Imagine going to a wedding. You don't know anyone and have forgotten your invite but still, you find the church and follow the congregation on to the reception where you find you name on the seating plan. You then discover that you have things in common with others at the table and end up having brilliant evening. It did not happen by accident.
The core to any great incentive is the registration website, that gathers information on delegates. In turn that informs us - allowing us to maximise the chance to have fun and creates strong mutual experiences.
Data is not an accident. Don't gather it accurately - don't expect a great gig.
Have you ever been to a great sporting event like the Olympics or a Grand Prix? If you have, I am sure you remember the race you watched and the pride of being able to say you you were there when that record was smashed.
But what when you sit back and look through the day, what truely makes it memorable are the details that you fondly recall. The challenges and the laughter.
The transport you took, the friends you went with, the meal beforehand, the strangers you sat next to, who became the people you smiled and cheered with, the warm glow of accomplishment as you got home.
It is the whole journey that motivates people.
An incentive is not like going to a movie; it is more like taking the family to Disney.
You cannot spend all day on the rides, you have to make room for treats and for those who like parades and others who get tired.
You build a program that optimises excitement with proximity; that everyone stays hydrated and has a turn at eating their favourite food; that no-one gets lost or hurt. A sympathetic understanding of your customers needs must drive your agenda for success.
It is not an audience of one.
'The sun is up, the sky is blue, it's beautiful...' as the song goes. Happy faces look happier in the sunshine. Holding your incentive somewhere that promises to be warm is almost a given.
But it can be worth thinking about more than sunshine. A different culture rather than temperature can also be motivating.
Cambodia or Morocco is a glimpse of an alternative way of life if you come from Dortmund. Edinburgh is a true bucket list candidates for denizens of Nagasaki or New York.
Many incentives take place in locations where they have sun, a five star hotel and maybe little else. From the comfort of air-conditioned coaches, we began to hear that watching people ride home on donkeysmade some successful people feel uncomfortable. That they are taking without giving back.
It is now a mission of ours to offer the opportunity to our clients to take part of their time and money and to give something back to the local community with a day of constructive action. We know it does not suit everyone.
We have the locations, connection and opportunities. Does it suit you?