It was the best of times; it was the worst of times—it was 2020. And if the unpredictable past year taught us anything, it was the importance of having a plan, a back-up plan, and how to effectively execute both. Even though studies from influential industry researchers are signaling hope on the horizon for 2021, that doesn’t mean preparations should be put on pause.
To cancel or not to cancel—that is the question
Asking the tough questions is just that—tough. And when it comes to incentive, travel, and gift programs, there’s no easy way around it. Organizations, employees, and industry professionals alike don’t want to see planned and anticipated programs canceled, and if you’re wondering which way to go, you’re not alone. Jenn Glynn, CIS, CITP, and president of the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence was quoted in a recent article asking the tough questions that we’ve all had on our minds, “Do [corporations] postpone from early 2021 to later in the year, or move it to 2022? Or do they award in different ways?”
Despite the impact on the incentives industry in 2020, the IRF’s Industry Outlook for 2021 reports the continued importance of incentive programs. “The effectiveness of gifts as motivators will continue to be key to the growth and success of many incentive programs.” So, even though you may have to cancel or postpone the on-site portion of your event, canceling your gift program altogether might not be the best solution.
Pivot to the next best thing
A sneak peek at the soon-to-be-released Incentive Travel Index by the IRF signals hope on the horizon. While there is a realism about economic conditions, the outlook for 2021 seems more optimistic than might be expected under current circumstances. According to a recent outlook study, the rate of program cancellations was nearly identical, with a 17% cancellation rate in 2019 and an 18% cancellation rate in 2020. You may be wondering, but how? Because instead of canceling, many organizations pivoted to the next best thing: virtual gifting.
Cultivate’s virtual gift experiences offer your recipients a simple, straightforward shopping experience in three easy steps: log in, select a gift, doorstep delivery. As the thought leaders of our industry, we’re always proactively thinking ahead to offer real-world, proven solutions for our clients’ upcoming programs. And our virtual gift experiences are no exception.
Whether you need a backup plan, are considering canceling, or have already canceled events for 2021—let Cultivate help. We’ve been working with clients to find valuable solutions for every kind of scenario and helping them deliver their gift programs online. From automated gifting to tiered ticket programs, our innovative and thoughtful approaches can help remedy a variety of ‘present’ problems.
Contact us today—we’d love to tell you more!