What's Hot, How-to

Strong Tailwinds Continue to Propel Pulse Experiential Travel

The company that helped create the individual incentive travel category over 43 years ago sees continued growth--even after group cancellations during the pandemic created surprising demand for the company’s flexible individual travel packages redeemable three years from issuance. Now, Pulse Experiential Travel sees a new phase based on other trends in its favor.
Key Trends in Favor of Individual Travel Experiences
The Focus on the Participant Experience

Four a one-half years ago, Georgia Matthews officially joined Virginia-based Pulse Experiential Travel, after having often come to the office to help during her teenage and college years. Today, after four years on the job, she is Vice President of National Accounts, although her father Marc Matthews, company Founder and CEO says that clients know that she is much more than that. “When clients tell me how happy all their winners are with our Just Rewards experiences, I can no longer take the credit.”
She joined in a full-time capacity at an exciting time, says Matthews, as multiple trends continue to support continued growth. Pulse Experiential Travel describes itself as a full-service incentive reward fulfillment company that “creates exciting and unique individual experiential travel programs designed to differentiate reward offerings that will improve sales, increase market share, reward customer loyalty, motivate employees and build brand awareness.”

Key Trends in Favor of Individual Travel Experiences

The now almost universal preference for individual incentive travel among top performers, the increased focus on sustainability, the “bleisure” travel phenomenon, a continued demand for simple, effective, and reliable incentive solutions, and most of all the desire of people to have personalized authentic experiences have continued to drive demand, Matthews tells RRN.
The company’s JustRewards™ brand of sports and experiential vacation travel certificates feature what the company believes to be “unparalleled access to exciting sports events and memorable vacation getaways worldwide and offer package options for every budget.” Over the years, Matthews notes, the company has painstakingly developed an inventory of thousands of unique experiences around the world that would take years to duplicate. All the programs can be customized for individuals or small groups, he notes, whether for business or social purposes, and the certificates are transferable if someone cannot use it. 
Matthews knew he was ahead of his time when he expanded his original sporting events business to provide all types of experiences, including culinary, outdoor adventures, inns and bed and breakfasts, and later short escapes to special places near major tourism attractions. His foresight apparently has paid off. As the interest in individual exploratory travel has increased, Pulse Experiential Travel became uniquely positioned in the marketplace to address the widespread appetite for more authentic experiences, a trend highlighted in recent Incentive Research Foundation studies.

The Focus on the Participant Experience

“People sometimes under-estimate the time it takes to select and create great travel experiences,” says Georgia Matthews.  “By doing all the legwork, makes the gift reward all that more meaningful to the recipient, and we are always happy to work with the recipients who want to customize the packages.
Beyond the wide and growing selection of travel experiences around the world, both Matthews emphasize that the key is the participant experience. Joy Smith, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Partners for Incentives, a 72-year-old Ohio-based incentive company, tells RRN, “In all the years we have used Pulse Experiential Travel, we have never had one complaint from a participant.” Adds Jacque Busby, Founder and CEO of Luxe Incentives, 32-year-old Florida based incentive company, “Their speed and flexibility is amazing. I recently had a client with very specific needs in exotic places and they were able to almost immediately come up with attractive ideas.”
Although the company focuses primarily on providing reward experiences, Matthews says they try to remind customers of the ability to use the company’s rewards in simple plateau- or points-based programs that enable people to work toward experiences that are meaningful to them. Offered with the proper ongoing management support and communications, with achievable goals, these programs he says provide a compelling proposition: “Other than of course the proper communication, there is no cost and little risk, because people do not receive the reward if they don’t achieve the goal.” This is an approach from which any size company can benefit, Matthews says, because of the minimal time and risk involved with setting up the program and the ability for most companies to simply integrate the communications and other support into what they already do. 
While the bulk of the company’s customers use the company’s services for business purposes, the ability for people to pay a fixed price good for three years and the wide selection of customizable options is driving increased demand for wedding gifts, anniversaries, retirements, or other milestones.
Looking ahead, Georgia Matthews says the focus is on continually expanding the inventory and variety of experiences to reflect the next generation of travel. She explains, “I think that because of my exposure to travel early on, I have a better idea of what younger people are looking for, and I know what has excited me personally throughout my life. I now can bring that background knowledge to our clients at Pulse Experiential Travel with first-hand experience and what I’ve learned from my dad's experiences about what has worked and not worked.”

For More Information

Marc H. Matthews

RRN: Your Partner in Success in Incentives, Rewards, and Recognition

Published by the Enterprise Engagement Alliance at TheEEA.org
  • The only weekly news, how-to and resource publication of record for the Incentive, Rewards, and Recognition field.
  • The only marketing agency focusing specifically on the IRR and broader engagement marketplace.
Contact Bruce Bolger at 914-591-7600, ext. 230 or email Bolger@TheEEA.org when you want to get to know or get known in this growing $176 billion marketplace.

The Industry’s Only Combined Media Platform and Marketing Agency to Help You Expand Your Business

  • All the industry news, research, announcements, and how-to articles read by over 20,000 end-users in sales, marketing, and human resources; incentive, recognition, loyalty and promotional companies, as well as marketing and human resources agencies, seeking to enhance performance through effectively designed incentive programs.
  • Unparalleled business development services for engagement, incentive and incentive travel, recognition firms; brands, gift cards and master fulfillment companies, and technology firms, featuring ROI-based business development strategy design and ongoing digital and social media and e-newsletter communications to help marketers profit in the coming era of cookie-less marketing. 
  • Unique abilities for solution providers to sponsor authoritative, evergreen content directly related to what they sell through the EEA’s Effective Practices series on articles in our media platforms.
  • EEA YouTube Channel with over three dozen how-to and insight videos and growing with nearly 100 expert guests.
  • Access to new technologies from EEA preferred solution providers enabling brands to create their own points-based or transactional redemption site.
  • Unparalleled expertise in program design, return on investment measurement, reporting, and prescriptive analytics.

Outreach to Enhance Industry Awareness

The EEA is dedicated to helping address the fact that the IRR business remains a little-known industry.
  • The Association of National Advertisers education effort reaches the CMOs of almost every leading brand to promote our industry and the importance of program design through created for their members.
  • The Brand Media Coalition has led the way in helping brands better tell their stories for use in incentive, recognition, and loyalty programs, and to actively promote the importance of the reward experience and buying through industry channels.
  • The Enterprise Engagement Alliance is assisting companies with the upcoming Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, which includes details on the practices and metrics involved with employee and customer engagement.

Promoting Effective Program Design

  • The EEA provides comprehensive and growing library of concise, research-based resources to promote serious ROI-based thinking, including the importance of the reward experience. 
  • Join the Enterprise Engagement Alliance to master the processes of enterprise engagement, stakeholder management and reporting, or contact the EEA to get expert assistance on strategy design, implementation, and reporting.

RRN: Your Partner in Success in Incentives, Rewards, and Recognition

Contact Bruce Bolger at 914-591-7600, ext. 230 or email Bolger@TheEEA.org when you want to get to know or get known in this growing $1.76 billion marketplace.
Earn Big $ In EEA Referral Program
Brand Media Resources
EME Gold
Brand Resources
  • Pulse Experiential Travel
  • Amazon
  • 1-800-flowers
  • LG
  • Mont Blanc
  • Callaway
  • Harco Incentives
  • Cuisinart
  • GoPro
  • Weber