There is no “I” in M.I.C.E

Ever noticed how the world likes to dumb everything down to one common denominator. The ubiquitous expression “Not a problem” in response to your query as to why your bank statement is out of whack, is certainly a huge problem to the enquirer but the responder hasn’t given a thought as to how the situation should be handled.

So it is with the incentive industry. Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events are all bundled into one jumbled mess by hoteliers, DMCs, airlines and any other supplier to the event management/travel industry. My guess is it’s an economy of scale to be able to provide one rep. to cover a multitude of sins. From that formula, you have a series of suppliers who know everything about the square meterage of a ballroom, what menus are available at the drop of a hat for 250 people (banquet or cocktail, sir?) but have no clue as to why anyone would want to choose their product for incentive qualifiers.

And it doesn’t stop there. Travel is not the only motivator that appeals to every target audience. It might be the most popular but it is also the most expensive, laborious, time consuming and, dare I say it,  least profitable of all non-cash rewards.

Where does that leave us? Do as I say – take the I out of MICE

A full service Incentive House is not:

  • A travel agent
  • A sales promotions company
  • An advertising agency
  • An on-line experience provider

A full service Incentive House is just that – an agency able to provide all of the following services relevant to incentive programs:

Incentive Program design, based on a constructive client brief. The program needs to be achievable and above all, affordable. A  budget is essential at this point. No budget – no program. A good Incentive House will work with a client to establish costs vs potential sales and the % spend of GP to finance the program. 

Incentive Program structure: Identifying the target audience; creating a visible and distinguishing appearance; presenting a comprehensive yet attainable set of rules and set clear objectives. Depending on the style of program (sales, non-sales) the correct system of measurement should be implemented. 

Communication: Snail mail, fax, online, mobile apps and social media should all be considered in any strategic plan for an incentive program. Properly planned and executed, this is without doubt the core strength of your program. Without communication your program dies – along with your revenue. You need to stay on top of reporting to the participants. Keep them informed at every step. 

Reward types: Travel is popular, travel is romantic and memorable. Travel is not affordable for everyone.

We need to remember that human nature determines that most people will crawl over cut glass to be given anything they perceive to be free. Rewards = Recognition. A fistful of Bunnings vouchers will make the average worker very happy as will Apple vouchers, Coles Myer vouchers – any gift vouchers are readily accepted and acceptable.

Merchandise is more specific, but depending on who you’re targeting an on-line catalogue can be a huge motivator. And then there was our classic case – one over-qualifier asked if he could convert his points to cash (highly irregular) and pay off his mortgage. The answer had to be Yes – he had achieved his dream through our client’s incentive program.

Reward Delivery: Whatever you’re using as reward, deliver it well. Beat the drum, tell the world how great this person is/these people are for achieving target and for making you money.

A travel Agent can’t do that, a Meeting Planner can’t do that; A conference Organiser can’t do that and neither can an Exhibition Organiser.

A full service Incentive House can.