The Timeless Value of Experiential Rewards

by | Nov 22, 2023 | Blog


Experiential rewards hit different.


Need proof? Think back to the first time you rode a bike all by yourself. Close your eyes and imagine it.


Chances are you can recall the wobbly wheels, the feel of the handlebars, and the wind in your hair.


Now, try to recall one of the many gift cards you got for your birthday that same year. You can’t do it, can you? It’s the same year, same distance away in your mind, but only one feels like yesterday.


Imagine giving your customers that same feeling.


That’s the power of experiential rewards.


What Are Experiential Rewards?


Experiential rewards are non-cash incentives that give customers unforgettable experiences. Instead of corporate gifts or cash bonuses, experiential rewards go beyond traditional incentives. They leave customers with lifelong memories of connection, exhilaration, and joy.


The Statistics Supporting Experiential Rewards


Don’t believe that experiential rewards matter?


Take a look at Gallup’s State of Global Workforce for 2023. You’ll see that workers are unhappy and want more. Here’s a snapshot of the key findings:


  • Almost six out of every ten workers are quiet quitting
  • Over half of workers are low-key seeking new employment
  • Many respondents reported that they want to receive more recognition


In fact, workers that feel recognized are twice as likely to go above and beyond.


This includes B2B sales teams.


Experiential Rewards Statistics


Translation – workers want to feel wanted. A recent report found meaning is the number one predictor of employee engagement. While many workers feel less engaged, experiential rewards are making a difference.


Still not convinced?


Capgemini Consulting concluded that 97% of loyalty programs rely on transactional rewards. But 77% fail within two years. And if that wasn’t enough, there is the following statistic.


Experiential rewards are 4 times more impactful at driving engagement than traditional incentives.


Need more proof?


One HMI study concluded that rewards are an important aspect of B2B relationships. 72% of contractors would switch distributors for rewards, all things being equal. It’s clear to see that the right rewards lead to stronger B2B relationships.


Businesses must consider these statistics when designing loyalty programs for their customers. Experiential rewards can check all three boxes when done right.


Let’s uncover the psychological benefits of adding experiential rewards to your incentive program.


1.    Creating Emotional Connections


Experiential rewards are often hardwired to build emotional connections. While transactional rewards offer a one-time boost, experiences create lifelong memories. Whether you’re going on a trip, jumping out of a plane, or driving a racecar – experiential rewards change you.


Lifelong memories of an event are nice, but do they translate into more B2B sales? It does when you factor in the emotional connection of an event to your brand.


A study by Google, Gartner, and Motista found B2B decision makers rely more on emotion than B2C buyers.  Only 10-40% of brands have an emotional connection with their consumers. B2B decision makers buy from brands they have an emotional connection with 40-70% of the time.


Done right, experiential rewards can help strengthen business relationships and improve customer loyalty.


Especially when you consider that 9 out of 10 businesses only use transactional rewards. It offers an opportunity to stand out against competitors.


2.    Instilling Shared Experiences


One look at the 2023 Incentive Research Foundation Report shows people crave connection.


According to the 2022 Incentive Travel Index:


  • 72% list relationship-building as important to a successful incentive program
  • 66% desire group cultural sightseeing experiences
  • 58% want luxury group travel experiences
  • 57% enjoy group dining experiences


The deeper connotation of these statistics is that people want shared experiences. They crave connection with their business partners, colleagues, and family members.


3.    Providing Personalized Choices


Don’t overlook the power of a personalized experiential reward.


Done well, it can lead to improved loyalty, increased motivation, and partner engagement. But that’s not the only benefit. A personalized experiential reward can drive brand loyalty for a lifetime.


That may be why 84% of B2B companies are embracing a client experience model.


Personalized experiences do a few things:


  1. They give participants the opportunity to choose their experience.
  2. They help participants attach memorable experiences to your business.
  3. They motivate participants to select experiences they otherwise may never have.


Personalized experiential rewards go far beyond regular cash incentives. They promote opportunities for personal growth. And that growth is forever attached to your brand.


Here are two ways to make an experiential award more personal:


  1. Design the experience around the individual. Start by researching your target demographic. Then you can poll customers to see what experience interests them most.


  1. Make the presentation an experience all its own. Consider how you will present the award. Sometimes the presentation can be as important as the experience itself.


Personalized experiences show care and appreciation for their loyalty.


4.    Designing Bucket-List-Worthy Moments


Some experiential rewards offer participants the chance to realize a bucket list goal.


According to online reports, 2 out of 5 Americans have a bucket list. Meanwhile, 56% are unable to realize bucket list goals due to financial constraints. That includes members inside your channel ecosystem.


One online study concluded that travel is a major bucket list item.


Here’s how it breaks down by age group:


  • 25% of Baby Boomers
  • 28% of Gen X
  • 39% Millennials
  • 42% Gen Z


Travel experiences can motivate every type of customer. No matter the age, travel continues to be a major bucket list item. Experiential rewards can help customers realize goals they would leave unfulfilled.


5.    Building Stronger Relationships


Strong business relationships are integral to B2B success.


According to HMI research, it’s more important now than ever. A recent study found most B2B customers divide their loyalty between 3 to 5 distributors. Adding experiential rewards can help you stand out in a crowded market.


The right experiential reward can make all the difference.


Creating genuine and authentic experiences from beginning to end is critical. The best experiential rewards design every aspect of the event. That means considering the whole of the experience.


Genuine and authentic experiences have a few things in common:


  1. The reward strikes the right balance between perceived value vs. the lift.


  1. Logistics like travel, lodging, shuttle services, get first-class treatment.


  1. The experiential reward matches the effort required to achieve it.


Considering these aspects, you’ll leave a lasting memory for years to come.


Is Your Business Ready to Add Experiential Rewards?


Experiential rewards provide many powerful and positive psychological benefits. Want to learn how experiential rewards can upgrade your loyalty program? Contact us today.


Together, we can create solutions that work best for your channel ecosystem. We’ll help you get the most out of your marketing budget, so you never lose another VIP customer. Book a call today!

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