The Annual Incentive Invitational has become the preeminent event in the incentive travel industry. Here is a sampling of testimonials from customers and sponsor organizations who have participated in the IRF program.
I was so pleased to be part of it because it’s a very well connected organization and all of the who’s who in the incentive industry are there. So there’s an incredible exchange of ideas and best practices, and for me that was refreshing. I do not want to miss the IRF event ever again.
Liz Sutton, CTC
Sutton & Associates
I have had the distinct honor of hosting the Incentive Research Foundation’s Annual Invitational event twice (Bellagio in 2006 and ARIA Resort & Casino in 2011). In both cases, I can truly state we had a return on investment that produced thousands of room nights and additional revenue that is still paying off years later. We were able to expose each property to the quality and caliber of key decision makers that come to IRF. For those groups that had considered the hotel’s in the past or were close to making a decision on a destination, the IRF experience was able to close the deal! And for those planners that had never considered either resort before, we were given the opportunity of receiving future RFP’s. Hosting IRF gave our sales team the opportunity to spend a few days with great customers to strengthen relationships as well as start new ones! Throughout the program, we received requests for actual site inspections for specific groups.
The Invitational is a prime opportunity for any hotel to showcase their amenities and services to such an elite group of industry decision makers and be a part of a prestigious industry event. For us, just one large program that materialized due to the program, gave us our return on investment! As a hotelier in the luxury market, we look forward to always being a part of IRF’s Invitational in some way!
Stephanie Windham, CMP
Vice President Sales & Marketing
ARIA Resort & Casino
Vdara Hotel & Spa
We were so pleased to be the host hotel of the 2012 IRF Incentive Invitational in San Antonio! The entire team remarked on the quality and quantity of meeting planners and customers that attended, which immediately produced RFP’s for the Sales Managers. The overall opportunity to showcase our Resort to these key decision makers helped us to book significant new business in the past 10 months!
Director of Sales and Marketing
JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country
Ovation has been part of the IRF community for aeons because we consider it to be the repository of great research into the transformative power of incentives and motivational programmes in corporations. We use this research to win new clients and thus involvement with the IRF is a key dimension to our business development and marketing strategy. We have participated at the IRF Annual Invitational for many years too as a way of connecting with the true influencers in the meetings and incentives industry and have greatly appreciated the exciting educational programming that is now offered as a key component of the event.
Ovation Global DMC
The interactive, highly relevant content of the sessions at the annual IRF event impressed me. Not only measurement, but also best practice show cases and future trends with focus on how to improve the ROI were openly shared amongst the high level participants. It’s a perfect balance between knowledge sharing and networking during the extraordinary social events during the conference.
Polo Looser, MBA, BsC, CMM
MCI, VP Strategy & Consulting
Time is a commodity that we have in short supply, and so we need to be prudent and precise when deciding what industry events to attend, especially networking ones as we have so many options. But every now and then, one emerges out of the clutter that provides exceptional education, great networking and is overall a MUST attend, and that for me is the IRF Annual Incentive Invitational, without compare! All my suppliers in one place! I end up doing more business on the golf course and in the social settings than in a whole month in the office.
Eugene De Villiers
Extra Mile Company Ltd.
The networking opportunities at the IRF Annual Incentive Invitational are unparalleled. Reconnecting with existing relationships and establishing new ones are an integral part of the experience. Business sessions and leisure activities are balanced and supporting IRF fundraising via the auction assures continued quality research for our industry. It is a pleasure and a privilege to take part in this event.
S∙M+i / Sunquest Meetings + Incentives
I wanted to say congratulations on another very successful IRF Incentive Invitational. You and your colleagues continually exceed our expectations and make it truly one of the best premier events of the year that I sponsor. I love bragging to our clients about IRF as it brings together the best of the best in our industry.
We truly enjoyed hosting IRF and I was personally very impressed with the caliber of individuals that attended. You all have done a yeoman's job in creating an event that people really want to be at and glad we could be at the center of it.
Executive VP Sales & Marketing
Richard Petty Driving Experience was very happy to host one of the off-site activities which gave us a chance to expose our product 1st hand too many of the non-golfers. It was a hit. I attended IRF for the first time last year in Colorado Springs and look forward to our participation again in 2013.
Karl J. Fusco
Director of Sales
Richard Petty Driving Experience
I wanted to extend my sincere appreciation to you for the opportunity to be a host golf course for the IRF event. Thank you very much. I had a fantastic time at the networking events /dinners and I made some great connections during the week. I look forward to those relationships bringing business to Bear's Best in the near future. You and your staff did a wonderful job! We were proud to be a part of the IRF event. I look forward to speaking with you again soon.
Director of Sales and Marketing
Bear's Best Las Vegas
I thought the meeting was wonderful, and was a reminder that in my opinion it is probably the most important event we attend each year. Thank you so much for making sure we were there, and thank you for all you do for the organization in general.
Chief Operating Officer
I truly enjoyed this year's IRF conference in Vegas......I learned a lot and also had the opportunity to meet a lot of new contacts in our industry. I saw a lot of new and exciting hotels, Las Vegas has managed to reinvent itself, yet again....Thanks to you and your team, your audience definitely understands the amount of work and effort that makes this event run so seamlessly, and for that I thank you.
Business Development, North America
Meridican Incentive Consultants
We were thrilled to be the host property for this year’s event and from the early indications I can say that the event was both a tremendous success and a preview of what promises to be a very beneficial investment.
Our goal going into the sponsorship was to capitalize on our recent renovation as well as the transformation of the Palm Springs / Rancho Mirage destination. We were frankly pleasantly surprised you were able to deliver the quantity and distinction of this year’s attendees given the state of the world economy in 2009. Once they had arrived into our valley, the event was run flawlessly, professionally and most importantly with an eye to making the host property shine. We believe this occurred well beyond our expectations. The first tangible sign was an executed group agreement, for new business, eighteen days after the event ended. In the course of attending several industry events in the five weeks since the event, I can also say without a doubt that the good will and PR will ensure that our conversion expectations will live on.
Thank you again for this opportunity to host your prestigious event. We were honored to be selected as host and we look forward to a bright future with The IRF.
Former Director of Sales & Marketing
Westin Mission Hills Resort & Spa
It is with great enthusiasm that I endorse Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) as a sales, marketing and networking opportunity for you and your organization. I have known the IRF group for several years now and attended a number of these events. Without exception, these well-orchestrated events have provided opportunities for one on one conversation with c-suite officials from corporations, incentive houses, tourism boards, CVBs, hoteliers and airlines. The business exchanges have been engaging and informative and each conference provides an opportunity to familiarize myself with a headliner destination around the world in a fun, relaxed environment. Without doubt, time spent at one of the IRF conferences will be time well spent for you and your organization. It is definitely an industry event not to be missed.
Bich-Lien Kaldahl, CTE
Sales Manager – North Central
Thank you for a very impressive weekend. I was utmost pleased with the professionalism of the program AND the participants. Congratulations.
Congratulations on a superb event. The event’s organization was great and I know it takes everyone – the staff, the host hotel, the DMC’s, and every other wonderful sponsor to pull it off like you all did. I’ve always loved the format and all I gain professionally from participating in the event. Golf and the other activities are enjoyable and the new addition of business sessions are a plus, but it still comes down to the networking opportunities that I enjoy and benefit from the most. The conversations at the evening events are always interesting; I love the one on one exchange of ideas and opinions. But the interaction with the hole sponsors, even if only for a brief few minutes, is still my favorite feature of the event. There they have a captive audience and you aren’t being pulled away like you do when surrounded by hundreds of people at an evening reception. I really get a lot out of those 36 encounters and it is the primary reason why I never opt for anything other than the golf activity.
Thanks and congratulations once again!
VIKTOR Incentives & Meetings
Thank you very much for inviting me to attend the Invitational. The roundtable discussions are the highlight for me, essential to conducting incentive travel business effectively. Where else can one have access to the best, most current research and the minds that bring our service to fruition…I am using many of my contacts from the Invitational on some new business!
Director Sales & Marketing
Incentive Management Inc.
I wanted to take a moment and send kudos from the entire staff here at ATLANTIS, Paradise Island to The Opus Group and The IRF. The 15th Annual Incentive Research Foundation Invitational held here in The Bahamas was a great success. The letters and accolades keep pouring in from this year's participants (and a few from those who could not make it this year). Over the past 15 years, this event truly has grown to be one of the preeminent events in the industry. It was a great team effort and your years of experience helped shape its success. As you know, this is a large under taking and investment for any organization. You promised a top notch event and delivered. We are already starting to see the return on our investment with several leads and more importantly contracts! It was an honor for ATLANTIS, Paradise Island to be chosen as the host hotel for this year's IRF Invitational and I think we raised the bar for future programs to come. On behalf of our 8500 employees, we would like to say Thank You.
Chris L. Wheeler
Executive Director, Global Incentive Sales
Atlantis, Paradise Island
I want to say a very special "THANK YOU" for all of you and your groups efforts in putting together a great event! I actually conducted a site inspection with a client following the program and we have already gone back to the Atlantis to see if we enter into a two-year deal! I made some great contacts, learned so much and came away better prepared to do my job -- sell incentive travel and meetings!
Thank you for the opportunity to attend a great event in Nassau Paradise Island this past weekend. It was as a great event. It was nice to meet some fantastic people and have a great time, all at once. It truly was a pleasure...
Michelle B. Hylton, CMP
Leadership Development Program Coordinator
Booz Allen Hamilton
The IRF Incentive Invitational is one of the best networking venues in the Incentive Industry...It is a fun, informative, professionally planned event that raises money for a very worthwhile cause!"
Brett R. Hatch
Global Corporate Gifts Manager
Maui Jim Sunglasses
I just want to take a minute to thank you so much for inviting me to last weeks event. I walked away with hundreds of new ideas and many new friends. I had a great time as well. Have a wonderful day and congratulations on coordinating such a GREAT meeting.
Marketing Communications Manager
Daimler Financial Services
Let me tell you "hats off' AGAIN, for another fantastic IRF event! I thought the attendees and program were as successful as they've always been, and look forward to many more years of sponsorship support together!
Karen H Devine
THANK YOU! You and your team really put on a superb event, and I'm so pleased to have been a participant. The content was excellent, and of course the networking invaluable.
Thank you again for a wonderful experience at the Annual Incentive Invitational. It is a privilege to be part of this great event. I truly enjoyed myself throughout the weekend. As always you guys put together an incredible event.
Director, Corporate & Incentive Sales
The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii
I wanted to thank you for a fabulous weekend. I truly enjoyed meeting so many wonderful people and learning more about our industry.
Thank you once again for an excellent Incentive Invitational program. I returned very pleased with the outstanding attendance you receive from the highest level of incentive and corporate end users! I think this says a lot about your organization and we plan to participate again next year and many more. My corporate customers who attended also told me they were very pleased and want to be on the invite list next year! The golf tournament and our supplier participation allowed me to personally meet over 150 clients many of whom I have not met before or wanted to, and the sponsorship of the tee box gave me ample time to network. Compliments too for your incredibly organized pre and post information about the Invitational and your staff on site are most professional and personal and made me feel so comfortable. The resort, activities, entertainment, food and beverage events and Sunbound services were all excellent. The Auction was also so well organized that it gives us suppliers an ideal venue to illustrate our properties and get great exposure among the clients who visited the displays daily. Many thanks to The Opus Group. You know this business as well as anyone and excel at bringing the right people together.
Director of Incentive Travel Sales
Orient-Express Hotels, Trains & Cruises
I knew from the very first Invitational I attended that Jamaica had to host the Annual Incentive Invitational! This is perhaps the only industry event today that provides suppliers the opportunity to interact with approximately 150 of the most qualified executives in the incentive industry, all at the same time!
The attention to detail in the planning by The Opus Group provides every opportunity for the destination to show at its best. A fun-filled event while maintaining the integrity of the incentive business environment. And that was certainly the case in 2007 when we hosted The Invitational in Jamaica. And would do so again!
We highly recommend being involved in this very important industry event!
Regional Director - Groups & Conventions
Jamaica Tourist Board
I am proud to say that I have personally been involved with the incentive industry's Premier event since the second year of its conception. As a major sponsor, host, golfer, business man and friend, this event has continued to hit on all cylinders and truly provide the best ROI for AWG. I applaud the individuals involved that created this event and for having the foresight in bringing together many of our industries most notable personalities and decision makers from all over the globe. People in our industry don't just travel from other continents for any event. The thought of where we go, who participates and the many countless hours contributed to organize an event of this caliber whilst we raise money and invest in the future leaders of the incentive/motivation industry, is/was nothing short of brilliant. It has been my honor to participate in this event and the many incredible friendships, networking and business opportunities that have been born out of these fun filled days has earned a permanent spot on my calendar.
Alan F. Waxler
The Annual Incentive Invitational has the highest caliber of Incentive Industry Executives of any event I have ever attended. I have developed relationships with suppliers as well as my peers that are invaluable to me in working with my customers. The event is consistently handled with extreme professionalism and flexibility which I appreciate.
Todd Scott Winston
Vice President, Sales
Since my initial participation in the Invitational I have connected with many different vendors and formed lasting relationships. I held our annual U.S. Bank Consumer Lending conference at one of the host hotels, the JW Marriott Desert Ridge in March 2006. Not only was it a beautiful location, the hotel was ideal for a large group. Currently, we use Sedona Golf and Special Markets for our monthly employee recognition program. Overall, I am very impressed with the services and networking opportunities I have experienced through participation in the Annual Incentive Invitational.
Linda Wesley Sigmon
VP, Consumer Lending Marketing
For more information contact: Lisa Cherry • The Opus Group
720.708.6464 • email@example.com
21st Annual Sponsors
With Grateful Appreciation to all the 2014 IRF Hosts and Sponsors
Champions Club Sponsors
Secrets Puerto Los Cabos
Secrets Marquis Los Cabos
Sheraton Hacienda Del Mar Golf & Spa Resort Los Cabos
Hilton Los Cabos Beach and Golf Resort
AVI-SPL Audio Visual
Mexico Tourism Board
Dreams Los Cabos Suites Golf Resort & Spa
Zoetry Casa Del Mar Los Cabos
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2014 Destination Hosts