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Meetings & Travel (February 2010)

News Briefs

Corpus Christi

Maritz Buys AEIS

Maritz Holdings, Inc. has bought American Express Company's minority interest in American Express Incentive Services (AEIS.) As a result, AEIS is now entirely owned by Maritz Holdings and its affiliates, and Maritz executive Mike Donnelly has been named Chief Operating Officer of AEIS. Terms of the agreement were disclosed at press time. Following this transaction, AEIS will continue to operate as an independent entity but will change its corporate name and re-brand itself before the end of 2010. For the past 13 years, AEIS has been operated as a joint venture between Maritz Holdings and a subsidiary of American Express. "AEIS operations will remain mostly as they do today – our clients and cardholders can expect business as usual," says Darryl Hutson, AEIS CEO. John McArthur, Senior Executive Vice President of Development for Maritz, notes that "The prepaid card space is a growing market, and an excellent opportunity for Maritz and AEIS to grow our business together. We're looking forward to exploring and developing a wide array of new solutions for our clients." For more information, go to www.maritz.com

Wilmington & Brandywine Valley

IRF Releases Incentive Travel Data

A recent Pulse survey by the Incentive Research Foundation reveals several indications of (slightly) rosier times ahead. While the industry is not quite ready to breathe a sigh of relief, these results indicate a brightening outlook as practitioners plan programs for 2010. "Cautiously optimistic is the term I would use to describe the overall message in the data from the survey," says Mark Peterman, Chairman of the IRF Research Committee. "Our sense is that companies may have been sitting on budgets for the past 10 months or so waiting to see how things were going to play out and whether there was going to be more pushback from the media and community regarding incentives." Some highlights from the Incentive Industry Trends 2010 study:

For more information about the IRF's Incentive Industry Trends 2010 study, go to: www.theirf.org

Rapid City

Don't Miss the 2010 EEA Networking Expo!

Attention suppliers and program providers! The Enterprise Engagement Alliance will hold its first annual EEA Networking Expo at the Doral Arrowwood Hotel Conference Center in Rye Brook, NY, June 3-5, 2010. The event is designed to help organizations profit from engaging their key audiences and engineer new ways to use rewards and recognition to drive performance. A slate of interactive education sessions will enable attendees to share the latest and most effective policies, procedures, strategies and tactics in the field of engagement, offering unique, actionable ideas and information they can use to boost performance and profitability, and build relationships with all key audiences. Exhibitors representing the top products, programs and performance-improvement companies will be available during eight hours of dedicated exhibit time, as well as at other networking events and activities during the EEA Networking Expo, to share their extensive expertise with attendees. The Doral Arrowwood is convenient to all major metropolitan areas in the Boston/NYC/Philadelphia/Washington, DC corridor, located only 10 minutes from Westchester Country Airport and 40 minutes from New York's LaGuardia airport. For more information about the Enterprise Engagement Alliance Networking Expo, go to www.eeaexpo.com

Springfield First

Industry Campaign Advocates 'Face Time'

A grassroots industry campaign called "FACE TIME. It Matters." promotes the benefits of meeting face-to-face. Nine leading industry trade associations have adopted the campaign theme that was developed under the aegis of the Convention Industry Council (CIC). It is based on the findings of a recent national survey of corporate and association meeting planners, plus in-depth personal interviews with the industry's leading executives, as well as focus groups consisting of corporate and association executives, business travelers and professional meeting planners. According to the research:

"We're very excited about the launch of this grass roots campaign," says Gregg Talley, Chief Strategy Officer for the CIC. "The Convention Industry Council and its members will utilize the message to promote the irreplaceable benefits of human interaction and relationship building that may only be realized only through face-to-face meetings." Roger Dow, President and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, adds that "The FACE TIME campaign will bring home the critical 'human side' of the meetings value equation. When combined with our 'Meetings Mean Business' effort and Oxford Economics compelling findings on the positive financial return from meetings, it becomes crystal clear how important meetings are to talent growth, business development and the economic vitality of our communities." For more information, click here
 

PCMA Honors Texas Roadhouse CEO G.J. Hart

In recognition of his encouraging voice during a difficult time for the meetings industry, the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) selected G.J. Hart, Texas Roadhouse Director, President and CEO, to receive the 2009 PCMA Chairman's Award at the organization's recent Annual Meeting in Dallas. In 2009, the travel and meetings industry was hit hard by the "AIG Effect," after the insurance company received public bailout money and continued to hold high-end incentive programs. When most companies were canceling conferences and trimming meetings expenditures, Hart was championing the value of meetings and supporting the use of incentive travel programs as cost-effective and important business investments. Texas Roadhouse hosted a multi-million dollar week of meetings in San Francisco. For five days, 1,000 managing partners and their spouses gathered at the Fairmont and Ritz Carlton for an all expense paid reward and recognition program. During the conference, Hart appeared on CNBC in an iconic interview focusing on the value of meetings during difficult times. "The PCMA Chairman's Award is the highest honor PCMA bestows each year to someone who has been important to the industry," noted 2009 PCMA Chairman, John Folks at the award ceremony. "G.J. proved an important voice and advocate for the value of meetings at a crucial time and deserves to be recognized for his bravery and eloquence in the face of an anti-meetings media firestorm."
 

Van Dyke Tapped to Head Incentive Research Foundation

The Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) is pleased to announce that Melissa Van Dyke will succeed Frank Katusak as President of the organization, who is leaving the IRF effective in March. Prior to being named President of the IRF, Van Dyke was Managing Consultant, Employee Engagement Practice, at Maritz, where she helped clients build strategic recognition and incentive solutions that engage, align and motivate employees to higher levels of performance. Before joining Maritz in 2002, Van Dyke worked as a senior consultant at Ernst & Young, LLC. "I'm very excited to be stepping in to this position, because I believe the IRF is doing important work at an important time in an important industry," says Ms. Van Dyke. "Those of us who have been buyers of, providers of, or participants in incentive programs know what a powerful motivational tool they can be. With the challenges of the last year, I believe the IRF is well positioned to do crucial work in advancing the science of incentives and educating buyers, providers and business in general on their importance."
 

Chicago Show Looking for Presenters

The Motivation Show announced this month that it is accepting program proposals for the 4th Annual Conference: Connecting Engagement and Financial Results, October 12-14, at Chicago's McCormick Place. Learning tracks for 2010 include Employee Recognition, Sales Motivation, Customer Loyalty and Meeting & Event Management.  Program proposals are being accepted until March 15, 2010. To submit a program proposal online, contact Hansi Kess , Project Manager, at speakers@motivationshow.com or call (630) 434-7779

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Insights From ESM Meetings & Incentive Travel e-News

It's Time Everyone Discovers What We Already Know...

A full-court press by those in the meeting and incentive industries seeking to combat numerous media stories about questionable spending on such activities by bailout recipients is having a dramatic and positive effect. Travel industry leaders have met with President Obama to discuss the unique role that travel can play in strengthening the American economy. The meeting focused on the urgent need to pass the Travel Promotion Act, which would establish the first-ever U.S. promotion and communications campaign to attract millions of additional international visitors to the United States annually and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs. This followed on the heels of an industry meeting where guidelines (www.ustravel.org) were drafted that are designed to ensure transparency and accountability, as well as protect the one million American jobs supported by corporate meetings and events. While the metrics outlined in the guidelines are intended for the recipients of emergency government lending, other organizations may want to consider implementing the policy. We tip our hat to all the people who have taken the time to invest in this important effort – let's continue to make sure our voices are heard!

Advertise here!

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In the Next Issue of Engagement Strategies Magazine

The March/April issue of Engagement Strategies Magazine will be mailing soon. Here's a preview of what you'll find inside:

TD Canada Calls 'Wow Moments' a Great Recognition Tool

Karey Stanley, who holds the unique title of Senior Manager, Employee Spirit and Recognition at TD Bank Financial Group, says the company's Wow Moments program is a unique tool – not only for informal recognition, but for talent spotting and creating a unique customer-oriented business culture. Read more about this unique recognition/communication strategy in the March/April issue of Engagement Strategies Magazine or click here.
 

The Enduring Popularity of Gift Cards

Things have gotten so bad in the Gift Card industry that reviewing a company's financials is a necessary step in shopping for a birthday gift or adding new merchants to an incentive program, says Stacey McAllister, VP at RK Incentives and Director of Media Relations at the Incentive Gift Card Council. Recently, McAllister sat down with Nick Balestino, Manager of Award Partnerships at Hallmark Insights; Dana Slockbower, Marketing Director at Rymax Marketing Services; and Joan Travelstead, VP of Business

Development at National Gift Card Group to discuss the evolution of this adaptable and accessible motivational mainstay. Don't miss this important article! To make sure your subscription is up to date, go to www.enterpriseengagement.org/account/login/. You can also read the full article here.
 

Is the Traditional Approach to Engagement All Wrong?

Leaders have to drive engagement, says Judy McLeish, Founder and President of McDaniel Partners. Yet, according to Development Dimensions International, only 25% of senior leaders and 17% of frontline leaders are highly engaged. No wonder companies are having a difficult time making progress with broad-based engagement initiatives. To reap the full benefits of engagement, companies must first engage those who lead the effort. Find out how to get leaders more involved in the next issue of Engagement Strategies Magazine.

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News From Selling Communications Inc.

Whitepaper Connects Engagement with Economic Recovery

One of the greatest opportunities to increase corporate profits – and subsequently boost the economy – lies in motivating workforces to improve performance, drive greater customer engagement and ultimately increase revenue, according to a new report from the Enterprise Engagement Alliance (EEA) and the Human Capital Institute (HCI). The Enterprise Engagement Alliance is a coalition of companies and associations dedicated to promoting the importance of engagement, founded  last year by the Human Capital Institute, Peppers & Rogers Group, 1to1® Media and Selling Communications, Inc.

Entitled The Economics of Engagement, the report provides a comprehensive analysis of research in the field of Enterprise Engagement and offers how-to information on benchmarking tools that can quantitatively measure the benefits of employee and customer engagement. These measurement tools are critical to demonstrate the bottom-line impact of enterprise engagement, both to corporations and to the economy as a whole, using financial language that senior executives, investors and economists are accustomed to. Get a copy of the report >>
 

Connect Your Marketing to Transactions

Does your organization have a transactional website to handle bulk sales of merchandise to qualified buyers or points programs for incentive companies? The incentive industry is one of the few areas of business that doesn't have a true transactional model to support its end-users and incentive companies. The Corporate Rewards Exchange is a cooperative effort of leading brands, incentive fulfillment firms and incentive companies to build a new distribution channel for sale of gifts to corporations, incentive companies and marketing services firms. The CRE enables brands to tap into a large ad hoc market for bulk gifts and rewards in a way they can carefully control, providing a powerful means for incentive companies to more effectively use their products in reward programs via a highly automated billing, redemption, tracking and customer service system. It's designed to support all of the current players in the incentive marketplace by providing a more efficient means of offering rewards to end-users and incentive companies, at a very low cost. For more information, please contact us for a demo.

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About Selling Communications Inc.

Selling Communications, Inc. is a fully integrated, target marketing, media and technology agency that improves results for clients by focusing on the people who matter most. We can help your business grow and save you money by targeting key prospects, getting their permission and strategically integrating your marketing and sales communications with the specific audiences most likely to affect your business performance.

Take advantage of these SCI services to improve your business development:

For more information on Selling Communications, its products and services, contact Jim Kilmetis at 914-591-7600, ext. 229 or send an e-mail to jkilmetis@sellingcommunications.com.

Tapping new customers, and keeping those you already have, costs less than you'd imagine...

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EGR International Inc.

Marriott Bloomington-Normal

McBassi

Canon