount of time spent together as long as there is a mutual desire to do so. This means that optional meetings rather than mandatory meetings are going to bring about stronger ties. Google+ gives companies the ability to reach people from all over the world with Google Hangouts. Facebook has Video Chat and there are plethoras of other social media meeting options that companies can utilize to increase tie strength through time spent together.


Intensity is always less in a relationship between a person and a company than with an interpersonal relationship. This intensity between a company and a participant can be increased by introducing a cause that participants have a strong connection to, as they will associate this emotional connection with your company. In program communications find out what your participants care most about and arrange for that to be a part of your program. Social media can help reveal this information through personal interests disclosed on their profiles. This passive sourcing of information can be invaluable to increasing the relevance of activities and creating a tailored program to your participants.


Social media offers a level of transparency that can easily translate into trust. Social media can be used to talk to participants but also to talk with them. People generally trust their peers and by giving them a voice and a say in elements of the program, they will have a greater trust for the company. It is a great idea to set up different social media pages to interact with participants, including forums, where anyone who qualifies for the trip can pose or answer questions, as well as give feedback from previous trips.


Reciprocity is all about give and take in a relationship. To improve a relationship a company must give to the participant but also allow the participant to give to the company. This can be in a similar manner to increasing trust (above) with the participant giving feedback or sending in photos to be placed on social media. Acknowledging and rewarding participants properly for their contributions is an important aspect of reciprocity.


Creating strong ties between the company and the participant can increase the overall value of an incentive trip. Social media now gives companies an easy way to enhance all four components of a relationship: Time, Intensity, Trust and Reciprocity, producing stronger ties for lasting relationships. For more information on relationships and incentive travel, watch this webinar: Release the Power of Connections: Optimizing Social Media and Incentive Meetings by Dr. Michael Wu and Lynn Randall.  If you are interested in learning more about a JNR Incentive Program, please send us an email at

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Stephanie Thomas

Incentive Travel May Be The Key To Engaged Employees

Employee engagement has become such a hot “buzz phrase” in recent years that much of the meaning has become lost in translation. However, it is widely understood that engaged employees are strong assets to any successful company. To illustrate this point, consider that “disengaged” employees cost the US economy over $300 billion annually. Incentive travel awards may be a major factor in inspiring employees to achieve continuing success and remain engaged.

Let’s take a moment to clarify why it is important to keep an employee engaged. An engaged employee does not necessarily equal an employee who is happy and content with their job. The term goes beyond these overly simplified definitions. Workers who have an emotional commitment and attachment to the goals of their organization are considered engaged employees. These employees go beyond the call of duty and essentially do whatever it takes to improve company performance. This dedication is why they are so valuable and profitable to their respective companies.

Reward and recognition programs, such as incentive travel, are excellent methods to inspire, reenergize, and motivate employees to achieve organizational performance goals. Incentive travel, which includes group travel, individual travel, and motivational events, is often believed to be the strongest motivator of performance due to the lasting memories and experiences it creates. The journeys these employees are taken on are often virtually impossible to replicate on their own.

Key Finding in Support of Incentive Travel:

  • 4:1 Return on Investment – when implemented effectively, travel incentives generally produce this remarkable ROI
  • 76% of executives and 80% of past incentive travelers believe incentive travel “significantly  impacts employee morale, job satisfaction, and performance”

Incentive travel can be instrumental in engaging your workforce and increasing the bottom line of your organization. Properly and efficiently implementing these programs is the difficult part. The planning, operations, logistics, and site management must be flawless in order to awe the participants. If you’re interested in implementing or revamping an incentive travel program, please visit our website at or send us an email at

Source: Incentive Travel Council study “Behavioral Economics of Incentive Travel”


Did You Know? JNR Offers Full Service Marketing and Advertising!

If you’re reading this blog, it is probably no secret to you that JNR implements incentive and reward programs, but, you may not have known that we have an in-house agency, providing full service marketing, advertising, and communications as well. Our services are available even if you do not currently have an incentive or reward program in place with us!

Utilize our experienced and award-winning team of marketing strategists, copywriters, media planners, graphic and web designers to create dynamic and effective advertising, marketing and public relations campaigns. These programs will build brand awareness, communicate to your target audiences and attract new customers – effectively and affordably.

JNR’s Marketing, Advertising, and Communication Capabilities:
• Brochures and Collateral
• Public Relation Campaigns
• Advertising Campaigns
• Email Campaigns
• Copywriting
• Graphic and Web Design
• Direct Mail
• Media Planning

Whatever you need to communicate, JNR can create compelling programs that break through the clutter and deliver your message in a clear and captivating manner. Contact us at  if you’d like to see some impressive samples or schedule a time to discuss your specific needs.