Magazine & Newspaper Articles
Online Feature Stories
Video Spotlight
Customer Praise

Wanted: The Incentive of a Lifetime
Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, December 1999

There’s the old adage that you can’t buy happiness. But you can buy experiences- in the form of personalized incentives that can make sales people so happy and motivated that they’ll not only blow away their quotas, but maybe even stick around to make next year’s, too. Which would make you happy.

In fact, rewarding sellers with individual incentives is an increasingly popular way to boost performance. According to American Express Incentive Services, 40 percent of all incentive planners chose individual incentives as a reward. “One size sure doesn’t fit all anymore,” says Bob Vitagliano, executive vice president/ CEO of the Society of Incentive & Travel Executives (SITE). He explains that the shift reflects changes in demographics and in the way people work.

“Let’s face it, our culture has changed to a great degree…now we’re living in a service economy; a lot of people don’t have a sense of company loyalty,” Vitagliano says. “I think that that’s why individual incentives are growing so much. The fact that they can be individualized is what makes them appealing.”

That’s not to say that group incentive trips are unappreciated, but to be effective they must have the wow factor that incites employees to work for them.

Gregory Lee Patrick, founder and CEO of Tours of Enchantment in Houston, arranged a trip to Rome and Venice for clients and salespeople at rock station KLOL 101 FM in Houston. But it wasn’t the Italy you’d find in any travel agent’s office. Patrick rented a princess’s palace and recreated the period of Nero in A.D. Participants were led to the palace blindfolded, then greeted by chanting monks dressed in custom-made togas. They were given a banquet, and attended a staged version of Nero’s wedding.

The trip’s price at $4,200 per person is average for Tours of Enchantment. And as incentive planners explain, managers should shift their mindset when it comes to budgets. “Its not necessarily about cost, but creativity,” Patrick says.

Back to Publicity