Space – The Final Frontier?
Our World | On 11, Oct 2012
When clients come to us looking for exciting ideas to drive performance and incentivise their staff, we always start by understanding the profile of the people we are trying to connect with. It’s pointless creating a testosterone filled, action packed travel incentive when your audience are more interested in fine dining and culture – we all know it’s horses for course. So the latest promotion from Virgin got me thinking about who exactly they were trying to target.
Never mind about an upgrade to Upper Class, they plan to give you the chance to go much further than that. In fact, if you are their top frequent flyer, you can boldly go all the way into space. Earn the most frequent flyer points with them and you can win a trip on their Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo shuttle. Usual price tag an astronomical US$200,000 a ride!
Clearly this is great publicity, headline grabbing stuff but will it actually change anyone’s buying patterns or behaviour, which after all is what an incentive is all about. Recent research by SITE showed that incentive travel is still a strong motivator with over 60% of their respondents preferring it to other non cash rewards. For me an even more interesting survey statistic was from those who did not achieve the travel incentive offered. SITE’s survey measured both achievers and non achiever and asked whether they were motivated by the travel reward offered. In the case of achievers, over 95% felt motivated (ranging from slightly to extremely motivated), however when the same question was put to those who hadn’t achieved, a whopping 90% felt the same.
Good news for incentives and even better news for the incentive travel market. However, incentives are about more than the one hit reward and the financial uplift. There are a number of broader and arguably softer, returns an employer can get from their travel incentive, which especially in these tough economic times can make the investment even more worthwhile. The public recognition element is always a huge success factor in positive employee engagement, just look at the results from any of the Sunday Times Top 100 companies to see how important it is for employees to feel valued. The more engaged the workforce, the more productive and successful they are. With travel, people also benefit from the shared experience of being away together, bonding over the experience and the opportunity to build relationships with colleagues and management.
A well structured travel incentive has the ability to influence behaviour and your audiences’ mind set from launch through to post event. Utilising engaging communications, clearly set goals and regular performance updates, enables staff to understand your vision and plan as well as work towards a common goal. And the research shows that whether they are winners or not, the right incentive impacts on employee behaviour for the better.
Now I don’t presume to know whether a trip into space is every Virgin customer’s dream reward or just a great headline to grab their attention. What I do know is that travel still motivates people to reach for the stars even if the rewards prove to be a little closer to home!
Sandra Collins, Events Team