Remember when we covered how to organize a VIP trip that affiliates will love? Well now I have a specific and recent example of a trip that embraced all the aspects of pure VIP treatment. In fact, a trip like this just might convince some of us to quit our jobs and become VIP affiliatessowe can be considered for an invite in the future.
For the third year and running, Betting Partners has invited their cream of the crop affiliates for a “VIP appreciation trip”, a mixture between fun, business, entertainment, free time and a lot of pampering- its always a coveted invite amongst the online gambling affiliate community.
The purpose of this activity is twofold- to recognize exceptional business partners for their hard work throughout the year and to encourage all other business partners to reach a new level so they are on the radar for an invite next year.
So here it is, the ideal case study for any iGaming affiliate program that wants to reward and incentivize their partners by treating them like true VIPs.
Betting Partners 2014 Partner Summit: Hard Rock Punta Cana Hotel and Resort
“The 3rd annual Betting Partners Affiliate Summit was another great success”, Rick Abdullovitch, Head of Betting Partners, said to me with a smile before he launched into the finer details of the week.
The 2014 Betting Partners Summit spanned from Monday to Friday, March 31st through April 4th, at the Dominican Republic’s all-inclusive Punta Cana Hotel and Resort. To ensure their guests experienced a seamless travel experience to the Dominican, flights were pre-arranged by Betting Partners and private transport was provided from the airport to the hotel.
Once at the resort, Betting Partners had a series of planned activities up their sleeve, a day of Summit Sessions and several group meals,all while providinga sizable amount of downtime for everyone.
As always, it’s the finer touches that truly impress business partners, for example the little blue Tiffany’s bags that were presented to each guest- cufflinks for the boys and bracelets for the girls- but also things like holding the opening drinks on the Mini Golf Course and having it closed to the public, allowing for a more intimate and “exclusive” setting.
“[The opening drinks were] a great way to break the ice between affiliate partners and a way for all the staff that were in attendance to meet some partners for the first time”, Abdullovitch revealed. “The champagne was flowing and the live music really kicked the week off in style. It also allowed for us to break into groups and play a round of mini golf and start developing interpersonal connections in smaller groups”.
Built into the five day schedule was an “excursion day”, an opportunity for the guests to choose between four pre-planned activities: deep sea fishing, skeet shooting, zip lining and ATV’ing
“It’s safe to say that everyone went home with a new memory of their trip”, said Abdullovitch. “[The activities were] very well received by partners and just another way for us to spend quality time with them”.
Perhaps most the most innovative aspect of the trip was the “Amazing Affiliate Race”, a bespoke half-day scavenger hunt of sorts, something that clearly required a lot of preparation and coordination from Betting Partners to execute successfully.
“The race obstacles included a drinking competition, playing blackjack in the casino, shooting three pointers on the basketball court, a spin around the lazy river, ladder ball at the beach, a fruit eating competition, a ‘selfie’ moment with the team and then finally a duck race in the pool to round out the race”, Abdullovitch said proudly. “After the race, we concluded with a Barbecue Lunch poolside and then everyone took a break at the pool until our planned group dinner later that night at Zen restaurant”.
Its difficult to come up with group activities that everyone will enjoy and participate in at “appreciation trips” such as this one. Despite this fact, the “Amazing Affiliate Race” seemed to have truly hit the spot.
“The entire race was a success and really encouraged affiliates to step out of their usual comfort zones and take part in this team building activity”, Abdullovitch said.
In order to tastefully balance out the fun with a little business, Betting Partners arranged a day of summit sessions, a less “salsey” and more “business oriented” series of presentations. The purpose of these sessions was to educate top partners on the future of the company and to involve partners with such plans. Partners appreciated the opportunity to learn more about the company that they so closely work with and Betting Partners were impressed with the level of participation from their partners.
Also built into the Summit schedule was plenty of free time during which guests could enjoy the sun, hang out by the pool, gamble at the casino, hit the clubs and do whatever they chose. Even though it sounds simple, ample free time is a very necessary piece in the greater VIP affiliate treatment puzzle.
A fringe benefit of trips like this are the new personal friendships that evolve between staff and affiliates, but also between affiliates and affiliates. During the designated “free time” periods, the larger group often ended up together, some even stepping out of their comfort zone just to spend time with their new friends.
“[After the sessions concluded], it was an open evening for attendees to choose their dining options, but a large group (20+) decided to venture to Ipanema for a meat fest. After dinner a large group decided to hit the club for an informal night of partying, it was really great to see most of the group come out for this and even some guys who usually would never step foot into a nightclub scene”, Abdullovitch shared.
When Friday rolled around and it was time to head home, all of the guests left the resort with positive feedback and lots of brotherly love for the Betting Partners team. And the feeling was mutual.
“The entire event went very well. Partners were very happy with the hospitality and ‘VIP’ experience they received and were very grateful for being invited to Punta Cana. We got to spend more time with partners in an intimate setting and I really think it allowed us to strengthen our business and personal relationships with them, “Abdullovitch shared.
He added, “There were many ‘thank you’s’ from partners and more comments as to why we are the best affiliate program and that we know how to treat top partners”.
And here are some words from the affiliates themselves- congratulations on an outstanding performance this past year and here’s to an invite for next year!
-“Was a blast, had lots of fun and was cool to get to know other affiliates who are in the same space! Good times for sure. The affiliate race and activity day were awesome”. –SG, Topbettingreviews.com
-“A big thank you [to Betting Partners] for the awesome week in Punta Cana for the Affiliate Summit 2014. I was impressed with the presentations, the product roadmap, the casino winnings, and the great times. Memories were made for sure, and as usual it’s a great networking event”.–JD, oddsshark.com
-“It was great to hear how the business is going, as well as meet up with other affiliates. We learned a lot and it was a fun experience”.–AT& The Wiz, WizardofOdds.com
-“We had a blast! I can’t wait until next year’s event!. It was an honor and privilege to attend and to meet [The Betting Partners team] and other successful partners.” –KK, gambleonline.co
-“A terrific experience and a perfect balance between work and fun. Was good to find out more about the company too, where it is heading etc as well as to meet other affiliates, find out their views on things in the industry. Turned out I knew a couple of them already, but only ‘virtually’ through email, forums, deals etc, so that was pretty cool to put faces to the names as well as meet new people. Yeah, that Zip lining is something I will never forget!” – BJ, penny-slot-machines.com
-“I get excited anytime I’m invited to an affiliate meet up from Betting Partners. I know it’ll be an awesome time and great learning experience. It’s unlike any other event where you can learn about the company and the direction they are heading as well as network with other affiliates. I am very thankful for the trips they’ve invited me on and have memories that come up with friends back at home”. – JM, Gamblingsites.org