Hitting The Motivational Jackpot

By Malcolm Fleschner

With the full power of the Internet at your disposal, there’s no longer an excuse for running uninspired sales contests. Your goal for an incentive, of course, is to generate bottom-line results, but in return for their efforts, salespeople deserve to have a little fun along the way.

That was certainly the attitude taken by a business travel management agency looking to generate additional excitement and sales during a recent holiday season—a time when business travel typically slumps. Specifically, the agency wanted to give individual agents incentives to book clients through higher-end preferred service provider airlines, hotels and car rental companies.

With the help of the Santa Barbara-based Strategic Incentives, Inc., the agency developed a program using a popular Web-based incentive game known as the Jackpot Program. Here’s how the program worked.

Each time agents booked clients with a preferred provider they earned a spin on a Web-based slot machine. Each spin meant a chance to win one of a variety of prizes, including airline tickets anywhere in the world, color TVs, DVD players and a number of other exciting rewards.

To spur competition and help agents monitor other participants’ progress, the Website displayed each agent’s eligible bookings along with the number of times he or she pulled the Jackpot lever, a history of the agent’s rewards and the number of pulls that were left. The site remained operational round the clock.

From the administrators’ perspective, managers were able to monitor bookings and run weekly reports through a simple admin wizard accessible through the site. The wizard also let them add new participants, approve rewards and update bookings.

In the end, the Jackpot Program delivered on its designers’ hopes. In the first month market share jumped 2.5%. Considering that this agency’s annual sales volume is more than $100 million, this return represented a significant bump in revenue. It didn’t hurt that along the way it made many booking agents happy with their newfound prizes.