Overcoming Challenges and Winning Repeat Incentive Business

Blog > Trends

Overcoming Challenges and Winning Repeat Incentive Business

By Annette Gregg | Oct 5, 2020

Since 1992, agency powerhouse HelmsBriscoe has helped its clients curate their most memorable programs around the globe. For guests returning to an annual incentive program, the planning team created memories of a lifetime at the exclusive Las Caletas on the south side of Puerto Vallarta’s Banderas Bay, a private secluded beach once home to famous film director John Huston.

We recently told you about some wow moments and experiential elements of this incentive program. Now we’re catching up with Kaye Sparks, vice president of HelmsBriscoe’s ResourceOne full meeting management division, to find out how the company overcame some local challenges.

For the overall program, what didn’t work and what did you learn from it?

Kaye Sparks: For this particular event, we had some challenges with the hotel and another group in house. The hotel management was unable to fix the issues onsite and this posed some very interesting challenges. I would say that is one of the biggest things that did not work. As a team, we had to adjust our services and determine ways to make up for the issues the hotel was causing for this group. We had to stay on our toes and not rely on the hotel services as part of the overall customer service experience of the event. The other group in house was a large wedding with very late-night parties and entertainment. The group had a contractual 11 p.m. event cutoff which they did not adhere to. Unfortunately, the sleeping rooms were in very close proximity to the event space and therefore created a tough situation for all other guests in the hotel. The situation was escalated to the hotel general manager and the EVP of Grand Velas Resorts. She flew in and got the situation resolved. 

What else would you have changed about this program?

KS: One element that we would like to improve upon is getting this group to adapt to a mobile app or paperless registration process. This would allow us to do more ongoing communication with the group, customizing experiences even more.

How did you measure success?

KS: Winning the program next year! That’s the best way we know we hit a home run. We also measured by client and attendee feedback and are proud that this year’s program rated 3.94 out of 4. We gauge the success of the event based on how the attendees feel after the program ends. Whether it be an incentive trip or a multi-track conference, our goal is to ensure all attendees feel as if they received great service and all elements of the program were exceeded. If at the end of the day we receive this feedback, we know we have done a great job as planners.

If you’re ready to take the next step in experience design, enroll in one of our upcoming Event Design Certificate courses today. You can also join our online Experiential Marketers and Designers Community. And if you’re not an MPI member, learn more about joining and the value of belonging to this community.



Annette Gregg

Annette Gregg, CMM, MBA, is senior vice president, experience for Meeting Professionals International.