In May, I had the opportunity to participate in a fantastic meeting that brings together people making a difference in incentive travel. Joining Scott Siewert of US Motivation, we told “stories from the trenches” about the positive impacts of social gaming, sharing knowledge and ideas with the receptive participants of the 20th Annual Incentive Research Foundation Invitational meeting. In a day that began with members of their research team sharing the latest in what is happening in the industry and shifts based on history into the future, and ended with the inimitable Simon T. Bailey sharing his wisdom on how to generate brilliance, it was a day that kept people inside, and engaged. With smart, well-designed sessions developed with the Foundation and Randall Insights and moderated by Lynn Randall, we also saw a great session with two perspectives on whether meetings belong as part of an incentive program. There is no right answer. It depends on your culture, and there was lots of great input. The day also included interesting research from Dr Michael Wu of Lithium Technologies exploring how social media is impacting us in our work and personal lives and what that means as we plan for the future.
The Foundation has years of research that show specifically how well designed incentive programs, both travel and non-travel rewards, positively impact organizations – in terms of engaging the talent, improving the recruiting and hiring process, and the bottom line achieved. This research is available for review, and as an industry focused on meeting and incentive programs, better understanding why they matter is a critical step in talking with our clients about the delivery of programs that support their ongoing success. It was an opportunity I feel incredibly fortunate to have had, and look forward to the ongoing research and its outcomes and reports – with 15+ currently underway the work requires support. The support is garnered through donations, sponsorships, key partnerships and annual auctions, and having seen the results in the knowledge shared and available, can see the support benefits all of us working in the incentive industry. On behalf of all of us, I say thank you!