In spite of an improving economic climate, corporate marketing budgets continue to be closely monitored and incentive travel agencies must be able to demonstrate a tangible benefit to engaging their specialist services in preference to using internal staff or in-house corporate travel agencies.
The incentive travel industry’s corporate clients are accountable for palpable return on investment and consequently it is important that they understand clearly the very real value that outsourcing brings to their incentive travel reward programs.
The reality is that the benefits of partnering with an incentive travel agency are manifold, in fact it could be said that there are no disadvantages to doing so. This article summarises the three key reasons why clients should use an incentive travel agency for their travel reward fulfilment.
Firstly and arguably the most important benefit is EXPERTISE. Specific incentive travel industry expertise is fundamental to delivering a successful travel reward that inspires winners and motivates them to succeed on an ongoing basis. Group travel logistics that an in house corporate travel agency provides, falls far short of this type of expertise. As experts, an incentive travel agency’s project team provides the client with a synergistic approach encompassing all the disciplines required to produce a seamless and successful result.
Incentive travel agencies are constantly improving and fine-tuning their expertise. They research and review current and emerging destinations, sourcing, negotiating and partnering with the best in market providers to deliver travel rewards that give them the competitive edge. To position themselves at the cutting edge of their profession, incentive travel agencies must demonstrate a clear value proposition of consistently delivering high quality, innovative and inspiring programs across the globe.
They recognize that each project undertaken for a client is required to achieve a specific business objective and that the incentive travel solution supplied must be equally specific. By channelling this expertise, clients are able to focus on their core business.
The second key benefit to outsourcing is the client’s ability to tap into a cost effective, dedicated, specialised RESOURCE that they can draw upon as and when required, without the financial burden of investing in staff and industry specific technology. By outsourcing to an incentive travel agency, clients save on staff overhead, recruiting time, training time, system and process development and all the associated expenses, yet it allows them to take full advantage of these resources when needed.
Not only that, but their incentive travel agency team is able to leverage the resources of their own extended networks, their local, national and international colleagues, for administrative support, assistance and advice where required.
Reputable incentive travel agencies are constantly updating their processes, systems and technology and identifying and recruiting the best individuals for their business. This in turn provides their clients with the most experienced, efficient and cost effective solutions.
Clients are well advised to use their incentive travel agency in a consultancy capacity to ensure they get the very best return on investment from this resource. Using them simply as a secretariat or administrative support is quite frankly a wasted opportunity.
The third major benefit is the opportunity for leverage in two key areas:
The first is to leverage the PURCHASING POWER of your incentive travel agency. Counter intuitive though it may seem, incentive travel agencies have greater purchasing power than major corporate organisations when it comes to sourcing incentive travel suppliers in destinations across the globe. This is due to the fact that their potential revenue for these suppliers is greater on a local level because they can and often do, return several times (sometimes in a single year) to the same destination with different clients.
An individual client however, even if it is a major multinational, will only chose an incentive destination once and may not return to it for several years, if at all. Incentive travel agencies therefore have much greater power and influence on pricing due to the accrual of their combined client base.
The second leveraging opportunity is the accumulated KNOWLEDGE and EXPERIENCE of the incentive travel agency’s project team. A good agency will assign an appropriately experienced project team that suits the client’s industry (experience in working with other clients in that industry) and the travel program itself (experience of specific destinations and cultures).
Since they work with different industries across a broad range of projects, they identify trends and innovations that appeal to a particular type of client audience and are able to provide the most appropriate and appealing solutions accordingly. They have already invested significantly in understanding what works well with industry specific stakeholders. Leveraging the knowledge and experience of what motivates and excites a client’s specific type of audience is critical to maximising the benefit that your incentive travel agency offers.
Moreover, not only does the client benefit from leveraging the agency’s knowledge of what works well, but they also benefit from what has not worked or indeed the major mistakes that have been made in the past. Indeed even further leveraging is gained through individual project team members who have learnt from their own past employment and clients. An agency and its staff has already gone through the painful process of learning from previous experiences both good and bad, and their clients can benefit greatly from this.
In summary, by utilising an incentive travel agency, clients are able to leverage expertise, creativity and cost effectiveness to guarantee that their incentive travel reward program delivers a direct positive impact on the organisation’s marketing objectives and allows the client to focus on their core business.