CSR, unique stays top Chinese incentives requirements


SITE’s Alicia Yao (far left) and Incentive Research Foundation’s Joost De Meyer share what’s trending in the Chinese incentive market at yesterday’s Spotlight on Incentive forum. The session was moderated by Kongres Magazine’s Robert Cotter (far right)

ORGANISERS of incentive programmes for Chinese companies are increasingly looking to incorporate meaningful corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities as well as unique accommodation options with a sense of place through sharing economy services in their programmes.

The observations were shared by Alicia Yao who sits on the SITE Global International board of directors and Joost De Meyer, trustee, Incentive Research Foundation at yesterday’s Spotlight on Incentive forum discussion at Shanghai Marriott Parkview.

Commenting on the rising desire for CSR elements within incentive programmes, Yao said it is a win-win situation for both the destination and corporate companies.

“Corporate companies use events for marketing and (for achieving) good public relations within and outside the organisation. For instance, there was a Guinness World Records’ entry set by 6,400 participants of the Tien incentive group when they cleaned up a beach in Nice, France within two hours. It generated over 1,100 international media reports.

“There was also a Chinese healthcare firm whose young staff volunteered to cook a Chinese meal for some impoverished children in a local childcare centre in South Africa. The activity turned out to be the best experience the incentive delegates had on the trip.”

Yao opined that incentive programmes that are purely for fun are becoming extinct as Chinese incentive organisers get smarter in the use of such activities. Besides looking for ways to offer incentive delegates a better destination experience and to give back to the host destination, companies are also using incentive trips to identify new business avenues.

Citing an example, Yao said the Chinese healthcare firm that went to South Africa also took the chance to explore opportunities to supply their products to local hospitals.

Meanwhile, the rising population of millennials in the workplace has led to growing demand for shared economy services, specifically in the accommodation space.

De Meyer said: “Millennials are looking for unique experiences, such as stays in boutique accommodation. Hotel (investors) are (responding by) building more (of such properties) to make sure (this segment of travellers) feel at home.”

Yao and De Meyer also shared that social media and the use of mobile apps are changing the way the Chinese work and live, so incentive houses must recognise this trend and respond with innovative ideas to engage this segment of incentive travellers.

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