Incentives started as merely a luxurious prize but have evolved into something more strategic and personalized, based on in-depth understanding of the participant. In an interview with Eric Mottard, director general, Grupo eventoplus for this year’s ibtm world in Barcelona, SITE board member Jennifer Glynn shares why investing in incentives is serious business.

You stress the importance of knowing the customer. Can you tell us a few examples of questions to ask in the briefing?

Understanding your customer is imperative no matter your role in the incentive industry. The challenge is to craft your questions to best suit your audience. A few examples of questions would be:

– Please help me to understand your company’s culture?

– Can you describe the target audience for this incentive program?

– What is going on in your industry (regulation changes, office closures, new product launches, etc.) and how will this impact you incentive programs? Ideally you would do some of the pre-work in advance and demonstrate your knowledge through thoughtful questioning.

– How do you define success? What metrics are you using to measure the success of this program? What is your overall ‘goal’ of the program?

These questions are helpful not only to ensure that you have met your client’s needs, but also saves you time in ensuring that you have proposed the right destination and crafted the appropriate incentive program.

Have the questions to be asked changed in any way?

You need to design a program that speaks to qualifiers personally, so knowing them and the culture and values of the company is increasingly important. Ask questions about their activity levels, their interests, how they spend their downtime (volunteering, active, hobby/interests? CSR also plays a role, seeing if the company culture embraces giving back to community. The goal is to create a unique experience that participants would not be able to do on their own.

We are in the age of extreme personalization and customization. How can incentive trips adapt to that?

Organizations are offering more personalized choice during incentive programs, but some are also offering multiple programs to choose from. Instead of offering one large incentive program, they may offer a choice of three smaller trips – one more family-focused, a traditional one or a more adventure/active one.

How can you quantify the impact of an incentive trip?

If you build an incentive program with a specific purpose, you can then measure your overall effectiveness of that purpose with surveys and financial evaluation. Incentive programs can be measured both by ROI (Return on Invesment) and ROO (Return on Objective)

In a sales incentive, you can measure the increase in sales following the incentive program and monitor to see if the increased level is sustained. Other measurements may include increases in employee engagement and retention; increases in customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Jennifer (Jenn) Glynn is Managing Partner and Co-Owner of Meeting Encore Ltd, and Vice President, Client Engagement with Intuitive Conferences + Events. She sits on the SITE International Board of Directors.