Guest Column - January/February 2008

In-Suite Impact

Corporate Incentive Travel & the Need for Fabulous In-Suite Gifting

By Joe Zanone

cannot tell you how many times I have been on an incentive trip and have been given a sombrero, a set of wine glasses, a decanter, a boom box, an umbrella or a can of roasted nuts. It seems I always have something special to leave behind in my room for the housekeeping staff, and it is usually one of these thoughtless room gifts.

Not to be a grouch, but if your company is going to spend the time, energy and money to treat employees and their spouses to a wonderful trip, why would you not want to ensure the trip is special all the way through?

I have seen the pitfalls of incentive travel and heard stories from numerous people about the horrors of companies selecting the wrong gifts for their incentive trip.

To help you avoid these pitfalls, I have selected three examples of interesting and innovative gifts that went hand-in-hand with the themes of three incentive trips. I hope it helps you as you plan your next incentive travel program and look to acquire the most effective—and most appreciated—in-suite gift.

Tropical treat

When a major software company recently took its "top" producing agents and their spouses to Hawaii for two weeks, the gifts were creatively chosen to complement local activities.

The trip included a three-day weekend in Honolulu and Waikiki, a charter flight to Kauai to stay in a posh resort with spa treatments and helicopter tours, a Maui stop with sailing trips, scuba lessons and bike tours, a visit to the big island of Hawaii and volcano tours, finished off with a very restful visit to the island of Lanai, where there is nothing to do but relax. Sounds like the ultimate experience, doesn't it?

One guest told me that the room gift selections were simply amazing. On the night of his arrival with his wife, they were treated to cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and a custom fitting by a local aloha shirt maker.

In Kauai, the room gift was a Canon camera with a 1 gigabyte card so they could take pictures on the helicopter tour. Upon their return, they found that Canon had assisted in setting up a printing station so guests could print their pictures from the tour.

The creative gifts kept coming as the agents and their spouses continued to Maui, where they were custom-fitted for Maui Jim eyewear by the Maui Jim staff. On the big island of Hawaii, they were treated to high-end binoculars from Carson Optical to better view the *volcanoes. Finally, in Lanai, they enjoyed the services of a personal masseuse in each room for three hours.

Makes me wish I had paid more attention during computer classes in college.