E.P.I.C. MOMENTS IN INCENTIVE TRAVEL
“Dude! Dad, that was EPIC!” My 9-year-old son’s reaction to The Hulk roller coaster at Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure made me crack a huge smile. And how could it not? He’d been too short the year before and couldn’t wait to ride it this year. But when he stood against the sign, he was just millimeters too short for the minimum height requirement. With some quick thinking and ingenuity, we improvised a small stack of cardboard we found near a snack bar and slipped them into each shoe for added height.
This was a moment of pure elevation, made possible by a little engineering.
In their New York Times bestselling book, The Power of Moments, authors Chip and Dan Heath explain their formula for engineering powerful moments in our lives. They admittedly hesitate in using the acronym EPIC, because epic is typically a word used to describe moments of heroic effort. “Epic seems too grandiose and too shallow all at once. Also, and this is a personal failing, we can’t read the word epic without imagining it being spoken by a stoned surfer dude. So, bottom line, if the EPIC acronym helps you remember the four elements [for creating powerful moments], please keep it with our compliments,” they conclude.
I love the EPIC acronym and love how it applies so clearly to what I’m trying to accomplish as a dad and as a professional incentive travel planner. So what does E.P.I.C. stand for?
E = Moments of Elevation
P = Moments of Pride
I = Moments of Insight
C = Moments of Connection
So when planning an event, either as a dad or as a pro, it’s a great idea to use this helpful formula. And let’s keep in mind, when we can create a moment that exhibits one or all of the elements of the EPIC formula, we boost the memorability of the “moment.” Let’s take a look at each one in turn.
Moments of Elevation
The Power of Moments explains Moments of Elevation this way: “Moments of elevation are experiences that rise above the everyday. Times to be savored. Moments that make us feel engaged, joyful, amazed, motivated. They are peaks.” To create a moment of elevation, we must focus on three of the following factors: “First, boost sensory appeal. Second, raise the stakes. Third, break the script.”
Incentive travel experiences must be engineered as Moments of Elevation so that we can tap into the emotional center of each guest. Instead of planning a nice meal in between basic vacation activities, in my career I’ve loved creating medieval dinners in ancient Irish Castles (breaking the script), BBQ lunches with a side of volleyball and snorkeling on Monuriki Island, Fiji where Tom Hanks filmed Castaway (boosted sensory appeal), and cocktails and dinner while watching others bungee jump off a bridge—and get peer-pressured into jumping too—at AJ Hackett’s Kawarau Bridge Bungy Centre (raised stakes).
As you create the recipe for your company’s next event or incentive travel experience, make sure to include Moments of Elevation as ingredient #1. It’s sure to pay off in a BIG way.