The Incentive of a Lifetime
Sales & Marketing Management
Magazine, December 1999
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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
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.
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