Personalising the incentive experience

Sponsored by IMA (Incentive Marketing Association)

A recent pulse check of Incentive Marketing Association (IMA) members regarding incentive travel gifting found that IMA members are seeing  a "flight to quality,” with increased demand for luxury brands, more gifting events, and higher expectations to help create memorable experiences.

Personalizing the Experience  

When it comes to on-site gifting events, IMA members had several recommendations.

  • Timing - Start by opening the gifting event as early as possible within your travel event. This allows attendees to trickle into the event in small groups as they arrive, which helps to avoid long lines and allows attendees to interact with the gift sellers in a more intimate, customized shopping experience.
  • Selection – Offer four to five gift items rather than 20 so attendees can make a good choice in a reasonable time rather than be overwhelmed. Ask about emerging brands. The top sellers in several gift categories might be new or emerging brands. 
  • Customization – Offering personalization with their name or a logo provides memories of the event later when they use the gift. 

Preferred Gifts  

  • Luggage remains the number one gift item and it’s not all about large suitcases. Everything from magnetic stackable luggage pieces to passport holders, document holders, travel wallets, and other useful items from top-name or luxury brands that can be personalized with a name or monogram is popular. 
  • Watches are a mainstay gift because they are a personal choice item, something people prefer to pick out for themselves.  While luxury is important it’s also about lifestyle, whether someone is looking for a sports watch, a casual watch, or a stylish watch as more of an accessory. 
  • Sunglasses continue to be popular. Similar to eyeglasses, frame styles, shapes, and lens colors change frequently and are selected as much for the fashion statement and brand name as the eye protection they provide. 
  • Shoes ranging from designer flip flops to top-name golf shoes and everything in between can provide fun fitting events and allow recipients to select from brands they may not otherwise purchase for themselves. 
  • Beach towels made from the latest, most absorbent fabrics provide an easy, ready-to-use onsite gift. 

Room drops, a long-time gifting strategy, are changing. They are fewer in number due to increasing delivery fees and the lack of in-person experience. They are also becoming destination specific, such as delivering raincoats in London or handmade silver and pottery in Mexico.

Surprise and Delight 

With the increased emphasis on personalization and experiences, incentive gift providers are feeling more pressure to be extra creative in finding new gift ideas and creative gifting strategies. Sometimes this involves a mix of pre and on-site event gifting. For example, consider sending a document holder to each attendee prior to the trip. Inside are tickets (examples, not real tickets) for the dinner cruise, outdoor expedition, or whatever activities are involved in your incentive travel trip. 

Written by

SITE Staff


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