After many years in the incentives industry, I still get asked the same questions over and over. Though I could fill many pages with those questions and their answers, two of the most fundamental questions are: 1). Which rewards are the most motivating? and 2). Which rewards are the most popular? The first question has a range of responses and varies based on target audience, length of program, etc. and is far too complicated for a blog post (although if you’re interested in the cash vs. non-cash awards debate click here to read a blog post by my colleague Matt Slane).
The second question, however, changes by season and is prone to trends in other industries. After taking a look at our redemptions across all programs, here are the latest trends we are seeing:
Merchandise (out of tens of thousands of items available on our website):
#1 – Electronics – 12% of program participants choose electronics, and Apple products are leading the way.
#2 – Housewares – 11% of program participants are choosing housewares, with Alclad pots and pans at the top of the list.
#3 – Toys & Games – these pick up even further around the holidays, but about 8% of redemptions are for toys and games.
Travel and Events (including airfare, concert or event tickets, hotels, etc.):
#1 – Real-Time Hotel Bookings - Orlando, San Diego, and New York are the top domestic destinations.
#2 – Travel Packages and Vacations – particularly all-inclusive trips to destinations like the Caribbean, Mexico, and Hawaii.
#3 – Sporting Events – though summer is a great time for things like baseball games, this summer there is a rise in not only travel to London, but requests for tickets to Olympic events.
#4 – Concerts – many participants are redeeming tickets for Justin Bieber, Bruce Springsteen, and more.
Many of my clients want to select the “hot” product and build a promotion around the reward. Themes featuring certain products can be very successful, but they do have a shelf life. Remember, even the most popular category (electronics) only accounts for 12% of redemptions. My advice is you can feature certain products, but don’t try and guess what motivates your customers. Let them make that decision!