For the past six years, HMI has hosted an Annual Leadership Forum, where we invite thought leaders across a variety of the industries we serve to come together for a weekend of reflection and discussion about the state of the incentive industry.
Our sixth Forum took place in November this year at the Secrets Wild Orchard in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
We’ve always found these forums to be immensely productive and illuminating. Like any other industry, the world of incentives acts like a living thing that grows and changes from year to year. Just as each of us makes our yearly doctor’s visit for a check-up (or, well, we should), the Leadership Forum lets us take a look at the state of our industry and hear what the incentive experience has been like for some of our clients.
Also, it’s a lot of fun. The thing about designing group travel programs for a living is that after sending hundreds of people on trips to the most beautiful places on Earth, it’s hard not to feel a little jealous. Sometimes, we have to treat ourselves. That’s why we work hard each year to make sure these forums offer an inspirational, educational, and above all enjoyable time for our guests.
Each Forum is guided by a variety of themes that we’ve felt have had a recent impact on the incentive industry. This year’s themes included:
The ever-evolving world of digital: anyone who engages in digital marketing of any kind faces the challenge of keeping up with the digital world’s lightning-fast pace, whether it’s changing trends in social media or the development or new technology. This year, HMI focused on the rise of chatbots, which we view as an immensely powerful tool. That’s especially true as AI-based technology continues to get smarter.
Chatbots provide an engaging and accessible alternative to an FAQ page, which can be limiting. Bringing this kind of information and discussion to our forum guests allows them to consider whether adopting the new tech might be a good step for them, or to share their own experiences with cognitive technology.
Harnessing the power of big data: at HMI we understand the value of a nice big data set. Data analytics drives our company. It’s what allows us to deliver positive results to our clients. We live in an age where personalization is key: the ads we see, the music we listen to, the shows we watch… it’s all tailored for every individual user experience.
It’s the same with incentives: if you want to build an effective incentive program, you need to know your audience. And for that, you need data. At the Forum, HMI was able to share some of our key strategies and provide our guests with some insight into the process we use to build incentive programs for them.
Return on Experience: a staple of the HMI playbook, “return on experience” works as a complement to the classic ROI. ROE signifies the value we get out of non-cash, experiential incentives like travel and event opportunities.
We’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: non-cash rewards are more effective motivators than cash, and our results prove it. Even the Leadership Forum itself is designed to give our guests the best return on experience money can’t buy—we want to give them a firsthand account of why group travel and experiential rewards are so effective.
We’re immensely happy with the results of this year’s Forum and pleased to say that we’re six for six in terms of success. Here’s to an even bigger, better Seventh Annual Forum next year!