Did Michelangelo do houses?   

June 6, 2017

I am the president of The Journeymasters, our objective in life is to create and deliver the most exceptional incentive travel trips in the world. When I started the company I determined we would sell travel incentives … and only travel incentives. When asked why I overlooked such lucrative options as meetings, sales meeting & conventions I replied seriously, “Did Michelangelo do houses?”

In our first company portfolio I wrote a poem to introduce The Journeymasters to the world … Imagine a poem instead of a mission statement.

When game is short the tiger leaves for better hunting grounds.

When air grows chilled the winged fly to warmer air.

And if the grass won’t grow, or burns, or withers in a drought

all the herbivorous migrate.

But I am Man … so I will go.

No one has ever told me why, no answer ever satisfied

this crazy, bursting, fervent thing that forces me to go away from home.

But I am Man … and so I go.

You see we were not selling travel; we were creating miniature pieces of living art. We were taking a couple, out of their lifelong routine, bringing them to a foreign land …

And if I gag on their strange foods, or turn my nose from their strange smells. I will learn their foods can be my foods, their smells my smells …

And letting them learn, in the most comfortable & luxurious way, just who they are. And how they were connected to all of the earth’s human beings.

So I must learn … what Man is.

All they had to do to go on this incredible, life changing journey was to sell more vacuum cleaners, or fertilizer, or carpeting than they sold last year.

That was the beginning of the industry we have been lucky enough to start, to grow and to live our lives in.

Sadly, I have detected in recent conversations that the objective of the trip buyer has changed from buying the most unforgettable trip possible, to buying the least expensive trip available.

Sorrowful indeed.

The Society of Incentive Travel (SITE) was established primarily to announce to the Travel Industry that a new kind of traveler had arrived. This new traveler was not the heir to a famous family’s fortune, or even the creator of that fortune, not a harried executive traveling to a meeting, not a family member on his or her way to a wedding, funeral, or to visit an aging parent or sibling, not a family on a family vacation, or infirmed patient seeking medical assistance, not an immigrant seeking opportunity, or the descendant of an immigrant seeking his or her forefathers homeland … No this new traveler was a star, a producer, one of the 20% who created 80% of the success of his company (or his vendor), a competitor who competed and who won.

This new traveler was a Winner! And expected to be treated as the champion he or she was. Where does an 800 pound gorilla sleep? Anywhere he or she wants to. Where does an incentive contest winner sleep? In one of the best rooms in the house! Not the minimum rated room, not a standard room … but one of the best rooms in the house.

And the Travel Industry took note. SITE’s purpose was accomplished. Before SITE September was a low season, we filled up September it is no longer low season. Before SITE there was no executive in charge of Incentives, today every travel organization of almost any size has an executive in charge of incentive groups.  And we changed the lowly “Ground Operator” to the respected DMC. We have not yet convinced the industry to call our winners “guests” instead of the dreaded “pax” but we’re working on that, too.

Sadly, all of our accomplishments are changing. John Ruskin, the prominent Victorian Age social thinker wisely told us …

“There is nothing in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and he who considers price only is that man’s lawful prey.”

If my observation concerning the objective of today’s incentive trip buyer is accurate, and I fear it is, what in the world are these buyers thinking?

An incentive trip is supposed to be Extraordinary.

If you believe this to be so … give me a call …