Her presentation of a hypothetical, high-impact program in Copenhagen celebrating VisitDenmark’s Meetovation initiative was both interactive (beer was served) and extremely engaging. Because of Reimer’s energy and savvy, we asked her a few questions about how she adds value and ramps up engagement in her meeting and incentive programs for 2012.
Prevue: Krista, what are some of the most prevalent group trends you’re seeing in 2012?
Reimer: One of the biggest trends we are seeing with our incentive clients going into the last half of 2012 is a steering away from traditional awards galas to more engaging reception-style events at unique venues. While the perception of ‘over-the-top’ incentives has evolved our way of approaching events, there is still an innate need to reward and maintain relationships with employees. The replacement of the usual plated awards dinner to a more dynamic reception event fosters this idea by allowing employees at all levels of the company to interact with each other on a more personal level, and it builds on the overall solidarity of the company.
How about for meetings?
Another trend we have been focused on is our clients’ interest in taking their meetings out of the hotel and into creative environments that fit the principles of their meeting. For instance, for an upcoming international bank meeting program, we arranged for their morning meeting to be held at the New York Stock Exchange, followed by lunch at a historic bank vault nearby. The financial theme resonates deeply with the group, and the uniqueness allows the guests to immerse themselves in the history and nostalgia of the venues while still maintaining the focus of the meeting.
We’ve always focused on the experiential aspect of meetings and incentives. Do you feel that is something growing throughout the industry?
Experience-focused incentives are making a huge comeback. Clients are looking for participants to engage in more targeted experiences that incorporate the company’s principles and reward guests in uber-exclusive ways. The old notion of ‘behind-the-scenes’ is being replaced with ‘in-the-scene’. Participants are able to have a direct hand experiencing the real deal. The idea goes beyond just seeing what goes on to actively participating and engaging in the experience.
For an upcoming end-of-year incentive group, Blue Nest Events has arranged for participants of a multi-national telecom company to experience recording a song in a legendary Manhattan recording studio. Participants will actively take part in writing, recording and performing a completely original song with the help of world-class musicians, capturing the theme of the incentive. By going beyond classic behind-the-scenes tours and turning experiences into hands-on activities, the incentive resonates way beyond the event itself and leaves an indelible mark on each of the participants.
What are your thoughts about VisitDenmark’s cool MINDchallenge event in New York?
As the industry as a whole adjusts to new standards, it’s also great to see our local partners reaching out to planners to regain the momentum in developing new ideas and supporting local destinations. Programs like VisitDenmark’s MINDchallenge event was a great way to involve planners in thinking outside of the box in support of the meetings and events industry. As a US finalist, Blue Nest Events was able to engage with top thought leaders about the future of the meeting and incentive business. We’re looking toward 2013 and beyond because we are confident that the return on investment which incentive travel provides to clients will continue to drive the future demand for the industry.