2014 SITE Crystal Award Recipient
Best Business Solutions: Most Effective Incentive Marketing/Promotion Campaign
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
“Toyota Dealer Incentive – Elegant Escapes”
Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. and participating Distributors conducted a Dealership Travel Incentive program to drive sales while sustaining sales satisfaction ratings. Toyota approached Aimia to create a compelling engagement strategy and a variety of unique incentive travel experiences that would motivate salespeople to strive for success. Aimia rose to the challenge and delivered a program resulting in outstanding participation and performance. Three hundred Dealer Principals/General Managers were rewarded with one of five “once-in-a lifetime” travel awards. To drive engagement dealers received communications throughout the program. Memorable travel experiences included personalized elements, exciting activity options and outstanding special events.
Effectiveness and Results
Going into the program, Toyota had two primary objectives:
- Achieve Toyota’s three-month sales objective
- Maintain focus of the importance of dealership sales and overall customer satisfaction
98% of dealerships enrolled and over 93% of dealerships participated, 73% of which achieved or exceeded their sales objectives. Nearly 58% of the winning dealerships had not won in the previous year, indicating strong competition and a high level of participation. In post-trip surveys, the vast majority of winners rated their overall travel experience a “5” out of 5. Winners who had participated incentive trips in years past, commented on how outstanding the programs were, even going as far as saying that it would be nearly impossible to exceed.
The Creative Approach
The incentive campaign was announced via a beautiful 20-page brochure to showcase the extraordinary travel awards to gain the participants’ attention and motivate them to participate fully in the program. Program rules were incorporated and program information was also available via Toyotaincentives.com. A letter from the Vice President and General Manager accompanied the brochure to reinforce the objectives of the program and demonstrate Toyota Motor Sales’ commitment to the dealerships as its partners in success. Additionally, a series of email blasts encouraged dealers to enroll in the campaign and select two trips they were most interested in.
A series of follow-up emails were sent, each branded with the program themes and providing dealership standings, destination information and program updates. At the incentive program end, winners were announced via email. Then, the winners and their respective management received a congratulatory email detailing the travel award earned. Winners received an email inviting them to register for the travel event at Toyotaincentives.com portal, where they could view all award details, indicate their preferences (airline, activities and beverage preferences) as well as submit special requests. Winners received email confirmation for flights with a link to an interactive app: Trip Case.
Dealers have been traveling to exciting, rewarding and exotic destinations for more than 20 years. Aimia worked with vendor partners around the world to suggest and develop the most exciting combination of awards possible looking at past history as well as what is trending throughout the world. The overall award was a combination of five destination choices, with multiple airlines, hotels, destination management companies and event organizers to make each program a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience for the winners and their guests.
Upon arrival, rather than pre-set room gifts, winners were able to select special commemorative gifts. Aimia raised the bar even higher by not only offering gifts from top brands, but also offered unique gifts crafted by local artisans. All gifts were shipped directly to the winners’ homes with a personalized letter from Toyota Motor Sales.
Winners enjoyed destination-specific events, including a fun-filled Hawaiian luau for those who traveled to Lanai and a welcome cocktail reception in Paris featuring floral designs from celebrity florist Jeff Leatham, artistic director of the Four Seasons George V.
One of the most complex programs offered was a “once in a lifetime” African journey. Dealers flew to Johannesburg via commercial jet, followed by a transfer to Livingstone, Zambia by private jet. From there, guests were flown in a caravan of Cessna jets to camps in Kruger.
Guests had the opportunity to tour Livingstone Island, where they witnessed the captivating Victoria Falls. The group even had the opportunity to observe wild African animals by boarding massive elephants, guided by a “driver” who took them through the wilderness to get an up-close and personal view of the local wildlife.
To cap off the event, the winners were treated to a surprise Bushveld dinner in the African wilderness. Upon arrival, lanterns lined walkways and trees to create a warm and inviting environment. Tables were set with white linens and china, adding an unexpected touch of elegance. Chefs prepared delicious local cuisine while guests sipped perfectly paired wines.
Environmental and Social Responsibility Practices
Rather than mailing printed invitations and congratulations letters, Aimia relied on email blasts to cut down on waste. Aimia also identified opportunities to demonstrate environmental and social responsibility specific to the destination is the purchase of commemorative gifts from local artisans. For the Africa program, approximately 80 pairs of shoes were distributed to tour operators at Livingstone Island in a range of sizes. This allowed the guides to safely guide the tour without the risk of slipping on slippery rocks. The Aimia staff and participants also donated an assortment of books and supplies to a local school in Zambia.