Last month I attended IMEX America in Las Vegas at the Sands Expo which is connected to the beautiful Palazzo and Venetian hotels. IMEX America is a worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings and events and is truly the pulse of the meetings industry. Over 3100 exhibitors from hotels, resorts, DMCs, to gift suppliers, technology companies and over 5000 buyers attended this event to meet new clients and partners for some face-to-face time.
I kicked off the week with a training to become a Certified Incentive Specialist (CIS), a program offered by Site Global. Some takeaways I learned during the two-day incentive training include:
- An incentive program is a motivational tool to foster productivity. Incentive travel is the award.
- Did you know? American Airlines introduced the first loyalty program in 1981 and is still active today. AAdvantage was created to retain American Airline’s customers by rewarding them for their loyalty.
- It is much more expensive to reward a top performer with cash rather than an incentive travel program or merchandise.
- Non-cash awards are tangible, easier to promote and cost less than cash which is better for your bottom-line!
- Incentive travel is a 61% motivator over merchandise. Incentive travel is less expensive than cash because of its perceived value.
- It is much more effective to motivate employees with incentive travel or merchandise rather than increasing their salary. You would have to increase an employee’s salary by 8.5% in order to motivate them as much as incentive travel or merchandise.
- Financial services and insurance segments use the most motivational travel programs over other segments.
TIP: Incentive Travel Best Practice
Register your group with the state department through STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program):
- You can upload a list of your attendees names and passport numbers, so should anything happen during their travels abroad, they are already in the system and the embassy in that country can be of more assistance.
- You will be listed as the emergency contact and will get text and email alerts for any warnings such as below:
- Receive important information from the embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans.
- Help the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster or civil unrest.
On to IMEX America!
Once our CIS training was completed, I was ready to experience IMEX and the tradeshow floor. Once the doors opened to the tradeshow floor the crowd rushed in and the energy was electric. From learning about new hotels and resorts to connecting with current partners to do business face to face, the experience was invaluable. See blog post, A Vegas Whirlwind: IMEX Takeaways for more about the event!