By Guest Contributor, Scott Siewert, Fab at Incentives.
As the owner of an incentive travel company based in the United States, I am keenly aware that disruption is everywhere. Conducting business the way we always have can lead to obsolescence and a perceptive person asking, “Why?”.
When clients ask us to provide cash to winners for onsite dining experiences for international programs, this often means asking our onsite incentive travel team to travel with $9,990 USD each into a foreign country. Why $9,990 USD? In many countries, if you bring in $10,000 USD or more on your person, you have to declare the amount as you go through customs. Talk about stress!
Why would you want the stress from?
Walking/driving to your bank and potentially having to pay a fee to withdraw a large amount of cash. Most banks charge to withdraw large amounts of currency, especially if it is in specific denominations
Potentially misplacing the $9,990 USD
Having to physically carry that much money – think extra-large brown paper bag!
Counting $9,990 USD to ensure no counting mistakes, or worse torn/worn money. I will never forget going through Bolivian customs where my newer $100 USD bill was carefully examined and found not to be in pristine, Bolivian customs approved perfect condition. Much to my dismay, my newer $100 USD was worthless in Bolivia!
The smarter, safer, smoother and more sensible modern-day practices would be to either transfer the funds electronically to the resort for on-site distribution (more about that below) or, if the dining experience is on-site, negotiate with your resort to allow for dining charges to be posted to the incentive group’s master account.
This year our firm did the latter. We saved thousands of dollars by partnering with our Forbes Five-Star resort and offered every winner a $45 USD breakfast allowance. In bygone days we would have given a $45 USD per person cash allowance to pay for each breakfast. We would have brought an extra-large brown paper bag full of cash on our person to disseminate on site. When we asked ourselves, why would we want to continue with this business practice, we came to the conclusion that we needed to change our ways. Thus, we partnered with our host resort to allow each winner to sign their breakfast bill to their room. Behind the scenes we transferred their $45 USD or less breakfast bills to our Master Account. For every person that did not spend their full $45 USD we had breakage (savings), which saved our client thousands of dollars. This innovative solution worked great because the dining experience was on-site.
Partnering with Escrow Meeting, a financial solutions company, is a smart, secure solution when requiring a cash allowance for your program. Meeting Escrow wires the funds, in the correct currency, to the hotel and makes arrangements to distribute the cash to you on-site or apply it to the master account.
We’re finished with the stress of traveling to foreign countries with brown bags full of cash!
In our world, being smart with our money is #1. Thinking creatively and collaborating with sensible financial solution providers like Meeting Escrow leads to smooth sailing and smiling clients!