Feb 15, 2022
Today, we have the great pleasure of speaking to Terry Manion. Terry is another icon in our industry! He spent many years arranging incentive travel and is currently President of the Toronto-based consulting company Inspire Consulting. He is the immediate past President of the SITE Foundation.
In this episode, Terry shares some insights from a survey being done currently by the SITE Foundation. He also discusses his career and offers nuggets of wisdom from his many years of experience in organizing incentive travel across the world and then selling his company.
We hope you enjoy listening to our informative conversation with Terry Manion today!
Terry is currently President of Inspire Consulting, a Toronto-based consulting company that focuses on entrepreneurial start-ups and small businesses. Inspire provides guidance, support, and access to the tools and professional services needed for a growing business.
As a former partner of Meridican Incentive Consultants, Terry was very involved in the growth of that respected incentive and meeting planning company. “We weren’t always perfect, and it is through the stumbles that the greatest lessons were learned. It is through these experiences that Inspire leads growing businesses through the challenges associated with Human Resources, Cash Flow, New Markets and Growth to name a few of the areas of expertise.”
A long-time member of the Society for Incentive Excellence and the SITE Foundation President in 2021, Terry continues to support the industry through his activities on the SITE Foundation Board of Trustees.
Terry had no idea what he wanted to do after high school, so he decided to travel. He worked in hotels in Switzerland and then returned home to do a two-year diploma course in business administration and travel and tourism. After meeting some people along the way, he moved into the world of incentive travel and spent ten years working as a salesperson for a Canadian company that was deeply involved with SITE.
He then became a co-partner in Meridican Incentive Consultants. In 2019, they sold the company to Creative Group, and Terry stayed with them for just over a year and a half.
In May of 2021, Terry started Inspire Consulting as a semi-retirement piece. Terry uses his experience to help businesses avoid potential pitfalls and grow.
A memorable experience
One of Terry’s most memorable experiences was taking over the Sistine Chapel for a cocktail party.
Terry loved going to Rwanda to see the beautiful country and walk with the gorillas. It was a life-changing experience for him!
Assessing his business
Terry’s business was healthy, well-run, and debt-free when he sold it. It also had tremendously loyal staff and clients.
Assessing your business
About ten years ago, Terry and his partner had their business assessed to get an impartial view of how the business world might value it. After that, they decided that their business was not quite ready to be sold.
Terry feels that anyone considering selling their business should do the same.
Terry feels that it is wise to plan for your retirement. He and his wife filled in several profile surveys to help them know what to do in their retirement years. Terry was fortunate to have been President of the SITE Foundation when he retired because his voluntary position there allowed him to stay relevant, and it kept him occupied.
All the business he is currently working on came through referrals from former clients or friends growing their businesses.
SITE is a global organization dedicated to strengthening and supporting the incentive travel industry. The SITE Association is a membership organization focused mainly on incentive travel. Anyone affiliated with incentive travel can become a member.
The SITE Foundation
The SITE Foundation is an arm of SITE. Its primary role is to raise funds for research projects, scholarships, and grants to support professional development within the industry world.
Incentive travel creates added value and motivation for cooperation for its participants. Those who participate in incentive travel experience moments they cannot duplicate if they ever return to the same place with family or friends.
Some tangible benefits of incentive travel
Incentive travel gets primarily used as a sales motivator. Incentive travel programs motivate the retention and loyalty of dealers and distributors and create a level of communication that can only happen when people get the opportunity to live together for several days or a week or two. Incentive travel provides opportunities for networking and the sharing of best practices between groups of top-end salespeople, even long after the trip is over. Incentive travel also allows for a spread of culture and provides an opportunity for leadership to communicate with their top people.
Terry was surprised and a little disappointed to learn that incentive travel has not been used more for non-sales motivation.
Driving best practices
Different metrics exist within most companies to measure how well the employees in various positions are performing. Building incentive programs with those metrics involved will drive best practices. It will also encourage the kind of behavior the company requires.
Terry feels it is vital and valuable for leadership to be actively involved on-site with incentive travel programs.
The culture piece of businesses has always been important. Now, it is even more so because it brings people together. Incentive travel allows people to have unique experiences that they will not want to miss the next time!
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