Selling incentive travel business is different from other sorts of travel, however for corporate or leisure agents who are able to learn the ropes, this really is a profitable niche, with potentially high returns.
“Historically it’s been the highest spend per person of any sort of group travel,” said Bruce Tepper, v . p . of Joselyn, Tepper & Associates, a travel industry consulting and training firm.
“This is also a business which includes never been driven by commission. Agents, not the suppliers, set the margins. It’s lucrative.”
Incentives may also entice agents looking for a new challenge. “It’s a new challenge as well as other and makes you learn something totally new and new methods of doing things,” Tepper said.
Step one after choosing to pursue incentive company is being willing to dedicate staff for the effort, whether it’s existing staff that will be trained or new hires committed to incentives.
Once that decision is manufactured, agents want to get training.
Now could be a good time to achieve that. SITE, the Society of Incentive Travel Executives, wants to launch a brand new Certified Incentive Specialist program by the end of year. Both the-day program is going to be intended for incentive travel newcomers and will not require membership in SITE nor any minimum experience.
Incentive travel sellers need to comprehend companies as well as their motivational goals, whether that’s inspiring staff to sell more or moving customers to get more goods and services.
Once agents understand how incentives work, they ought to start seeking incentive business from existing clients. A primarily leisure agency might mine its client base for executives or company owners. Agents who are country club members are able to likewise use that as an excellent source of prospective clients.
Incentive travel is really a natural for employee incentive travel. “Use your own customer base to identify possible leads after which find out about their employee rewards program,” said Tim Smith, president of GlobalPoint Travel Solutions, a $70 million agency in The San Diego Area, which does about 3% of their business in meetings and conventions.
“It’s much better to sell a treatment program to an individual or company with whom you have an existing relationship in contrast to chasing a vaporous potential customer. Love the one you’re with and you’ll expand your influence,” Smith said.
Identifying prospective clients
Those that want to go after new clients won’t find it hard to find prospects.
“An industry in everyone’s backyard that uses incentives frequently is car dealers,” said Tepper. “Even a tiny dealer has 20 or 30 salespeople.
“Look for distributors of anything, like Coca Cola and Pepsi bottlers. You don’t must be in Ny, Chicago or Los Angeles to start,” Tepper said.
Working together with incentive groups requires both a new mindset and new set of contacts.
“You’ll be coping with a completely different network of suppliers,” Tepper added. “Even with all the airlines and hotel companies you’ll be handling differing people.
“And, you’ve reached enter in to this thinking forget commission. We all do anything from net. What pricing we use will determine what we should sell for.”
Agents seeking incentive business also have to choose their agency’s amount of involvement. They may designate a passionate team to designing, managing and implementing incentive programs or seek the aid of meeting and incentive planners.
Operating the incentive business directly is, of course, more lucrative. It also means agents can not only take over the incentive business of clients with existing programs but may search for firms that have never had a reason program.
Another way to get involved with the business is to team on top of a conference planner or meeting and incentive house. “It could be the perfect move to make. There are many one- or two-person meeting planning firms that might want to pair track of a realtor.” said Tepper.
An alternative choice would be to partner with a company like Oyster Bay, N.Y.-based Acclaim Meetings, which works jointly with agents on negotiations, bookings, commission collection and technology. (Editor’s note: Properties of American Marketing Group, Acclaim Meetings can be a sister company traveling Market Report.)
Learning the industry is crucial
Either way, the secret weapon to success is knowing incentive programs and just how they operate, in accordance with Anne Marie Moebes, executive v . p . of Acclaim Meetings.
“An agent first needs to understand why the corporation is providing the incentive; what their goals are and why the staff member is motivated to win the incentive,” she said.
“If you recognize what’s inside it for many parties, the agent will make an educated decision of what to supply since the travel product,” she said.
“It must meet the budget and requirements of your sponsoring company but concurrently entice the winner/employee as well as their spouse or guest if they are portion of the program. Frequently the spouse can be the driving influence.”
As with every area of travel, developing relationships is very important not only for clients however, for vendors. “You should work very closely with vendors. Use preferred vendors so that you know they will go all out,” said Wendy Burk, CEO of La Jolla, Calif.-based Cadence Travel.
“Use those you will have a longtime relationship with, because ultimately it’s all about relationships,” Burk added. “The danger of handling corporate, leisure and meetings is definitely the domino effect. Should you screw up one you’ll screw up these three.”
Advice for smaller agencies
Although larger agencies with dedicated incentive travel staff may be more likely to handle incentive programs without outside help, even smaller agencies may go it independently.
Carol Horner created the Virginia Beach, Va.-based Horner Incentive Group within the mid-1900s after a long period for an agent and agency owner. She and her husband still own a travel agency but were advised in the beginning to make a different name and identity for your incentive business.
“That’s everything we did and thank goodness, because we changed our agency’s name thrice. With my incentive business the name stayed a similar right away,” she said.
All-inclusives for incentives
Like a smaller agency with annual sales of $8 million, Horner finds it easier to utilize all-inclusives in the programs. She employed to create cruise incentives however right now 49dexqpky programs featuring Mexican and Caribbean all-inclusives.
“You acquire more flexibility with land-based programs. You can do more team-building activities,” she said “A cruise is way too restricting for some people in terms of the dining. The VIP feels obligated to be with the employees every single night. And it’s considerably more lucrative to do an all-inclusive compared to a cruise.”
Help it become unforgettable
The work of the incentive planner is to create unforgettable experiences for participants.
“The most crucial thing may be the wow factor – the wow factor when it comes to the venue, the entertainment, the graphic design and the theme to thank their clients or top employees,” said Cadence Travel’s Burk.
“It could even be ordinary London or Paris, but it will be something they can’t buy off the shelf. Every aspect is going to be unique.”