If you haven’t yet secured your 2019 incentive trip location then you are running out of time, especially if you are in search of a popular five-star incentive destination. Most clients are contracted for 2019 and turning their focus on 2020. This group of hotels is a guarantee in terms of client experience and presenting attendees with a “wow factor.” For those looking for a last minute search or getting a jump start on 2020, here is a great place to start.
The Florida Gulf Coast has a long list of hotels for MICE travel. Unfortunately the product has been a tougher sell when compared to Miami/Fort Lauderdale region of the state. A few renovations to highlight are Hilton Marco Island, JW Marriott Marco Island, Don Cesar, Vinoy, Hyatt Regency Clearwater, and Tampa Marriott Waterside. The Tampa hotel product is constantly improving with a new JW Marriott and Marriott Edition breaking ground in 2019. For those who need less meeting space they can move outside the city of Tampa and closer to one of the beautiful beaches in the area!
The 2018 incentive season has come to a close! The list of resorts below hosted our most successful President’s Club trips.
Hyatt Ziva/Zilara, Montego Bay, Jamaica
The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba
Secrets Cap Cana
UNICO 20˚87˚ is a new player to the adults only all-inclusive scene having been open just over a year this spring. From the moment you enter the property you are taken back with the décor, welcome drink, and fresh scent.
The reception team keeps check-ins quick and comes to guests at the couch versus the traditional line-up at the desk. They appoint every guest a local host who brings you to your room and gets you comfortable with the property. The host will even provide you their cell phone number for the remainder of your stay. They will help you with anything from making dinner reservations, to spa appointments, and even coordinate getting your outdoor bath prepped. It's a nice added touch! If you return, they do their best to appoint you the same local host.
The following rating is a personal preference and is in relation to a grade as a MICE property. Meeting Space refers to indoor meeting space. Please note the below numbers are best estimates as hotels undergo renovations and their meeting space and sleeping room numbers can change.
Every time a tech company brings up Las Vegas for their annual sales kickoff event I cringe. As a millennial myself, I understand the excitement of the bright lights and hoopla of Las Vegas. It's great for bachelor/bachelorette parties, 21st birthday tilts, 40th birthday celebrations, March Madness reunions, poker events, and even an annual family vacation. It truly is one of the most remarkable .8 miles in the world in terms of man-made “wow factor.”
Officially known as Hawaii, the Big Island is the largest of the Hawaii islands with over 4,000 mi². Due to the size of the island there are two main airports that travelers use, Kona and Hilo. The airlift into the Big Island is strong from the West Coast and even International with daily direct flights from San Francisco, LAX, Portland, Seattle, and Tokyo. Many large companies such as Salesforce, SAP, and Oracle host annual events on the Big Island each year therefore the hotel product is continually improving to keep up with MICE travel industry demand.
Kauai is Hawaii's fourth largest island and is sometimes referred to as the "Garden Island," which is an accurate description. This island is known for outdoor adventures, laid back atmosphere, and Hollywood films. There are amazing companies that provide unique experiences to Kauai. A few outdoor adventure partners are Kipu Ranch Adventures offers 4x4 off-road adventures, Maverick Helicopter Tours, and Kauai Backcountry Adventures Mountain Tubing Tours. Airlift is continuing to improve into the small airport, Lihue Airport, on Kauai but is still the most challenging of the four islands to fly into.
With the increase in number of flights and the price drop on airline tickets, Hawaii continues to be a busy destination for incentive travel. For those with travelers' attending from Europe, the flight distance is still a challenge but for those with offices in Australia it could be a great middle meeting grounds. We will explore the hotel products on the islands of Maui, Big Island, and Kauai over the next month of blogs.
Annual Sales Kickoff:
Many tech companies host an annual sales kickoff every January or February to help recap the previous year, set goals for the upcoming year, and announce new product launches. These kickoffs have evolved from traditional Webex meetings with content delivered to live, hands on sales trainings and/or simulation tests. With the shift in these kickoffs comes many added costs. Webex/Zoom is the low cost non personalized solution that allows companies to share their updates and changes in a concise meeting format up to 3 hours. Anything over the battery life of a computer and you start losing attendees on the other side of the screen. And to be honest after 70 minutes you lose the focus of a majority of dial-in participants. The more popular solution today is getting employees together for a 3-4 day intensive kickoff event. An important part of these events and the shift towards in person events is the positive effect on company culture. What better way to boost employee morale and get your employees to "drink the Kool aid" than put them together for 3 days in a sales training environment during the day and at night social networking events. Most kickoffs only include 4-8 hours of content and the rest has moved to a more hands-on experience. So this all leads to the most common asked question of meeting planners. Where should we go next year?
And unfortunately for most growing tech companies this comes 6-9 months before their 300-600 person event! The tech market is constantly changing with IPO's, funding, and acquisitions so meeting planning time-frames have continued to shrink while cash is watched more closely.