Prevue July/August 2013 - (Page 75)

IRF Invitational Incentive Research Foundation unveils new research in Cancun [ON LOCATION] LAUREL HERMAN T he Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) hosted its 20th Annual Incentive Invitational conference at Hard Rock Cancun in May, with both suppliers and buyers reporting a positive spirit and sense of optimism. The IRF’s spring 2013 Pulse survey is forecasting increased optimism and innovation throughout the MICE industry, leading to increasingly higher budgets for incentive travel programs. Prevue sat down with IRF President Melissa Van Dyke and board members Matt Harris and Richard Weinstein to learn more about the IRF’s important research and advocacy for incentive reward travel. “We have had over 60 studies over the past 20 years and even the early studies are still being used today,” says Harris. “And in the last three years, 30 studies have been completed, based on us listening to the marketplace and what buyers are focusing on. These studies are being accessed at our website and the numbers are growing steadily, with a quadrupling of visitors and tripling of unique visitors. There is a need for a constant stream of information and we are providing it.” Another accomplishment and resource for planners are the IRF’s education programs. “We have tripled our education series and have webinars every third Thursday,” says Weinstein. In one IRF study this year, it was announced that there’s an almost even split between North American firms that combine offsite meetings and incentive travel programs and those who do not. The successful integration of this practice should ensure that the combination leads to five suggested positive results. They include: Provoke strong and immediate emotional reactions based on the choice of destination, venue and activities; create brand advocates for an organization’s initiatives; become the symbol or benchmark for a specific set of values and how people identify the organization; incite conversation about the value of the program; encourage other employees to realign around the behaviors of incentive program winners. “When business meetings are made part of an incentive travel program, they must be so important, useful and compelling that they become part of the reward itself,” says Van Dyke. CANCUN HOST HOTELS & DMCS The 601-room Hard Rock Cancun is an all-inclusive property set on a gorgeous beach with multi-blue hued waters. Aside from all of the interior meeting and public spaces, many attendees also networked at the pool area with open bars and large pool decks perfect for day and evening events. Hard Rock offers 16,400 sf of meeting and function space. In the evenings, our group visited Le Blanc Resort & Spa, Secrets The Vine Cancun and JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa, all of which put on elaborate dining and reception events in wonderful settings. Planners have extensive choices of good hotel product, and with the all-inclusive option that is popular here, the value and ROI are clear. Airport transfers and evening transportation were handled flawlessly by Amstar DMC. During the day, CEO MEXICO provided delegates a choice of activities and transportation, including cooking classes at the Little Mexican Cooking School, and an extensive variety of land and water adventures.; | 75 74-75_Moon.IRF.indd 75 7/3/13 10:23 AM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Prevue July/August 2013

Planner's Pick: New Zealand
Fresh Meets: Autograph Collection
Bureau Buzz: Monterey County
Good Business: South Africa
sea Shores: Small Ship cruising
The Local Kitchen
Special Section: Caribbean
Dominican Republic
On Location: Hilton/LXR, Puerto Rico
On Location: The Broadmoor
The South, Florida & Las Vegas
On Location: Starwood Resorts, San Diego
On Location: Travaasa Austin
On Location: Moon Palace Cancun
On Location: IRF Cancun
Check Out: Hard Rock Hotel Punta Cana

Prevue July/August 2013