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

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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.

Interested in an All-Inclusive Trip for Two to Tahiti?

Who isn’t? Unfortunately, when incentive program budgets get cut many immediately opt for a slimmed-down communication campaign. Your fabulous trip to Tahiti becomes your best-kept secret, and you don’t see the desired behaviors or increase in performance from your participants.

Here is a simple, two-step Cliffs Notes guide to communication and incentive program success:

  1. Fund it
  2. Have a Strategy

In order to have a killer communication strategy, start with the basics:

What is your objective? Define the desired outcome for the entire incentive program, and what series of smaller objectives do you have to achieve for this goal. What elements of your communication will create program awareness, inspire performance and deliver program information?

Who is your audience? Identify your target audience and the characteristics that are relevant to this particular group. These characteristics include demographics, personality traits, attitude, values and if available, behavior to past communications.

What is the message? The success of an incentive program has direct relation to the perception of the program’s value. Expectancy theories of motivation and achievement hold that the effort exerted in pursuit of a reward is directly related to the value of the reward offered for that performance. Communicate that value by staying relevant to your audience and highlighting benefits that are important to them. Our words, tonal quality, creativity, brevity —all the thousands of symbols that we use, intentionally and unintentionally—are perceived and translated according to our audience’s perceptions, shaped by age, gender, culture, intelligence, and the experiences unique to every individual.

What are your channels? Identify which communication tools will trigger a response from your audience.  Your audience’s age, gender, education and culture have also shaped the way they learn, respond and communication to different communication channels. Do you need to integrate online and offline, personal touches, and how many times do you need to reach this audience to breakthrough?

Are you measuring? Evaluating analytics and the audience’s response to different mediums of communication and making proper adjustments is key to connecting and maximizing their engagement.

Give your incentive program a chance to thrive. Fund it, understand what your audience needs and expects, and adapt your messages accordingly to enhance the likelihood of achieving your program goals.

For further reading on communication campaigns, click here.

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 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.

Gateway Canyons Resort: Discovery of the Unexpected

Just days ago, I found myself at a fork in the road. Would I choose the same safe route I’ve always chosen or would I choose the road less traveled? In the end, I climbed through the window of a Pro Baja truck alongside a professional race driver and enjoyed the ride of my life on the off-road track at Gateway Canyons Resort in Southwestern Colorado. At times I thought I was on a roller coaster on steroids or the classic tilt-a-whirl ride at a county fair. As others who have experienced this adventure will attest, the smile never left my face.

Wait, what? You want me to back up? Where’s Gateway Canyons Resort and where’s Southwestern Colorado? Is it near Denver? Gateway Canyons Resort sits on the opposite side of Colorado from Denver about an hour from Grand Junction and two hours from Telluride. Okay, you recognize the name Telluride? Good.

For those of you who are not familiar with the area, Southwestern Colorado is a land of great scenic diversity, and within a two hour drive, you can experience majestic mountains, quaint towns, incredible deserts surrounded by towering rock formations, breathtaking canyons, raging rivers, and pastoral valleys. It is my ultimate favorite destination to visit.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I learned about Gateway Canyons Resort as there has not been a luxury resort in this particular area of Southwestern Colorado. I love the resort’s web site. As a member of Noble House Hotels and Resorts and affiliated with Associated Luxury Hotels International, Gateway Canyons benefits from larger than life pictures and exceptional marketing. In this case, however, a picture only says a thousand words. In fact, my desktop picture on my work computer is the below image taken on my husband’s cell phone camera, and I only wish I could transport myself like a character in a sci-fi movie through my computer screen into the picture. I would be back there in a heartbeat.

Maybe you’ve thought Colorado is boring, not luxurious, two dimensional. I believe anyone who has been to this area would beg to differ, as did John Hendricks (creator of Discovery Communications, i.e., Discovery Chanel and TLC) when he was first introduced to the Four Corner states. He tells the story in his 2013 released book A Curious Discovery of a trip to Kenya in the 1980s with the film crew from the BBC. When asked what they felt was “the most dramatic landscape they had seen”, they replied not with New Zealand, China, Scandinavia or South Africa but “the American Southwest” (Hendricks, p 330). Out of all of the various destinations they had traveled to and filmed, they chose a little corner of our country.

Shortly after this trip to Kenya ended, Hendricks went on the road looking for the perfect spot to develop a resort. Destiny brought him to Gateway, Colorado, a secluded high-desert paradise set down in the center of five startlingly beautiful and unique canyons. And so, the rest is history.

General Manager Rudy Sharp and his sales executives are quick to preface that Gateway Canyons is not the resort for everyone, so if you are only looking to relax poolside 24/7, then this isn’t the place for you. But if you are looking to replace the ordinary with the extraordinary, then you should consider Gateway Canyons for your next destination.

Now, don’t get me wrong; there’s a time and place for rejuvenating and relaxing, but out of the four days at the resort, I spent maybe an hour poolside. There are just too many incredible adventures: kayaking, mountain climbing, attending the pro-Baja truck driving school, driving ATVs, horseback riding, or participating in the soon to open evolution of weaponry. Piqued your interest yet?

With the philosophy of, “you want to create it, we’ll make it happen”, Gateway Canyons stands out as a signature property to surpass your participants’ wildest expectations. You want your VIPs to drive from the airport in exotic luxury cars owned by Hendricks? Sure thing. You want to do a progressive dinner in his classic car museum? We’d like nothing better. You want to shoot dynamite in a canyon? No problem. You want to try yoga on horseback? Okay. You want your participants to be comfortably uncomfortable? Definitely!

To sum it all up, I only wish I could put into words and describe through pictures this one-of-a-kind destination. But it is definitely a place you need to experience firsthand. Like my experience choosing to ride-along in the pro-Baja truck, there are moments in your life that you have to choose the road less traveled. So you’ve never thought of Colorado for your incentive or meeting. Well, open up your horizons to this incredibly dynamic destination. I heard so many people over my weekend there say, “I just never would have thought of Colorado. Now, I know differently.”

And, if I may say, JNR has been transforming the ordinary to the extraordinary for over 34 years and would like nothing better than to create an out-of-this-world program for your distinguished guests at this destination.

Discover the unexpected in Southwestern Colorado.

By JNR Incorporated

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 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.

Why Travel Incentives? Beyond the Research

I recently had a client ask me: “How do you know that Travel Incentives really work?”

There are statistics, and lots of them, proving the value of travel as a motivator and reward mechanism. See Incentive Research Foundation for more details on that.

But I could tell he wasn’t convinced with the “data” I presented. So I went about it another way. So simple, but it seemed to be effective. See if it resonates with you…

Allow your mind to picture a specific time in your life that you were happy. Think of a couple of times like this.

I would place a bet that you’ve pictured yourself somewhere with someone. As much as we also enjoy those moments alone on the couch watching TV, our best times in life are usually spent with others. And very often, they are spent somewhere special.

Did you picture a trip somewhere? A beautiful beach or exciting zip line? Maybe you pictured getting married? Having a baby? Accomplishing a goal? Playing with your kids?

When developing an Incentive or Meeting Travel Program, I always remember that we have the privileged job of designing experiences for people that involve putting them somewhere with someone. I know it’s these moments in people’s lives that have the power to stay with them and perhaps make a difference in their outlook.

I believe our industry does more than only educate, motivate, train and reward. We create memories and joy when we do it right. Now without sounding too lofty, when we take measurement of our impact on the world, I for one am proud to be part of an industry that makes people happy.

Oh . . .I can’t forget the strong close . . . .call JNR to help you create memorable travel programs!!  Really, we will make you and your participants happy.

Contact us by emailing jnrinfo@jnrcorp.com, giving us a call at 949.476.2788 or visiting the Incentive Travel section of our website here or blog titled “Incentive Travel May Be The Key to Engaged Employees” here for more information.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Vicki Kern – Vice President, Travel Planning

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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.

Spanish Spotlight: Pebrots Farcits (Catalan Stuffed Peppers) Recipe

February’s Russian Spotlight marked the beginning of our “JNR Shows You the World” series. Join us as we now head west to Spain.

Luckily our tour brings us here in March and we find ourselves visiting Spain while the Las Fallas Festival is taking place. Unique and crazy are a few words that describe the festival that involves creation and destruction of massive cardboard, wood, paper mache, and plaster statues. This week we will take a look at Spain’s second largest city, Barcelona, where JNR has organized many enjoyable incentive trips for clients.

Barcelona, the capital city of Catalonia, Spain, is rich in culture, beauty and history. It is a bilingual city with both Spanish and Catalan being official languages and has much to offer in the form of entertainment, media, fashion, the arts and food, all within a beautiful seaside setting.

Barcelona is situated in the northeast coast of the Iberian Peninsula, facing the Mediterranean Sea and has a subtropical climate with mild humid winters and warm, dry summers. It is a pedestrian-friendly city and the sights can be enjoyed on foot almost year-round. The perfect place to start is La Rambla, where talented street performers, vendors and chic cafes all meet in a tree-lined pedestrian mall. The Gothic Quarter begins next to La Rambla and it is worth exploring its charming, twisting streets and medieval buildings on the way to the famous Picasso Museum.

If it is art that interests you, then you cannot pass up the opportunity to see Joan Miró and Salvador Dalí’s magnificent works, both within the city. Venturing through Barcelona you will come across the outstanding architecture of Antoni Gaudí, whose distinctive style, based on nature and religion, earned him seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Park Güell, in particular, is worth spending time at as you can discover his individual style while enjoying unparalleled views of the city.

Sport is a huge part of Catalonian culture and explains why the largest stadium in Europe resides in Barcelona. Park Nou was opened in 1957, has a capacity of 100,000 and is home to the much loved  FC Barcelona. Seeing a football game here is a must for all sports enthusiasts. Barcelona was home to the 1992 Summer Olympics and many of the venues are open for tourists to explore throughout the year.

Eating is an important social activity in Catalonia and restaurants range from contemporary, molecular cuisine to traditional Spanish food with a twist of Catalonian influence. The food in Barcelona is a fusion of different cuisines including a combination of sweet and savory from Arabic cuisines, traditional Iberian and Greek influences as well the location dictating that seafood play a major role in mealtimes.

As the food in Barcelona is renowned worldwide, we thought it would be nice to share this Pebrots Farcits (Catalan Stuffed Peppers) recipe with you. This dish is found throughout Spain and it very popular in Barcelona. You will note the Catalonian influence with the addition of Hazelnuts.

Total Time:     1 hr 5 min

Prep:     15

Cook:    50

Yield:    4 servings

Level:    Medium

Ingredients

  • Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 Garlic Clove (finely chopped)
  • 3 tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 4 Bell Peppers
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 ½ cup Vegetable or Chicken stock
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • ½ cup Hazelnuts (chopped)
  • Manchego Cheese (Mozzarella can work as a substitute)
  • Salt to Taste
  • Black Pepper to Taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 390°F. Half and de-seed the bell peppers. Brush lightly with olive oil and place on a baking tray in the oven for 35 minutes.

Pour vegetable or chicken stock into a saucepan, bring to simmer and add paprika, bay leaf and oregano. Season with salt and pepper.

Place a heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium heat and add a tablespoon of oil. Fry the onion and garlic until soft but not browned, add the hazelnuts and stir well. Stir in the tomato puree to create a paste. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to loosen the paste and stir in the dry rice. Spread the mixture evenly across the bottom of the frying pan and pour in the simmering stock. Stir well and then cover the pan and reduce to the lowest heat for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, take off lid and cover with a clean tea-towel. Place the lid back over the tea-towel and leave to stand for 5 minutes.

Remove the peppers from the oven, stuff with the rice mixture and top with grated cheese. Return to oven for 15 minutes or until the cheese is lightly brown. Dust with paprika and serve.

JNR has created many magical journeys in this dynamic city with participants enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of this dashing city. If you want more information on how to organize an incentive trip to Barcelona through JNR that will dazzle attendees and produce significant return on investment for your company, please contact jnrinfo@jnrcorp.com.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Stephanie Thomas