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Alliance Networking Expo
Enterprise Engagement Alliance

Meetings & Travel (June 2010)

News Briefs

Corpus Christi

New Pulse Survey Tracks Incentive Industry Trends in 2010

Incentive industry professionals think we're out of the woods as far as the economy's negative impact on program planning, but that doesn't necessarily mean more corporate dollars will be freed up this year for rewards & recognition. The Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) surveyed industry professionals during the month of April, asking them about incentive travel programs, merchandise/non-cash programs and ROI/budget considerations. The most promising data from the IRF's most recent Pulse Survey show that respondents appear to be more optimistic about the current economic climate than they were in either the Summer or Fall of last year. When asked, "In your opinion, what impact will the economy have on your ability to plan and implement incentive travel programs?" 69% say it will have a positive impact vs. only 33% in the Fall of 2009 and just 24% in the Summer of 2009. Similarly, those who say the economy will have a positive impact on merchandise/non-cash incentive programs increased from 20% (Summer '09) and 26% (Fall '09) to 41% currently. Still, one-third of those surveyed predict that budgets for incentive travel will decrease this year, while 37% say they'll remain unchanged. Things were a little better on the merchandise/non-cash side, where only 22% expect a decline (down from 51%), while 40% predict an increase and 37% say they see no change in budgets. This indicates that although there's an uptick in optimism about the economy in general, it may not translate into more money for programs – at least not yet. Other key issues and trends from the most recent IRF Pulse Survey include:

  • Image Issues Remain: Key "influencers" on program design, implementation and product selection that peaked in the Fall of 2008 have stabilized in 2 out of 3 areas (Corporate Financial Forecasts and Competitors' Reactions to Programs). But Sensitivity to Program Extravagance remains high, having risen from 45% to 64% between Fall 2008 and Spring 2010, making it the second most important influencer (Figure 1).
  • Growth in Individual Travel: Respondents were asked if they anticipate their award strategy using more individual travel and fewer group trips, either temporarily or permanently. Although two-thirds predict no change in policy, 29% see some movement from group to individual travel. A similar question found that 24% see movement from merchandise awards to individual travel, and 21% see more use of debit/gift cards.
  • Increased Involvement by Procurement: While most respondents anticipate no change with regard to the involvement of Procurement/Purchasing departments in incentive travel programs, 44% agree that their involvement will increase by some degree. Similarly, 38% say Procurement/Purchasing's involvement in merchandise/non-cash programs will increase in 2010.
  • More Domestic Travel: Although nearly half of respondents (47%) felt there would be no change in the basic make-up of incentive travel programs in 2010, another 42% predict a shift from international to domestic destinations, and 47% say the average length of travel programs will decline.

Shreveport-Bossier Convention & Tourist Bureau

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ICCA Publishes Country and City Rankings

The International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA) recently released its annual rankings of the world's most popular association meeting destinations. Once again, the U.S. and Germany were the two most popular countries for international association meetings, while Vienna and Barcelona topped the list of the most popular cities. The top 10 countries for international association meetings in 2009 are:

1. United States (595)
2. Germany (458)
3. Spain (360)
4. Italy (350)
5. United Kingdom (345)
6. France (341)
7. Brazil (293)
8. Japan (257)
9. China (245)
10. Austria (236)

The top 10 cities for international association meetings, meanwhile, are:

1. Vienna (160)
2. Barcelona (135)
3. Paris (131)
4. Berlin (129)
5. Singapore (119)
6. Copenhagen (103)
7. Stockholm (102)
8. Amsterdam (98)
9. Lisbon (98)
10. Beijing (96)

For more information, including the complete country and city rankings, go to @@http://www.iccaworld.com/

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Landry & Kling Announces Strategic Alliance with MCI Group

Cruise Events Specialists Landry & Kling have announced a strategic alliance with MCI, a leading global association, communications and event management company. The partnership agreement includes Landry & Kling company Seasite.com, the first cruise portal dedicated to the cruise meetings and events market. Under the new alliance, MCI will promote the use of cruise ships for group meetings and events accessing Seasite.com services and resources including cruise sourcing, contract negotiations and planning tools. In addition, MCI will request Landry & Kling services for its clients who require cruise logistics custom planning services,  from the pre-event planning phase through on-site event implementation. To support the ongoing partnership, Landry & Kling will recommend Ovation Global DMC (part of MCI Group) to its customers who require Destination Management Services such as port excursions, special events, or group transportation at key Ovation locations. These destinations include (but are not limited to) Malaga, Valencia and Barcelona, Spain; Cannes, Nice, and Monte Carlo, France; Livorno, Rome, Naples, Sorrento, Taormina, and Venice, Italy; Stockholm, Sweden; and Hong Kong.

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Starcite Debuts Online Community Powered by i-Meet

StarCite, Inc., a leading provider of web-based solutions to help manage corporate meetings and events, and i-Meet.com, the professional and social network for people who plan meetings and events, recently announced a strategic partnership and launch of an online community available to customers and prospects worldwide.  Leveraging i-Meet's fast-growing network to power its offering, StarCite's new Online Community will feature connections to industry-leading technology and a communications platform for users to connect with over 20,000 industry professionals around the world. Through meta-tags, keywords and matching member interests, the community will publish important industry and brand information on a one-to-one basis directly to its members. In addition to connecting users with a thriving global network, StarCite's Online Community will also offer a series of "hot spots" or groups that will be available and hosted by industry professionals. They will serve as virtual forums for members and can be either open or private. To round out the experience, additional features include "friending" others, "following" suppliers and subscribing to existing blogs or publishing new ones.  New members can join the group at @@http://www.i-meet.info/StarCite.html

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Global Green Alliance Launches at IMEX

A collaboration of three of the world's most renowned eco-friendly convention centers was officially announced at IMEX on Tuesday May 25th.  The Global Green Alliance, made up of Arena and Convention Centre Liverpool, Cape Town International Convention Centre and the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, is a combined effort to promote industry best practise for hosting sustainable events across the globe. The initiative, which was a direct result of relationships forged at the 2009 ICCA Congress in Florence, emphasizes helping clients 'go green' when choosing where to hold meetings. "IMEX will provide us with the pedestal we need to project the Global Green Alliance to all potential buyers, media and existing clients," says Kerrin MacPhie, Head of Sales at BT Convention Centre, part of ACC Liverpool. "The affiliation we're embarking on is set to give the meetings industry a breath of fresh air – especially for those event organizers searching to encompass CSR and sustainable targets to their events."

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Insights From ESM Meetings & Incentive Travel e-News

Industry Campaign Advocates 'Face Time'

A grassroots industry campaign called "FACE TIME. It Matters." promotes the benefits of meeting face-to-face. Nine leading industry trade associations have adopted the campaign theme that was developed under the aegis of the Convention Industry Council (CIC). It is based on the findings of a recent national survey of corporate and association meeting planners, plus in-depth personal interviews with the industry's leading executives, as well as focus groups consisting of corporate and association executives, business travelers and professional meeting planners. According to the research:

  • Face-to-face meetings build trust and relationships
  • Education and training are more effective in a live setting
  • Live meetings actually save time and money
  • Live meetings result in a more effective exchange of ideas
  • Face-to-face meetings provide the human connection that powers business
  • Face-to-face meetings create jobs and power the economy.

"We're very excited about the launch of this grass roots campaign," says Gregg Talley, Chief Strategy Officer for the CIC. "The Convention Industry Council and its members will utilize the message to promote the irreplaceable benefits of human interaction and relationship building that may only be realized only through face-to-face meetings." Roger Dow, President and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, adds that "The FACE TIME campaign will bring home the critical 'human side' of the meetings value equation. When combined with our 'Meetings Mean Business' effort and Oxford Economics compelling findings on the positive financial return from meetings, it becomes crystal clear how important meetings are to talent growth, business development and the economic vitality of our communities." For more information, click here

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In the Next Issue of Engagement Strategies Magazine

The June/July issue of Engagement Strategies Magazine is out! Here's a look at what you'll find inside:

Collaboration: More than the Sum of its Parts

A pair of articles examines this critical building block of engagement from two different perspectives. The first, Internal Collaboration: Why Partnering Works, by Rodd Wagner and Gale Muller, Ph.D., notes that great partnerships don't just happen. Whether your joint mission is to build a great company, coach a team, improve the government, do something spectacular for a charity, or any other worthy goal, all successful partnerships share the same crucial ingredients. The second article, External Collaboration: When You Can't Do It All, looks at some of the companies in the engagement marketplace that have successfully used collaboration to expand their reach through alliances and partnerships. To make sure you get your copy of Engagement Strategies Magazine, go to @@http://www.enterpriseengagement.org/account/login/ and update your subscription today!

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At American Airlines, the People are the Process

Sue Gordon has been with American Airlines for over 20 years. As a result of her vast and varied experience, she not only knows American Airlines and the American Way very well, she also understands very clearly how the company's internal communications and branding efforts work to promote employee engagement and employee retention, while at the same time contributing to a more positive customer experience. In other words, she's seen it all – what works and what doesn't. "From 2001 to today, our industry has essentially been in turmoil," she says. "But we found the most traction by involving employees in the business. This is where we've seen the greatest process improvements and the greatest cost savings. It's where we get our best ideas and the greatest amount of buy-in, by involving our employees from soup to nuts in the process." Read more in the current issue of Engagement Strategies Magazine.

Enterprise Engagement Alliance

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News From Selling Communications Inc.

Engagement Links Directly to Higher Sales

An in-depth review of a 2009 annual meeting of a major healthcare provider reveals that a comprehensive engagement strategy can help increase sales and boost profits. Researchers from the ROI of Engagement Group and the Enterprise Engagement Alliance recently measured the return on investment (ROI) from a gathering of brokers and management personnel that featured a program of training, relationship building and networking opportunities designed to increase sales and profits in specific markets and engage channel partners. The report, The 'ROI in Channel Partner' Conferences – A Case Study, found that the engagement program translated into brokers presenting and quoting the company's products more frequently, which in turn resulted in significantly stronger reported sales from event participants. Specifically, 94% presented the firm's products more often; 98% quoted them repeatedly; and 90% reported greater sales of these products. This is the third major research study released by the Enterprise Engagement Alliance examining the effectiveness of corporate engagement strategies. The company in question (referred to in the report as "Allsante, Inc." at the company's request, due to competitive reasons) wanted to measure the effectiveness of the "Allsante, Inc. Encounter" conference and come up with hard data against which to make decisions about improving future programs. Initial results reveal that the program had a profound impact on the way brokers thought and felt about Allsante, its products and its people. A copy of the study, The 'ROI in Channel Partner' Conferences – A Case Study, can be downloaded at: @@http://www.enterpriseengagement.org/

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Connect Your Marketing to Transactions

Does your organization have a transactional website to handle bulk sales of merchandise to qualified buyers or points programs for incentive companies? The incentive industry is one of the few areas of business that doesn't have a true transactional model to support its end-users and incentive companies. The Corporate Rewards Exchange is a cooperative effort of leading brands, incentive fulfillment firms and incentive companies to build a new distribution channel for sale of gifts to corporations, incentive companies and marketing services firms. The CRE enables brands to tap into a large ad hoc market for bulk gifts and rewards in a way they can carefully control, providing a powerful means for incentive companies to more effectively use their products in reward programs via a highly automated billing, redemption, tracking and customer service system. It's designed to support all of the current players in the incentive marketplace by providing a more efficient means of offering rewards to end-users and incentive companies, at a very low cost. For more information, please for a demo.

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About Selling Communications Inc.

Selling Communications, Inc. is a fully integrated, target marketing, media and technology agency that improves results for clients by focusing on the people who matter most. We can help your business grow and save you money by targeting key prospects, getting their permission and strategically integrating your marketing and sales communications with the specific audiences most likely to affect your business performance.

Take advantage of these SCI services to improve your business development:

  • Results Marketing Agency Solutions: Identify and get permission to communicate with the people who matter most through an integrated program rooted in permission-driven databases, direct mail, e-mail, Web sites, brochures, newsletters, public relations and sophisticated telephone sales that produce results. Go beyond the traditional sales and marketing approach by providing useful information and resources to build better, more measurable relationships.
  • Target media: Build your brand and bring it directly to your power buyers through our stable of established niche print and online magazines in the sales, marketing and meetings fields (including this newsletter).
  • Integrated Communications Technology: Build permission-based databases through Solata software to effectively communicate with the people who want to hear from you and precisely track the results in real time. Solata is also available to other media companies and marketing agencies seeking to profit from integrated, permission-based marketing and communications.

For more information on Selling Communications, its products and services, contact Jim Kilmetis at 914-591-7600, ext. 229 or send an e-mail to .

Tapping new customers, and keeping those you already have, costs less than you'd imagine...

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