I had the pleasure of attending the annual IMEX conference held in Frankfurt last week where many great discussion points were raised regarding the MICE (Meetings, Events, Conferences and Exhibitions) industry: transformation, collaboration, diversity and inclusion all focused around the theme: Imagination – Celebrating Creativity and Curiosity.
When it comes to Incentive travel (the “I” in MICE), creativity coupled with passion, is integral to the success of any service offering. But creativity and innovation can only exist if we allow for vulnerability in our workplace culture…This vulnerability enables us to be malleable to the change required to remain relevant.
Fashion this level of innovation and creativity around a client-centric framework and you’ve hit the sweet spot in regard to always meeting the needs of your key markets whilst maintaining the highest level of service.
As a business, being able to transform, collaborate, become more inclusive, and open to new ideas, more accepting of a diverse workforce – displays courage.
At least this is the case for an incentive service offering like Uwin Iwin – where everything we do is focussed around creating bespoke solutions that help our clients and their people win.
It takes a village…
Over the past 25 years we have had to keep ourselves nimble and malleable to change and 2019 is no different. We rely on conferences like IMEX and organisations like The Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) to share insights around what is affecting the industry, what customers respond to, environmental and social challenges, digital transformation, so that our service offering always remains relevant.
According to an article published by Hotels.com around trends shaping the corporate travel industry in 2019 and what customers expect: “… a general climate of economic stability, more direct flight options and a robust international meetings sector will bring tremendous growth to the industry and generate millions in revenue. Driven by emerging technologies and shifting habits, corporate travel is experiencing a fundamental change in the way the traveller is served.”
I pause to reflect on what this means for a leading provider of inspirational recognition and reward, incentive, loyalty and performance improvement solutions, and, how to keep us this way.
In 2019 customers expect a personalised approach to travel:
According to the article, “corporate travel is mainly about complying with company policies. But travel companies must put people, not policies, first.”
In 2019, data analytics is the key mechanism used to find out what your clients want and then applying creativity to this data to create truly memorable and unique travel experiences for them.
A short while ago, findings like these helped us identify a gap in the market and prompted us to develop our mobile app solely dedicated to allowing our clients further reach in their quest to incentivise and reward staff, was truly a first in the incentive space.
Right now, our Mobile App allows clients to reach out to every single participant – even in the most rural locations – and communicate. In the near future, we might even have the ability to link the app with a payment gateway, allowing participants to make payments using their mobile device as a “credit card”.
Bleisure trips trending in 2019:
Another shift to be mindful of is the idea of blending business and leisure travel in our incentive trips. Not only does this make for a more successful incentive travel trip where winners maintain the positive association with their business, but they leave a lot more satisfied that some of their individual and unique whims were also met. The magic we want to create within the experience must always leave the winners with no doubt about how much they are valued and appreciated – with this comes a great understanding of who your travellers are, great attention to the finest detail and the creative use of local flavour.
SITE Foundation’s research, education and advocacy projects on behalf of the incentive travel industry, have massively contributed to enabling us as a business to showcase incentive travel and highlight the transformational potential of travel experiences on individuals, enterprises and communities. It is magic to see this professional association of over 2,500 members located in 90 countries, working in corporations, agencies, airlines, cruise companies and across the entire destination supply chain, grow from strength to strength.
Interestingly 2019 has placed a greater focus on Experiences:
And this really is the harmonious balance for us as a business… creating memorable experiences. Motivational travel experiences create a legacy of care for winners, and, further, build strong relationships between the company’s top achievers. Individuals and teams are inspired to reach future goals to ensure participation in the reward.
Uwin Iwin remains malleable to these trends in order to innovate and create customised solutions backed by extensive travel management expertise, destination know-how and industry-specific knowledge.
In 2019 we should Make use of robotics but keep the human touch:
With advances in technology moving forward at a lightning-fast speed, the sky is the proverbial limit when it comes to what we are able to develop in terms of our client’s unique objectives and requirements.
In 2019, clients demand convenient and fast self-service opportunities. In the hospitality industry, robots greet guests, offer check-in and check-out, perform room services, show guests around, provide information and deliver luggage.
Whilst technology is amazing and we embrace it, it is important to note that a robot even with built-in artificial intelligence, cannot adapt to unanticipated situations and cannot replace human sympathy and emotions.
The incentive travel industry is and hopefully will always be a people’s industry, and the key is allowing the robots to take over the mundane tasks in order to allow humans to afford clients a more authentic experience in service making a tangible difference to their experiences.
As always, it was great catching up with SITE friends, meeting and building new ones and unpacking all the learnings that will help us shape the travel industry this year and next.
Until next time, Keep Winning!