Incentive Q+A 2012: VISIT FLORIDA

Prevue asked Cheryl Hatcher, VISIT FLORIDA’s Director of Sales, her thoughts on the trends revolving around incentive programs.

Q: Has the perception issue surrounding incentive programs lessened considerably from a year ago?

A: The recent forecast we are starting to experience in Florida is one of optimism. Companies in the incentive sector are reintroducing or bolstering programs to focus more on business growth by investing in and retaining employees and creating development and motivational programs. Florida can complement these goals while creating value for the companies. In addition, many are adding a business component to their programs and Florida is perfectly suited for the combination.

Q: Is the concept of 5-diamond “luxury” coming back into vogue?

A: In Florida, “luxury” is a term we take seriously. It is the expectation of excellence and experience. What luxury represents is different to each individual or group. Florida luxury can be defined by the pristine sugar white-sand beaches, glamorous locations, a sense of promise of creating a dream vacation, world-class accommodations or expertly manicured golf courses.

Q: What are three over-the-top “WOW” group experiences for incentive events?

A: Florida has something for everyone that can be a “WOW” experience. Golf, anyone? Florida has world-class championship golf courses and you can play year-round. Florida also has 825 miles of award-winning beaches. We have nightlife, cultural offerings, spas, nature, adventure and amusement parks. So whether you’re searching for relaxation or recreation, your “Florida Side” is calling.

Q: What can planners do to add value to travel rewards programs in Florida?

A: There are many “Value Adds” that planners can take advantage of. That can include adding a business component to the incentive program, or a CSR component that gives attendees a sense of “giving back,” feeling good about themselves while helping others. If a planner is not familiar with the destination they choose, they should consider using a DMC. These outlets often know which activities or companies are the best, closest to the properties and provide the most ROI.

Q: What trends are you seeing for golf and spa incentives?

A: Golf and spa incentive trips will remain extremely important. Relaxation and recreation will be a major focus of incentive programs. However, we see a trend in the practice of including some kind of business component to these programs, along with a CSR activity for motivation, idea-sharing, community citizenship and improvement of work performance.