Successful Incentive Travel Begins With Good Planning

Developing a successful incentive travel reward takes a little pre-planning and work to ensure it generates desired results. A company must first determine what business goals are to be achieved through the use of this type of program. Having a basis of what will be accomplished makes it easier to set reachable milestones and select a motivating destination. This basis also allows a company to choose an itinerary that is capable of promoting the purpose of the program. Travel packages are typically implemented to boost sales, amplify morale, promote a product, retain employees, or as a method for creating a loyal customer base. One program does not typically solve every experienced difficulty within an organization. Needs should be organized in a list fashion in order to tackle the most urgent ones at first. An incentive could target customers, employees, or a business area such as sales and should be used as a driver to reach the desired results.

Incentive Travel: Tips for Setting Reward Objectives

The set objectives should be a first priority when beginning to form an incentive travel plan. Trip packages are more capable of supplying the anticipated outcome when the necessary accomplishments are known and understood. Taking a problem and turning it into a goal makes a good approach to resolving organizational issues. An issue can include these among other scenarios:

Sales

Safety

Service

Teamwork

Morale

Attendance

The characteristics of possible realistic aims will guide the way as a company chooses what will be accomplished by a motivational program. A business or department performing this planning must remain focused on what is to be accomplished and create simple aims with a precise purpose. All objectives being achieved with an award program have to be related in order to for participants to understand what must be done. Unrelated goals should be achieved in separate packages to ensure a successful incentive travel plan. An ambiguous goal can seem like a great idea; however, it will only be a success when the objective is achievable. A planned set of objectives must be:

Realistic

Reachable

Measurable

Timed Appropriately

In Line With Company Goals

The path to an award has to be measurable in order to make the process fair and encourage continued participation. Incentive travel awards create an environment full of healthy competition and measurable progress is the only way to make this productivity fostering environment possible. Awards used on the customer side of business must also be measurable to make certain consumers know what they have to do to receive the offered incentive. Setting a high sale goal or a set number of new customer sign on during a slow time of business is not fair to participants. The purpose must match the time of the year and what is realistically possible for a program to be effective. Additionally, all chosen goals should fall in line with organizational aims and stay true to set policies. Taking the time to properly decide these elements before choosing a destination or promoting activities will greatly increase the success of this motivational endeavor.

Direct Marketing Essentials – Simple Ways to Calculate and Measure Your Marketing

The mathematics of direct marketing primarily rests on three key elements:

  • Sales
  • Marketing Costs
  • Contribution Costs (e.g. Overheads)

Now there is no clear-cut balance for these elements as any direct marketing activity needs to be tailored and fine tuned according to each business. This is why I will never state off-the-cuff a direct marketing response rate for any business or industry type as there are significant variables involved such as the product itself, the demand for it, market preference and the nature of the offer.

Another point to highlight is that the mathematics used is underpinned by the belief that the future will be similar to the past. Hence if any variable within the equation changes significantly (e.g. magazine circulation significantly declines), then you have to expect a different response rate.

So to dive straight into it, I’ve listed below a few essential calculations which every small business should use:

Calculating the Allowable Using Your DM Budget

This equation lets you calculate the amount of money you need in order to make one sale. This is really important to know!

Revenue Selling Price: $1000

Minus Costs Production: $500

Overheads: $150

Postage & Handling: $50

The Breakeven allowance is $300 (the money you are allowed to spend to acquire a customer).

NOTE: If your business requires 10% profit, then your allowable would effectively be reduced to $200.

Using the Allowable to calculate your DM budget

So using our allowable recruitment spend per customer x target No. of Sales = $200 x 100

Marketing Budget = $20,000

What happens if you don’t make the sales required?

It is essential to test the market first using a small quantity before rolling out the entire campaign. Typically your allowable is based on what resources are required to acquire a customer already, plus I would expect some form of marketing research carried out in order to understand the size of your potential market. It is also important to include contingencies within your marketing activities if you don’t make the required sales. I always save 10% of my budget if something goes wrong. Or better still, if a potential list I’m targeting returns a huge ROI, then I have a bit left over to chase the money and market these top prospects again.

Measuring Costs, Responses and Sales

Here are a few very simple, yet essential equations to help measure costs, response and sales:

Cost per Unit:

Total cost / Total Quantity = Unit Cost

e.g. $20,000 / 4,000 = $5

Response Rate:

(Total Responses / Total Mailed) x 100% = % Response

e.g. (200 / 1,000) x 100% = 20%

This equation is exactly the same as measuring the Conversion Rate which would be Converted Leads / Total Leads Contacted

Cost per Sale:

Total Cost / Total Sales = Cost per Sale

e.g. 20,000 / 500 = $40

Example: Let’s say you were a travel insurance broker wanting to advertise in the local newspaper to sell premium travel insurance for $500 per person. I’ve listed some assumed sales and marketing costs to acquire a customer:

Advertising Cost: $7,800

Newspaper Circulation: 150,000

Promotional Cost: $5 per lead (e.g. Call centre costs)

Revenue per sale: $500

Total Marketing Cost for 100 leads is therefore: $8,300

The Cost per Inquiry or Sale will vary depending on the response rate, which you won’t know until you advertise. But the main focus on advertising is to achieve a required level of profitability in order to justify the expense. I like to refer to it as measuring the Profit Index. (This is exactly the same as using your allowable to calculate the number of sales you require in order to justify any marketing spend).

Profit Index (%) = Total Marketing Cost / Total Revenue

Profit Index (%) = 8,300 / 10,500

In this instance the Travel Insurance company requires 20% profit from print advertising. If my profit Index falls below 20%, then the advertising is deemed unprofitable. I’m so harsh!

Hence, 21 travel insurance premiums need to be sold to meet a profit index of 21%.

In other words, the allowable DM Budget would be set at $8,300 for advertising in the Local Newspaper.

Using Spreadsheets to Negotiate Spend

If you’ve seen the spreadsheet then you’ll wonder why I’ve highlighted the following cost fields – Ad Cost and Promotional Costs. Promotional Costs are harder to change in the short term, but negotiating advertising costs can be extremely effective. You’d be amazed to discover that by saving 10% of advertising you drive down your Profit Index, which means your advertising dollar doesn’t have to work as hard to acquire customers or sales. In the example used, you would only have to sell 19 Travel Premiums in order to meet the minimum profitability requirements. It also does hurt asking for a trial advertising rate to test the viability of a product in a publication. Some account managers will assist if it means you become a regular advertiser.

There are a couple of examples which the above calculations can be applied to in order to gain some further perspective for your next lead generation campaign.

Lead Generation Conversion Programs

1. Generally the more time you have to qualify an enquiry, the more it costs to generate. For example, if your telesales representative took 15 minutes to convert a prospect, while others may take only 5 minutes, then this will drive your overall costs to acquire a customer, and must be factored into your overheads or marketing costs.

2. Lead generation lists (Prospect Lists) can also support repeat conversion contacts, but you’ll always get a reduced response rate with each effort. For example, if you mailed 1,000 prospects, it may generate 250 leads. The second time you mail the list (minus the 250 leads you generated the first time round), you might get another 100 leads. This means you have generated a total of 350 leads from the prospect list. But we wary that if you use the list too many times then it will get to the point of being unprofitable.

As a general rule of thumb, you should change a portion of the DM piece the next time you mail (e.g. The offer, or a larger discount), as customers may respond to varying aspects of your direct marketing campaign, which is why it is always important to test.

You may hear direct marketing consultants talking about list building, and how much of their time is dedicated to developing a database of qualified prospects and customers. These lists are in fact a key ingredient which differentiate direct marketing from traditional marketing.

But I will say that typically, a list of present customers will respond much better or at a higher rate to a new product compared to non-qualified, or “cold” prospects.

It is also important to point out that while companies always depreciate their expenses over time such as equipment, machinery and inventory, they almost never capitalise what could be their most important asset, their customer. Therefore, small business owners should view their customers as investments and be able to measure and monitor customer data, and capitalise on it for the future.

Just remember that the maths of direct marketing sets it apart from all other marketing disciplines!

Travel Health: Useful medical information for good health before, during your trip and after

The diseases most commonly seen in travellers are diarrhoea, malaria (if you travel in a malaria-infested area),
accidents (when travelling by car or swimming), wound infections and sexually transmitted diseases.

— Diarrhoea is caused by contaminated food and drinking-water. You must therefore be careful if your are travelling in poor hygiene conditions.

— Malaria is transmitted by mosquitoes, so the first thing to do is to protect yourself against these mosquitoes.

— In order to prevent accidents during travelling, it is wise to apply the same precautions as those taken at home.

In addition, it is very important that all wounds should be thoroughly disinfected in order to avoid infection.

· TRAVELLER’S DIARRHOEA

Many intestinal infections are attributable to infections picked up by mouth or hands. With a little care most of
these illnesses can be prevented. Hepatitis A, typhoid fever, polio and cholera still occur in countries with poor
hygiene, but these diseases are easily prevented.

However, the chance is rather large that you will still contract a light and/or nondangerous form of traveller’s diarrhoea.
Traveller’s diarrhoea almost always spontaneously clears up after a few days, but can nevertheless be irritating.
And a risk to your overall and travel health.

In the first place measures must be taken against dehydration. Likewise, treatment of the symptoms must be considered
in order to reduce the number of bowel movements and relieve other symptoms such as fever, vomiting and stomach cramps.
Sometimes a more serious form of diarrhoea occurs, for which specific treatment with antibiotics is indicated or where
hospitalisation or fluid replacement appears unavoidable.

It takes only a few basic preventive measures to make your trip a success : Total prevention of traveller’s diarrhoea is
impossible and it is obvious that preventive measures can seldom be strictly followed at all times.
But following preventive measures do significantly reduce the risk of contracting serious diarrhoea:
In order to maintain good travel health wash your hands before eating and avoid (if possible) :

— raw vegetables and fruits that you have not peeled yourself

— uncooked or unpasteurized dairy products

— insufficiently cooked sea foods (+ Hepatitis A !) and meat

— “local meals” which do not smell fresh

— ice-cream bought from street merchants (industrial ice straight from the deep-freeze is probably safe).

Cooked meals should be served hot. The place where you eat is also important. A meal taken from a stall presents a
greater risk than a meal taken in a restaurant. Avoid restaurants where there are a lot of insects.
Avoid tap water and ice-cubes. Bottled water and soft drinks are safe. Watch out for bottle caps that have already been used.

It is very important to disinfect drinking-water on adventure trips. Total sterilisation of drinking water is impossible.
The following measures considerably reduce the contamination risk and safeguard your travel health:

— Boiling the water is very effective.

— A good alternative is chemical disinfection with chlorine drops (e.g. Hadex®, Drinkwell chloor®; available in sport shops
specialized in outdoor activities) or chlorine tablets (Certisil Combina®; chloramine tablets; available at the
pharmacy). Their effect can be improved by first filtering unclear water. Silver salts (Micropur®, Certisil Argento®) are
not very suitable to disinfect water, but they keep disinfected water germ-free for a long time.

For adventurous travellers conscious to travel health it is best to buy a portable water-filter. The use of antibiotics
in order to prevent diarrhoea before it occurs can be dangerous + Also the use of other preventive medications is not
recommended.

. How to treat diarrhoea?

It is extremely important to consume sufficient liquid and salt in order to prevent dehydration. You can do this by
taking salt solutions, but tea with lemon, broth, soft drinks and fruit juice, supplemented with salt crackers are tastier.
Commercial salt products are available on the market (ORS-solution).

Taking an anti-diarrhoea preparation (loperamide, e.g. Imodium®) can greatly reduce the number of bowel movements, with
a considerable reduction of the complaints as a result. Imodium® may only be used by adults and older children and only
for treating ordinary watery diarrhoea: 1 capsule after every loose movement up to a maximum of 4 per day.

Antibiotics are indicated :

1. If blood, mucus or pus are present in the stools.

2. If after 24 to 48 hours, there is no sign of improvement and the diarrhoea is accompanied by fever (above 38.5 C) or
severe abdominal cramps, or if there are more than six stools per 24 hours and especially when these also occur
at night.

3. Or if because of travel circumstances a quicker solution is absolutely desirable . Appropriate antibiotics are only
to be used on doctor’s prescription

· SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES

Casual sexual contacts tend to be higher while on holiday abroad. Sexually transmitted diseases, particularly AIDS, form
therefore an important risk for travellers.
Quite often unintentional and unsafe sexual contact takes place under alcohol influence.
Prevention while on holiday abroad is no different from the precautions you take at home. Adequate use of a condom,
preferably bought at home, is absolutely essential. Only a water-soluble lubricant should be used, but it only offers
a partial guarantee (e.g. KY gel).
Vaccination against hepatitis B is advised. Always consult your doctor if you think you are at risk, even when there are
no symptoms.

· MALARIA (swamp fever, malaria)

Malaria is an infectious disease caused by a parasite (called Plasmodium) transmitted by the bite of the Anopheles mosquito.
There are four different types of which Malaria falciparum is the most dangerous and the most widespread.
The incubation period – the time between an infecting bite and the appearance of the disease – varies from ten days to four
weeks (rarely several months).

The symptoms include attacks of fever, but can initially be quite similar to influenza.
If adequate treatment is not started in time, an attack may sometimes result in death within a few days.

. Where does malaria occur?

Malaria only occurs in those areas in which Anopheles mosquitoes are present : in the tropics and in a large number of
subtropical areas. From a height of 1.500 to 2.500 m onwards, depending on temperature and climate, Anopheles mosquitoes
are either rare or non-existent.

In most big cities there is little or no risk at all of infection, except in Africa where a real risk exists.

Risk also exists in the suburbs of the big cities in Asia (e.g. in India). In a number of areas the risk varies according
to the season.

. How can malaria be prevented?

It is very important for travel health to avoid mosquito bites : the Anopheles mosquito only bites between dusk and dawn,
is rather small and hardly makes any noise.

— In the evening wear light-coloured clothing which covers your arms and legs as much as possible. Apply repellent cream
with a DEET basis (20 to 50%, for children and pregnant women preferably 20 to 30%) to the uncovered parts of your body.
Repeat this every four to six hours (it will not protect you all night).
Non containing DEET repellents were less examined; Autan-Active and Mosegor are however excellent safe products.

— Sleep in rooms that leave no access to mosquitoes, (mosquito nets on the sills, electrically-warmed anti-mosquito plates,
air-conditioning) or sleep under a mosquito net impregnated with permethrine or deltamethrine hung over the bed with the
edges tucked under the mattress.

If these measures are carried out correctly, the risk of malaria will be reduced by 80 to 90% and travel health is maintained

. The intake of pills as prevention

There is no drug efficient enough to prevent malaria 100%, which means that quite often a combination of measures is
preferable. Also the drugs used have changed over the years.
Moreover, the advantages and disadvantages of drugs should be considered against the risk of malaria infection.
These risks are dependent on the visited country, and on the region, the season, the duration of your stay and the kind
of trip.

Some people might be troubled by the side effects while taking antimalarial drugs. These are usually mild and are not
always a reason to stop taking the pills. Sometimes it may be necessary to change to another type of medication due to
intestinal problems, allergic reactions or other intolerance symptoms.

Therefore it is the doctor who can best decide for each individual which drug to use. This explains why individuals from
the same group may end up taking different drugs.

Finally, as no drug is 100% effective in preventing malaria, it is important that if an attack of fever occurs in the
first three months after your return from the tropics, a malaria infection should be considered as a possibility despite
the correct use of the drug prescribed.

However, it is reassuring to know that malaria, provided it is recognised in time, is easy to treat without any danger of
recurrent attacks. The belief that “once malaria always malaria” is totally untrue.

You can find even more travel health tips in the next pages:

DISEASES FOR WHICH VACCINATIONS ARE AVAILABLE

MORE TRAVEL HEALTH TIPS

CAUTION: The information provided here should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or for the
treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for any and all medical conditions.
Call 911 for all medical emergencies.