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Meetings & Travel (March 2011)

News Briefs

Benchmark Hospitality's Top 10 Meeting Trends

Benchmark Hospitality International (BHI) recently published its Top Ten Meeting Trends for 2011 as observed by its properties. Overall, Benchmark Hospitality's properties are cautiously optimistic at the start of 2011, projecting moderate growth with marginal increases in spending. Looking a bit further afield, indications are that 2011 will have a strong finish, and 2012 may just be a great year. Here is a sampling of BHI's Top 10 Trends:

  • Business travel (group and individual) is up in 2011. Booking pace for most properties is outperforming the previous year's results. Customers remain highly rate conscious and value focused and demand speed.
  • Planners still see the value of all-inclusive packages – they just want these customized to suit the needs and budget of their particular meeting. How hotels and conference centers develop and structure packaging components in the future will be influenced by this trend.
  • Demand for teambuilding is back, though unevenly so throughout the country. Where there is demand, planners want unique programs delivered within tight budgets. These teambuilding programs may be culinary events, set up as Reality TV programs, or utilize other clever concepts. 

● To read the full report, go to www.benchmarkhospitality.com


Marriott Hotels & Resorts

Research Relates Business Travel Spending to Company Growth

New research conducted by American Express Global Business Travel and the Global Business Travel Association Foundation suggests that travel can be an overlooked means to gain competitive advantage, and those companies that regard travel expenditures as indirect costs to be minimized cut into a key established expansion driver. The study, Return on Investment Refresh: Travel as a Competitive Advantage, offers evidence of travel's compelling link to corporate growth, and through benchmarking data provides guidance to businesses on the ideal level of travel spending needed to drive revenue in both expansionary and recessionary periods. Additionally, it identifies industries in which the optimal level has likely been reached and industries where opportunities remain to reach their potential.

Read more at http://businesstravelconnexion.com/thread.jspa?threadID=14000004152

Small Meetings are Smooth Meetings in Puerto Rico

More than 80% of corporate off-site gatherings involve meetings of less than 50 attendees. But beyond corporations, small meeting groups can include government conclaves, incentive reward travel, small association leader and educational retreats, as well as school groups and family reunions. Whether looking for a cool, hip beachside hotel, high-end luxury resorts, budget-friendly inn or transformed historic space offering an unparalleled experience, Puerto Rico's wide range of accommodations can meet the needs of every small meeting group type imaginable – and for U.S. attendees, no Passport required! Planning a group gathering, corporate meeting or educational conference for groups of 10 or more is easy when your first stop is the Puerto Rico Convention Bureau. This award-winning team of professionals is dedicated to helping people who plan meetings look good. Dedicated to the concept of SMOOTH, the Bureau helps planners liaise with its more than 300 member-suppliers, assisting with finding the right property with the right services and amenities to best serve a group of any size or budget – all at no cost to the planner.

● For more info, go to www.meetpuertorico.com

Report: Incentive Travel on the Rise

CSI Aviation Services, Inc. saw a significant increase in requests for incentive travel in January, confirming a recent forecast that companies plan to spend more money on travel in 2011. "Incentive travel was very popular before the recession, so the increase in requests looks very promising," says Michele Martinez, Vice President of Commercial and Military Operations for CSI. "It appears that companies are now confident the economy is getting better, and they're ready to reward their dedicated employees and loyal customers." The increase coincides with a recent forecast that companies plan to spend 5% more on travel in 2011 than last year. The report also highlighted a significant rise in incentive travel, such as company retreats.

Details at www.airchartertravel.com/

Site Index Investigates Motivational Program Design

The Site International Foundation recently published its Focus on Program Content study, the sixth release of the ongoing Site Index research initiative. The report investigated the elements and design of motivational programs as determined by planners, users and destinations. The study indicated that less than 37% of programs incorporate a business aspect, but that rate is expected to rise. Fully 70% of respondents in the recently conducted Site Index Annual Survey predicted an increase in learning events. Another upward trend is the degree of inclusion of individual activities in incentive programs – 30% of respondents expect an increase in 2011.

Complete survey results are available at www.siteglobal.com

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Insights From ESM Meetings & Incentive Travel e-News

The Changing Face of Today's Travel Consumers

How is technology shaping the modern travel consumer? Well, 75% of leisure travelers look to the Internet for travel information – but do they find too much information or not enough to make an informed decision? A recent Travelport study, The Well Connected Traveller, reveals rapid changes in consumer behavior. Want to find out what 62% of travelers are doing now that they probably weren't doing at all five years ago? Travelport engaged The Futures Company to conduct global research into the end-to-end travel process consumers undertake, from inspiration to shopping to booking to post-trip evaluation. Some highlights:

  • Travel suppliers are increasing complexity through the unbundling of their products and introduction of ancillary services
  • The Internet often provides an insufficient means of navigating the vast array of travel options and only basic mobile functionality is available in most regions
  • The time required to research options is the most frustrating part of booking travel
  • Travelers like to book multiple services and add-ons at the same time.

For more information, go to www.travelport.com/customer_community.aspx

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In the Current Issue of Engagement Strategies Magazine

The March/April issue of Engagement Strategies Magazine is in the mail! Here's a look at what you'll find inside:

Authenticity, Tree-Pruning and the 'Wisdom of Crowds'

In a revealing Q&A with ESM's editors, author and motivation guru Derek Irvine talks about how building a culture of recognition offers the most direct path to engagement. To make sure you get your copy of Engagement Strategies Magazine, go to www.enterpriseengagement.org/account/login/ and update your subscription today!

Gift Card Landscape Has Shifted, Bringing New Vistas, Values

Four industry experts discuss how recent changes in the marketplace are affecting the use of gift cards as a motivational tool. Read more in the next issue of Engagement Strategies Magazine.

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News From Selling Communications Inc.

White Paper Links Social Media and Performance

A new White Paper, How Social Media is Changing Corporate Performance, discusses how lessons learned from Social Media are helping corporate employee-engagement experts capitalize on the momentum in self-motivated, peer-driven participation. Corporate recognition, rewards and incentive programs for employees are actually the unsung pioneers of the kind of 'social points' activity like we see in Social Media games like Farmville and others. By leveraging the power of online systems, corporations can provide a familiar social environment similar to those in which people have already chosen to engage during their own time. You can bring the power of Social Behaviors to your employees by offering intrinsic/extrinsic motivation rewards and recognition programs. Peer-to-Peer awards let people recognize each other. Team-based activities allow for relationship-building and trust. Wellness programs show that you care about employees' health challenges and that you want to help through education and online tools. Open 'suggestion programs' accelerate innovation by creating a meritocracy. To view the full report, go to www.dittmanincentives.com

Advertise here!

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
  • Target media
  • Integrated Communications Technology

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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