Secrets to Incentives That Keep Giving

Meeting Planning

An incentive trip that will be remembered long after the bags have been unpacked often includes creative gifting. For insights on how to give impactful gifts, Smart Meetings asked a veteran in the industry, Tom Romine, president of Cultivate.

Over the last eight years, the company has carried out more than 2,600 gift experiences, serving hundreds of thousands of happy guests in more than 47 countries. So, it’s safe to say they know a thing or two about gifting. How does he suggest you amplify your incentive trip?

It starts with a question or two, Romine says.

“I love your new handbag. Where did you get it?”

“Cool sunglasses! Are those new?”

Questions such as these set the stage for people to talk about their success. The gift is proof that they own the bragging rights to the trip they earned, and are inspired to win again the next year. “The goal is to make people feel valued as individuals, rather than mere numbers in a large company,” he says.

Further, he finds that attendees appreciate efforts to make their gifts personal. “When thinking about planning a gift experience, be sure to consider whom you’re gifting, their values and the message you want to communicate,” Romine advises. “Use these elements as your guide and keep your guests in mind when choosing gift items for events.”

Romine suggests rating a gifting program based on three factors: choice, asirational appeal and frequency. He calls this the Cultivate Gift Score system.

It All Starts with Choice

The foundation of any gift program is the level of choice. Everyone is unique, so a one-size-fits-all approach never truly works. Providing the right amount of choice ensures that all guests find gifts they love. However, having too many choices can be overwhelming. That’s why it is important to strike the perfect balance between too few and too many choices.

Understanding the Aspirational Appeal

Aspirational appeal adds another dimension to gifts by breaking down barriers between guests and premium products from top-of-the-line brands. These aren’t items people need, but they aspire to own them. They are great products from great brands that people will rarely splurge on for themselves. Lastly, they are well-known brands that are unlikely to go on sale, so receiving them as a gift is sure to be inspiring.

Frequency of Use Matters

How often are your clients going to use the item you’ve gifted to them? When people frequently use a gift, they continue to feel appreciated long after the occasion. With continued use, the gift-giving experience and the people involved in it become more memorable.

The foundation of a great gift program is simple: Offer your guests the right amount of choice so they can select a gift to love. Think about a great gift you’ve received in the past. How many times did you talk about it, and how great did it make you feel to receive it? That should be your goal with every gift program you create. Allow your guests the opportunity to feel appreciated months after your event, and they’ll still be bragging about the incredible gift they received.