Ideas to navigate a grounded travel incentive

Of all the rewards offered by B2B incentive programs, travel incentives have been by far the most affected. Most companies and travel suppliers we have spoken to either have cancelled or postponed their travel incentive waiting for better news on travel restrictions and easing of the COVID crisis.

This leaves many of the plans to reward customers for last year’s success on the table for discussion and future planning. We have all seen the risks that COVID presents and what the devastating impacts have been for travel.

As Australia and New Zealand report further declines in new cases, governments are taking decisions on restrictions and lifting some prohibitions. Likely for essential work, and it seems that travel won’t be part of that in the short term.

Theories abound as to when and how things will commence again. When will it be safe or permitted to travel again and where could we send a travel incentive program to? What will the corporate responsibility and governance look like in approaching travel? These questions and more are hard to answer. Especially when it comes to travel as a reward, but travel isn’t the only options to ensure customers and channel partners remain engaged and rewarded.

So, what are your options?

A huge part of the appeal for travel incentives is that they are a highly attractive reward and proven experience that any company can rely upon to encourage business partners, increase sales, and drive target achievement.

Now that you cannot rely on travel to reward and engage with your customers, there are other options that are just as effective as travel incentives.

During the past month we have assisted clients to pivot their B2B reward offer from travel incentives to other rewards to still recognise past efforts and be considered as part of any future incentives – merchandise rewards and branded cash.

The transition to merchandise rewards and branded cash (i.e. Visa prepaid gift cards) is a valuable option. Here is why.

Merchandise Rewards

When you use merchandise as rewards, you increase sales, customer loyalty and can drive sales target achievement. An extensive choice of rewards in a catalogue will boost engagement in your program as participants discover the best rewards to suit their individual style.

Using merchandise rewards in any program can offer your customers and channel partners high perceived value in the form of highly desirable items, while giving them the opportunity to work towards a reward goal and feel amazing when receiving it. We call this trophy value.

In current market conditions, where budgets may have been reduced, merchandise provides you with brilliant options of Perceived Value vs Actual Cost.

To switch to a merchandise reward program, where you can quickly deploy your existing program or build a new brand and communications destination for customers, you have options:

  • You can engage with a full-service agency that work with you to manage the program – from planning and setup to participant management and reward fulfillment.
  • Alternatively, if you want to maximise your budget and manage the program yourself you can use a DIY points platform, such as Acclaim Rewards which is fast to setup, easy to manage and the rewards fulfillment is taken care of so you don’t have to worry about it.

Branded Cash

With most businesses working from home, branded cash on Visa prepaid cards offers a fast and effective way to directly reward your customer.

Switching a travel reward value to a branded Visa card offers several benefits. Visa prepaid cards can be used anywhere, and in the current COVID world this means online. There is no other reward that can offer such a wide range of flexible reward choices. This, along with the added benefit of an association with Visa, gives your brand a stronger presence.

With a fully branded Visa prepaid card sent directly to your participants you will gain brand recall and the impact of the reward choice amplifies, making it a fantastic reward to offer and, in this case, a great replacement to travel.

With the options of single load gift cards and re-loadable cards and a range of branded inclusions, Visa prepaid cards offer products that fit any budget and become a great alternative to a travel program.

Since no one knows when travel restrictions will be lifted locally as well as internationally, companies must adapt and reward differently. The way you change and adjust your engagement strategies and use reward options to encourage business continuity with customers and partners will be the key over the coming months.

We know that travel incentives will come back at some point, but for now we have to approach things differently to stay connected and engaged with customers.

If you want to have a discussion on how merchandise or branded cash could work for your business, reach out. We will be more than happy to help.

Qantas AirNZ

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