In 2019, Experiences Will Be the Most Desired Employee Gift

December 28, 2018 Kevin Edmunds


As a new year comes upon us, it’s a good time for each of us to step back and take in the big-picture perspective: What did each of us accomplish this year? What interesting experiences did we have? And what do we want to accomplish and experience in the coming year?

What’s more, as we answer these questions, we should also look at things from the perspective of the people we serve in our work. For instance, I see people come to our all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Dominican Republic, as well as our hotels in Miami, with certain expectations in mind. They want great facilities, amenities, and service, of course—but what they are looking for most of all are unique local experiences.

Interestingly, this desire doesn’t change even as people come to earn much more money over time. Here’s proof: Luxury travel agency Ovation Vacations notes that their biggest market observation going into 2019 is that “luxury consumption has shifted away from goods and towards experiences such as travel, events, and gastronomy, which grew faster than luxury goods by at least five percent” in 2018.

Think about it this way: If the people who can buy almost anything they want would rather engage in interesting experiences possible only in particular destinations, imagine the deep impact such experiences would have on regular folks—especially your meeting attendees and incentive-program participants. This is an area where my professional role and my company’s hotels and resorts can make a strong impact on people, and it is what drives not only me but all the associates at our AIC Hotel Group properties.

On your side of the business—the planning side—here’s something else to consider: According to a November 2018 survey by online lender, 62 percent of employees did not get a raise in salary in 2018, versus just 52 percent of employees who did not get a raise in 2017. That’s a big jump, especially in an economy where unemployment is below four percent and good employees are hard to come by. It’s also all the more reason for employees and clients to look forward to the off-site meetings and incentive programs you coordinate and execute. They feel that those in-person experiences are part of their compensation, and those are also a large part of what keeps employees happy and loyal to their organization at a time when other jobs are out there waiting to be filled, perhaps with more base salary on offer.

With everything I’ve thrown at you here, my point is twofold: First, you are just like the people you serve in your work, so you know that unique experiences are valuable and worth working hard for. And second, it’s clear that 2019 is going to be a year of strong employment, so keeping your colleagues motivated and dedicated to your organization is likely going to require that you provide them with travel experiences that will stick with them for many years. The good news is that we at AIC Hotel Group are right there with you in wanting to deliver great experiences to people, so let’s talk about your objectives and see how we can partner up with you to reach them.


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