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| Written by Marie Johnson, CMP

M&IW Announces an Incentive Travel and Employee Recognition Service Expansion

For Immediate Release
Contact: Sara O’Neil
Marketing and Public Relations

For your incentive travel and employee recognition programs, winners can choose their own gifts, rewards, or travel packages through a branded portal as a pre-event gift, during an event, or as a follow-up touchpoint with key stakeholders.

Caledonia, Wisconsin (January 13, 2021) – Meetings & Incentives Worldwide (M&IW), announced the rollout of an Incentive Travel and Employee Recognition service that allows qualified winners to choose their own gifts, rewards, or travel packages from multiple merchants in an all-in-one, client-branded portal.

Ideal for virtual meetings and hybrid events, gifting and merchandising portals can be used as a pre-event gift, during an event to create a WOW moment, or after an event as a follow-up touchpoint with key stakeholders. Selected gifts are processed through a modified e-commerce system and sent via email or directly to the winner (based on the item selected). Custom packaging can also be used to create an elevated and seamless brand experience.

“In November, M&IW invited 100 of their top clients to beta test the new portal’s communication and redemption process,” said M&IW Director, Insight & Strategies, Sandy Fenili. “To do this, we decided to take our Annual Client Appreciation gifts online. We crafted custom email invitations, created individual logins, and edited the portal and redemption process to reflect the initiative. We then allowed clients to choose a gift card of their choice from dozens of online merchants or they could choose a charity in which to donate their gift,” continued Sandy. “To say it was a success is an understatement. Within one week, we had interested clients leveraging this new portal for their employee appreciation and client recognition initiatives.”

Gifting and merchandising portals can be designed for many purposes – rewards, recognition, contests, individual travel, and more. They can be built as a stand-alone service; in conjunction with an annual incentive travel program; or included as part of an on-going recognition initiative for employees or customers. They are flexible in that they can be set up using a point-based system that equates to a flat dollar amount. Or, if based on sales activities or performance goals the amount awarded can vary and can continue to grow. And, the best part, they do not require a long lead time to set up.

According to a study conducted by the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) on the Industry Outlook for 2021: Merchandise and Gift Cards, there is a net increase for gift cards and merchandise. They reported that while people still have an appetite for experiential rewards, it is likely that employers are being cautious given the continuing pandemic. Additionally, gift card activity has risen, merchandise activity has held steady, and incentive travel budgets have not been cut as deeply as they might have been. Per person spend on reward and recognition programs is unchanged, and the rate of program cancellations is no higher than the previous year.

They concluded that merchandise and gift cards also proved to be effective motivators to broader audiences during the pandemic. Looking ahead, the use of smaller spending on merchandise and gift cards can help “move the middle” and broaden the reach of incentive programs. Tiered incentive programs can include merchandise and gift cards in the second or third tears rather than travel.

Moving forward, we believe organizations will embrace merchandising and gifting as part of a larger reward and recognition strategy. Our focus is on solutions with a high perceived value and longer-lasting effects. By mixing and matching successful reward vehicles for our clients they are positioned to optimize their program.

Learn more about M&IW Incentives and Recognition team and related services. Tune into our podcast Events > Forward — Is your Incentives and Recognition Program Future-Ready? You’ll hear from our Incentives and Recognition experts Tracy Norum, CMP, CIS, CITP, and Sandy Fenili, CIS discuss how group incentive trips are being reshaped by the pandemic and how companies are responding. Or, interested in optimizing your incentive travel and employee recognition program, email us at