Since 1980, the annual Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) Crystal Awards Recognition Program — sponsored by IMEX Group — has brought industry acclaim to incentive travel companies. These are the world-class organizations that excel in the design of unique, memorable group travel experiences, which deliver measurable benefits for their clients.
The 2016 awards were presented at the SITE Global Conference, which took place early November in Panama City, Panama. This year seven companies from around the globe were honored for creativity in program design, marketing, corporate social responsibility and, most importantly, business results. The events showcase the best — not just the best-known — destinations that have advanced client values and brands, and whose programs have given generously to local communities, while achieving important business goals such as increased sales, higher employee engagement, and greater loyalty.
Goodyear’s annual incentive trip for U.S., Canada and Mexico dealers along with associates from the field and global headquarters took place in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. For the first time ever, a CSR component was integrated into the program to bring the team together and positively impact the lives of local community members with a lasting contribution – a new playground for a local school in need.
Effectiveness and Results
Goodyear has recently combined their Latin America and North American regions into one – the Americas. Their goal for the incentive trip was to not only reward but to connect team members from across the region. They wanted to bring dealers and associates together to celebrate the company, unite them with a common purpose and build engagement among the team as well as with the community, who are ultimately their customers. Furthermore, Goodyear’s brand goal is to deliver sustainable revenue and profit growth while increasing the value of the brand to consumers, which aligned with the CSR initiative.
The CSR program exceeded the expectations. It created an opportunity outside the corporate setting for team members to work together and give back to the local community. This allowed employees to connect in a meaningful way and created friendships that still remain after the end of the program. The engagement among associates created by the tasks at hand on the playground has translated to engagement back at the office, creating the unified team Goodyear wanted. It also increased brand value in the region as it demonstrated collaboration between the brand and consumers to benefit and improve the quality of school amenities in the community. The return on investment for Goodyear was substantial when considering customer satisfaction and that the overall approval rating from participants was 99%.
Reflecting on the impact of the program, Martin Rosales, Goodyear’s managing director in Mexico said, “We worked together with our North American distributors to provide a better future for those little kids in Mexico. It was a unique experience. It was very clear that we – the associates – are not the only ones who protect the company’s good name. Our customers do it as well. It was an example of the synergies we can create within the Americas and how powerful this new region will be.”
The CSR initiative demonstrated best practices by recycling used tires and repurposing them as a jungle gym and playground for a school in the community currently educating about 1,000 children with only a single soccer field for recreation. Taking into account the environmental benefit of recycling old tires, as well as the social and economic benefit for a school lacking resources, building a playground from the ground up positively impacted all stakeholders. Not only did Goodyear employees work to leave a lasting impact on the community, but parents, teachers and government officials also contributed to the successful day. The results are tangible – 1,000 children have a playground where they can be active and improve their fitness while having fun, promoting health and well-being.
The Goodyear team was able to rally around the project and create comradery amongst dealers and associates, while giving back to the community they were visiting. After creating the playground, they had a celebratory BBQ for the entire community. Even the mayor of Puerto Vallarta, Arturo Davalos Peña, attended the lunch and spoke about the benefits of education and the generosity shown by Goodyear toward his community.
The Creative Approach
The participants of this program couldn’t have been more varied; dealers, distributors, executives, children, parents, teachers, media and even government officials present! Not to mention the different cultures and languages represented. The beauty and success of the program was evident by how seamlessly it all came together to achieve the goal of providing schoolchildren with a safe environment to play while teaching everyone about teamwork, patience and environmental and cultural awareness.
The entire initiative was fully customized for Goodyear. The creative use of their product – Goodyear tires – strengthened the brand in the region, and the custom design of the activity was impactful to the attendees because it was unlike what they had experienced before. Goodyear participants were broken up into different groups in charge of various activities based on their abilities and given corresponding color-coded bandanas. For example, there was the team who did the heavy lifting as the install group, digging holes and putting the jungle gym pieces together. Another group was in charge of setting up tables and chairs and helping the caterers with lunch. Everyone was able to contribute in an impactful way to the overall success.
They playground itself was completely customized – from the jungle gym to the swing set and of course to the Goodyear tires that were brightly painted and made into a pyramid. Goodyear had a say every step of the way to make sure the results would be something that not only served the purpose of executing a CSR activity but something that everyone would be proud of.
Working with partner Amstar DMC Mexico, BCD Meetings & Events was able to provide seamless coordination for the client. The behind-the-scenes work that was done locally with the government and school board in order to select and prepare the school was invaluable. The complexity of planning the program whilst local government was in transition with a new Mayor and staff taking office (meaning a new Board of Education) and summer holiday for schools meant there had to be consistent follow up and communication.
The DMC helped secure approval from the Board of Education and find a school in need, as well as coordinated efforts to bring in a local foreman and jungle gym supplier to both prep the playground area and help install. The language barrier between participants and the community was a bit of an obstacle but this was overcome by the common goal of everyone involved. It became less a burden and more of a value – even though communicating was difficult, the power of the common purpose served to bridge language gaps.
Having a DMC partner locally who could assist with recruiting the right partners who understood not only the concept of the program, but also the value of what we were doing, gave us the security that they would be as invested in this program’s success as we were.
BCD Meetings & Events leveraged their industry experience and global partnerships to gain access to the local community and school as well as to establish a relationship with local vendors for the install of the playground. This proved to be a true team effort.