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Just Put It on the Corporate Tab

Posted by Karen Yi on September 18, 2008

Dailyperk_20080917_onthecor You're a corporate employee barely alive after last month's layoffs. After a long dry spell, the company finally decides to send you abroad. You take it. Transportation, accommodation and meals-included. It's an all expense paid trip, but not exactly your dream vacation.

With companies cutting down on business travel and the economy forcing households to rule out leisure trips, employees are being hard-pressed to find alternatives for their vacation. Jim Cohn, a spokesman for Orbitz for Business said in an interview with The New York Times, "a majority of business travelers we survey tell us they're traveling as much, if not more." So how exactly are these employees still managing to take their much needed vacations?

The answer is simple-by putting it on the corporate tab. More and more employees are taking advantage of business trips by meshing them with personal or family vacations. But is combining business with pleasure really a money saving strategy? If the company's paying, why not bring along the whole family, right? Well, not exactly. In reality, tacking on extra days to a pre-paid trip is cheaper because the company already pays for the flight. One less airfare could mean one nicer dinner with the fam. And if you're lucky, you might just be able to extend your hotel stay for the same discounted corporate price.

The economy is not the only gun-hoe encourager behind these business-pleasure vacations. In their profit-seeking schemes, airlines have actually opened up a whole new portal for leisure travel to mooch off of corporations. With airlines increasingly charging for trivialities to compensate for rising oil prices and plummeting profits, they recently incorporated what they call "minimum-stay fare rules." Basically, another money-sucking implementation, but this one might just benefit the corporate world, or at least their employees.

With these new rules, it's the companies that end up losing, paying double to four times as much for short business trips. Cheaper fares require two-to-three-day stays and often a Saturday night. And that's where the vacation time kicks in. If you're going to stay the weekend, benefit from it. Combining these business trips with pleasure ends up being more economical for the company and enjoyable for the employee. It-s a win-win situation. And it's the growing trend.

Your packing checklist is simple and obvious, basically preparing for a work sleepover - now add in baby formula, some toys, a bathing suit and casual clothes.

Whoever said work couldn't be fun?

Where Are We?

Posted by Stacy Straczynski on September 04, 2008

Wherearewe0908 Do you recognize this destination?

E-mail jennifer.juergens@nielsen.com with your answer, and be entered into a drawing for a $50 American Express gift card.

Last month's picture featured Vernal Falls in Yosemite National Park. Some guesses were close, but no one got it quite right last month!

In the Category of Stranger than Fiction...

Posted by Stacy Straczynski on September 02, 2008

By Terry Epton, Chief Executive Officer of USA Hosts, Ltd. and online columnist for Incentive magazine

When you've been in this industry as long as I have, you have lots of stories to share. Some tales are romantic, some are adventurous, some illustrate genius, some are tragic and some are just plain bizarre--such as this one tale told to me several years ago at an incentive industry conference by one of SITE's founding members and past presidents...

We were at a tiki bar behind the beach resort where an event was headquartered. Our conversation took place as I was taking a break from some rather strenuous body surfing in the amazing waves. While I was watching two of my closest colleagues continue to catch wave after wave, my friend described a site inspection that his co-worker and a client were on for the purposes of wrapping up the details of a future incentive trip.  He explained to me that while sitting on the same stool, at the same tiki bar, his co-worker was watching his client body surfing in similar conditions. The inspection trip had been a success and the hotel was in the process of making some final adjustments to the contract. It was a rather satisfying moment for the incentive company executive, seeing his happy client and realizing that well-made plans were now in place for an impressive sales incentive program, featuring this fabulous resort. All that was left was Shark_surferfor the client to sign the contract and attend a hosted dinner at the hotel's gourmet restaurant before returning to the States in the morning. That's when he noticed his client being followed in the surf by a large shadow, which turned out to be an enormous shark.  As quick as he could stand up and shout, the shark ended his client's life and the incentive program that was so close to fruition.

Hearing this account, I was stunned for a moment, and then shocked to see my two close friends still out there in the waves. I called them in, bought us all a round of drinks and counted my blessings! In what other business would you hear a story like that? 

Editor's Note: Be sure to read Terry Epton's September column on the history of the incentive industry on Incentivemag.com