Worldwide companies wishing to distinguish themselves must have unique traits that set them apart; an effective travel incentive program is a great place to start. Motivating employees via an incentive program is an essential part of a company’s success, but so is incentivizing dealers and partners. In the highly competitive business-to-business (B2B) environment, it is necessary to stand out from competitors. Channel incentive programs for partners are a prime opportunity to show the people with which you do business that you value the professional relationship. Global’s Grand Getaway 2018 program is an excellent example of how a stellar incentive program can build lasting and lucrative business relationships year after year.
Background & Objectives
Global Furniture Group is a global furniture manufacturer providing commercial furniture for workspaces, education hospitality, and health care . To prosper, they must rely on third-party dealers who sell not only Global’s furniture, but competitors’ furniture as well.
The Global Grand Getaway is an incentive travel program that Global hosts following a sales qualification period. The goal of the incentive program is to build relationships with Global’s top dealers, as well as convert dealers who are selling competitors’ furniture. Ultimately, the incentive program is designed to foster loyalty between the furniture company and its dealers. Participants who wish to take part in the annual event have a 15-month qualifying period to meet program requirements.
At ESG Incentives, we seek exotic locales for trips not soon forgotten. The 2018 Global Grand Getaway was held at the Kimpton Seafire on Grand Cayman, the largest of the three Cayman Islands. In total, there were 410 attendees, requiring a full hotel buyout at the Kimpton Seafire to accommodate all of Global’s guests.
Most programs have two main events that prop up the incentive program: the welcome reception and the gala. Global’s previous incentive program was awarded the top prize in the incentive industry the Motivation Masters award for their for 2017 program, so the bar was set high before we had even begun planning. We have a goal of going above and beyond expectations, and surpassing previous year’s numbers for each program we produce. After all, Global’s incentive program needed to be considered best in their industry by way of program inclusions to successfully build loyalty among the dealers.
Our mission became ensuring that Global’s gala event was unforgettable, so we departed from the commonplace dinner in a ballroom in favor of a unique and memorable experience. Many of the attendees had been rewarded via the incentive program in past years, so there was the additional necessity to keep the itinerary fresh and exciting. Otherwise, the motivation aspect of the incentive program loses traction. Along with our client we decided upon a Festival in three parts: Stroll, Feast and Dance. While exceptional in theory, we needed meticulous planning and execution to seamlessly move attendees from location to location as the night progressed.
Similarly, we wanted to come up with a final hosted event that was extraordinary. Since brunch is a large part of the Cayman culture, we chose a beachfront brunch as the ultimate experience. However, we needed to ensure the experience was elegant, formal and culturally relevant. We particularly wanted to incorporate elements from a traditional Cayman brunch into Global’s program.
The Festival, our final night event inspired by the Kaaboo festival, was created with a sophisticated environment exhibiting local arts, music and food. With a diverse itinerary, we guaranteed there was something for everyone to enjoy.
The beginning of the Festival was a promenade through island native vendors selling hand-crafted arts and goods. There was no pressure to purchase, but attendees could buy items if they wanted a memento. Amongst the vendors were fortune tellers, musicians, henna tattoo artists and other local artists. We commissioned one local artist to create a painting specifically for the Global trip, with each attendee receiving a print delivered to their home after the event. Naturally, we included a bartender offering local rum tastings.
The attendees meandered through the Stroll area, ending in the Feast area for the next aspect of the evening. We challenged the Kimpton Seafire chefs to put a high-end, local twist on traditional festival foods. They dazzled their guests with pretzels with truffle cheese, fish tacos, and grilled meats and fruits on an open fire spit. They also set up a “fried goodness” station with yucca fries and coconut shrimp.
A surprise LED jetpack performer lighting up and dancing over the ocean jump-started the Dance portion of the evening, drawing the crowd to the dance floor with a mesmerizing visual. We chose a live band, Keba and the Usual Suspects, a rising-star R&B Band from Miami, that was well-received by the attendees. Dilemma, a Grammy-nominated DJ, provided music after the live band’s set. Black light art, glow sticks and fireworks complemented the music and added to the excitement, as well as setting off the white attire attendees wore to build community and add to the celebration.
Brunch the next morning was also a big success that incorporated Cayman culture and cuisine in an elegant setting, perfect as the final hosted portion of the program. Fresh flavors and local ingredients were the perfect match to the breezy, open-air beach venue. To heighten engagement, attendees could design their own avant garde brunch hat in an activity scheduled beforehand. This unique component turned into a friendly competition with superlatives for best couple, best use of materials, etc., all of which showed how the attendees embraced the novel experience.
The most significant part of the Grand Getaway was our consistent efforts in putting Global’s brand front and center throughout the entire program, on traditional items such as giveaways, but also in the center of the hotel’s pool. This constant beacon guaranteed attendees would remember who provided this fantastic trip. Also, the high-profile Global brand location provided compelling Instagram photo-ops, which gave Global organic social media promotion of the program among the dealers.
We achieved what we set out to do, which was to exceed expectations set by the award-winning trip in 2017. Global’s feedback stated it was the best trip Global had ever sponsored, and the dealers left engaged and motivated to perform, sure to not miss next year’s spectacular trip.