What is more motivating than sending top performers out of this world for an incentive trip? Pam Kressley and Lori Cassidy, co-founders of the new individual travel incentive company Gift a Trip, recently arranged a buyout of a space capsule as part of a three-day immersive experience for the winners of a Texas Lottery.
The pair partnered with Space Perspective to craft a unique, six-hour journey in a luxurious capsule with a bar and a restroom that flies 100,000 ft. in the air (just over 19 miles) and stays at the edge of space for two hours while passengers observe the curvature of the earth before floating down for a gentle water landing and being picked up in a luxury yacht to return to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on Merritt Island, Florida.
“This may be normal 10 years from now, but it is really attention-getting now,” said Kressley. Already, the trip is more approachable than it was in the past as instead of the millions of dollars a trip may have required in the past, the price tag is now about $100,000.
Whether it is space travel, cruises or hotel packages, the two Royal Caribbean International alums are focused on filling what they saw as a void to provide incentive houses and companies with an easy way to offer flexible certificates for everything from holidays and anniversaries to performance metrics. “We are all about providing a solution for those looking to reward and recognize on a turnkey basis,” said Cassidy.
Cassidy stressed that the programs they offer are not meant to take the place of organized incentive travel. “This is not to replace group events, but to supplement,” she said. “People need an off-the-shelf solution in their sales toolbox.”
The pair started with 25 brands and negotiated offerings to build a marketplace of “collections” at levels ranging from $1,500 to $10,000 for two guests, including taxes, fees and gratuities. All certificates apply similar terms and conditions, are upgradable, have no expiration date or blackout dates. Companies can choose just one brand or ask for a custom trip. Even airline certificates good for up to three years in any dollar amount are available. “Recipients want choice to travel where they want, when they want, with whomever they want,” said Kressley. Companies want a turnkey solution they can implement quickly with no surprises.
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That personalization is a function of the expanding job types being included in incentive programs and the wide variety of definitions by qualifiers of all ages and interests of what is rewarding. Glamping—a popular offering for Gift a Trip—may not be everyone’s idea of a relaxing way to spend a week.
Even the notification of the gift can be personalized. Most are delivered digitally, but companies have the option of a customized signature red gift box with their own logo and personal message. Alternatively, Gift a Trip can create a white-label website featuring company logos, customized product selections, cart checkout and secure logins to get participants excited about the options.
Cassidy reported that financial and insurance companies were the first to see the value, but others have contracted as well when they saw how simple the program was to use.