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Are you overspending for incentive tours on the wrong segment of your customers? Not every incentive provided for key customers will yield you the same returns, hence it takes real targeted spend to get the investment right. 

Group travel specialist Tracy Ellingham is increasingly convinced that companies need to be smart about how they allocate money to reward key customers. “Companies need to be clear where they are going to spend their incentive travel money. Is it going to be for new customers? Is it going to be on customers who have been loyal, or those who have increased spending over the last year?” 

She also strongly advocates being upfront with clients on what will be paid for them on these incentive travels. 

“With customer incentive tours, it is important to be upfront when you present to your customers, what they need to spend on. Often the pitfalls come when customers are confronted with what’s not included in the tours.” 

From magically lit-up beaches, dining on tables set on the shores, down to sandal drop-offs for travellers, Ellingham’s suppliers are able to provide the special touches to create memorable group trips as well as private events. 

Sometimes key customers are looking beyond being pampered. “Some groups may choose to participate in local volunteer work for a community they are visiting – for example, a recent group who travelled to Fiji did volunteer work for a local school,” she adds. 

Ellingham who has been in the industry for 20 years is affiliated to Travel Managers which links together a pool of travel brokers.  Being an independent operator means she has the freedom to choose for her clients the best airline deals, hotels, group operators, car rentals and travel insurance companies. 

Ellingham considers the following to be critical areas for companies to consider before picking their travel consultants: 

• The depth of the travel specialist’s experience 

• Is your agent TAANZ1 bonded and IATA2 accredited? 

• How much attention does your travel specialist pay to details? 

• Does your travel specialist have easy access to a network of suppliers? 

• Is your travel specialist available 24/7? 

 1. TAANZ: Travel Agents Association of New Zealand 

2. IATA: International Air Transport Association 

Tracy Ellingham



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