The return of Incentive Travel, Conferences and Events

The opening of this post took some careful consideration. I’m sick of hearing the phrase “unprecedented times”, and whilst “we’re all in this together” may ring true on occasion, the repetitiveness of its use dilutes the meaning of the words to nothing more than polite speak.

So I’m going harder – the start of 2020 has been absolutely shithouse!

The MICE industry has been one of the hardest hit both in Australia and overseas. Cancellations have hit across the board. Many events have been postponed to 2021, which is great, but there’s no revenue in 2020 and many businesses in the industry may not make it through to 2021.

There is, however, some minuscule light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. The Australian Chamber of Tourism and the Tourism Restart Taskforce have released a timetable for the restart of business events and domestic and international travel, among other industries (see the table at the bottom of this post). It’s great that there is such a plan in place and it provides welcome relief for many businesses in the MICE industry.

The question I have though, is how will the new era of business events look?

Conferences with chairs spaced 1.5 metres apart or only 3 guests on banquet rounds?

The end of the buffet for conference meal catering? Some would say this is a good thing.

Hybrid events, where some guests attend a venue and other guests attend virtually?

Hand sanitsers everywhere? Twice as much scanning of attendees so there’s a record of their every move at an event? Twice as many coach transfers to ensure social distancing onboard?

All of the above is going to come at an additional cost, so will this mean clients are less likely to hold events, or do corporations realise that nothing can replace the relationship building and experience of a face-to-face chat at a conference, exhibition or on an incentive trip?

Only time will be able to answer these questions and the MICE industry will certainly be prepared when live events can start up again. On a personal note, I think now is the time to work with clients to prepare for the latter part of 2020 and certainly the start of 2021, to ensure that any meetings, incentive trips, conferences and events can be planned and locked in to keep building on relationships and delivering the best of events into the future.

What is different about the incentive programs implemented by TOP performing companies?

Nurturing relationships is one of the biggest attributes to the success of a business. Measuring them however can be a challenge.

One way is to facilitate a structured Reward and Recognition Program. This industry is a billion dollar business world-wide and many organisations in Australia are following suit and reaping huge benefits.

The obvious benefits that companies first look for are tangible, but what about the intangible? How do the intangible outcomes actually boost performance exponentially?

By definition, a “Top Performing Company” is one that demonstrates strong performance in the following areas:

  • GROWTH: 5% Stock price/Revenue Growth
  • CUSTOMER PERFORMANCE: 90% Customer Satisfaction
  • EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE: 90% Employee Satisfaction

Very reasonable aspirations for any organisation wanting to stay ahead of the game!

The below image explains how they do it.

As a leader in your industry can you afford not to implement an Incentive Program?

























Incentive reward – the elephant in the room

One year on from an astounding election victory and the Republicans in Washington are showing the way forward with economic growth, unemployment reduction AND less people being able to afford private healthcare. Well….I guess you can’t have it all.


The flow through effect for Australian business is positive in every sense. 

The ASX200 is climbing with the Dow Jones, economic predictions are upbeat for 2018 and the Aussie Dollar is strong and stable.

Justifiably, management is looking to maintain current marketing spend and/or increase it to capture the imagination of their target audience subsequently improving sales and increasing the bottom line.

Good thinking, we all say – let’s get down to it and show the market how it’s done. There are plenty of opportunities out there and prospective business has never been so good.

Our major disappointment in this scenario is that this is where the momentum ends. Management just doesn’t get the fact that

Motivation = creative input = expenditure

to gain better results.

Too many marketers are overtaken by fear when they see the cost of delivering and rewarding a highly tuned incentive program. It’s not the cost of actually running the program that worries them but the cost of the reward. Let’s not forget that these guys want to be seen as heroes when it comes to reward but they lack bravado when it comes to paying for it.


Many will consider a set budget  to be the required amount of funding necessary  to deliver a quantifiable and well-deserved reward. Very few are thinking outside the box and looking into the “exponential growth” ether.

It’s time marketers started looking at what they need to achive and figure out the best way to reward their high achievers. If they are governed by Head Office budgets then they need to consider:


  • Raising qualification levels
  • Reducing the number of qualifiers
  • Change the program reward
  • Factor the cost of additional qualifiers into the earning process – i.e.

Higher sales = more revenue = more funds available for reward

It is not viable to think you can keep on providing the ultimate reward for an ever increasing number of qualifiers with the same budget that has remained static for 5 years.

Dare to be different and make the most of what the economy has to offer. Go with the flow and give the market what it is screaming for:

Recognition, creativity and above all –