I watched most of the 2017 NBA Finals (Go Warriors!) on my 50-inch high-definition TV while sitting on my old, comfy couch. It doesn’t get much better than that. Unless of course I had tickets to the game and could sit courtside. In my opinion, there is simply no better experience than seeing a live sporting event – listening to the roar of the audience and feeling the tangible intensity from the players and coaches.
I recently had an opportunity to connect with Brett Reizen, President and CEO of Entertainment Benefits Group (EBG), the nation’s largest corporate travel and entertainment benefits program, which makes tickets to games and many other events a reality. Brett’s vision was to provide employees with special access to entertainment and fun at either exclusive discounts or special offers, and to make it easy for employers by consolidating thousands of amazing offers all in one place through its digital benefits program, TicketsatWork. The company was founded in 2001 and has grown from a start-up into a multi-million dollar business serving over 40,000 corporations and reaching more than 50 million employees nationwide. By contracting directly with the top entertainment and travel suppliers, EBG provides companies with unlimited access to exclusive offers for theme parks, shows, sporting events, concerts, tours, attractions, hotels, rental cars, retail gift cards and thousands of other products – allowing employees to save big as they plan their vacations or look for entertainment options. It really is fun – with benefits.
Here’s what we chatted about:
Can you tell me more about how you came up with the concept for TicketsatWork?
The concept for the business came at a time when the travel industry was reeling from the events of September 11, 2001. My vision was to bring fun, happiness and value back into the workplace. The goal was to create an innovative way to connect the world’s greatest travel and entertainment brands to businesses and their employees at an affordable price.
Developing a unique online platform and leveraging connections in the South Florida area – the company started small. Picking up a few clients, building relationships with entertainment and attraction partners and providing the best customer service possible, we established the groundwork for a business that had the potential to become hugely successful.
Fast forward 15 years, and TicketsatWork has become a household name for travel and entertainment “perks” that make a huge impact on the companies we serve. We’ve been able to grow and meet the demand of an ever-changing corporate landscape due to the strong, mutually beneficial partnerships we fostered with our supplier partners. By contracting directly with world-class travel and entertainment brands – such as Walt Disney World™, Universal Orlando Resort™, Broadway and Cirque du Soleil – we are able to provide our customers and clients with access to exclusive deals and special offers for theme parks, shows, sporting events, concerts, tours, attractions, hotels, rental cars, retails gift cards and thousands of other products across the country.
I’m also proud to say that we were able to grow our business over the past several years through the merger and acquisition (respectfully) of Plum Benefits and Working Advantage, and now serve over 40,000 companies and reach over 50 million employees. Together the three brands now make up our Corporate Programs Division.
Our growth and success is a direct result of our commitment to providing our customers (clients and employees) with access to the entertainment and travel products they need and want, while saving them money.
How does offering discounted tickets and special offers to top attractions, theme parks, shows, sporting events, concerts, movie tickets, hotels, etc., impact employee engagement?
The companies that TicketsatWork works with – many of which are featured on Fortune Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list – rely on our program to provide their employees with access to the things that employees want to experience. We have developed a company-sanctioned marketplace for employees to save money and get exclusive access to amazing experiences – this promotes a positive workplace culture, boosts employee happiness and aids in increased retention.
We add value to a company’s benefits package by supporting an employee’s desire for work-life balance, and we help businesses stand out among their competitors and be an employer of choice.
TicketsatWork is also successful for companies because employees love it. The platform provides something for everyone in the family. With thousands of products across the country to choose from, everyone from your grandma to your toddler will enjoy and benefit from so many great offers.
I love seeing all the great photos and memories our customers share with us of their experiences – it’s rewarding to know that we are helping people create lasting memories with family, friends and loved ones. In fact, that is our mission: to deliver memorable experiences.
Why did you choose to incorporate a Corporate Reward and Incentive Program as part of the benefits platform?
It was a natural extension of our business. With the growing importance of employee engagement and recognition, we knew we had to support our clients with a turnkey solution and innovative product that would meet their needs.
Recognition programs have become a top business priority for large corporations and small businesses alike because they directly impact a company’s bottom line by celebrating its biggest asset: their employees. Gone are the days when a competitive 401K package and annual bonuses were enough to keep employees satisfied. Individuals across generations, but especially the growing millennial workforce, are in search of “non-cash” rewards that they can emotionally connect with and share with their colleagues and friends.
With our intuitive Reward Management Solution, managers can plan, schedule and distribute rewards all in one platform. Additionally, companies have the ability to choose from multiple reward options, denominations and can customize messaging to reward or gift employees for any type of achievement or milestone, such as years of service, anniversaries, holidays, retirement, wellness, peer-to-peer recognition, philanthropy, promotions, birthdays or other meaningful occasions.
The best part about the program is that employees love it because it offers them choice. They can instantly redeem the rewards on TicketsatWork (Plum Benefits and Working Advantage) for all of the exclusive travel and entertainment deals including movie tickets, hotel stays, concerts and sporting events, and over 150+ retail gift cards.
The companies who have taken advantage of the program have seen a huge boost in employee engagement because it’s not another branded pen or mug that gets thrown into a drawer – employees value the reward and use it.
Can you tell us more about your partnership with Project: Time Off?
I first connected with members of Project: Time Off through a business colleague who thought our missions aligned so perfectly that we had to work together. And he happened to be right on target.
Project: Time Off is a nonprofit initiative that was born out of the U.S. Travel Association aimed at transforming America’s thinking and behavior about vacation time. The organization has done amazing work, and just recently released its 2017 State of American Vacation report.
54 percent of American didn’t take a vacation in 2017 – leading to 662 days going unused. We are proud to be partnering with the organization to promote the innumerable benefits of time off and reverse that trend by helping employees plan for vacations and save money by booking their hotel stay, theme park and water park tickets, concerts, tickets to their favorite NFL, NBA or MLB team, Broadway shows, Las Vegas productions or one of the hundreds of attractions that we have available in the top destinations across the country, offered through our Corporate Programs Division; TicketsatWork, Plum Benefits and Working Advantage.
The team from Project: Time Off will join us at SHRM Expo (booth #3047) on Monday, June 19, to answer any questions that attendees may have, and will take over our Twitter handle (@TicketsatWork) on Thursday, June 15, to answer questions about their recently released State of the American Vacation. In the meantime check out, Five Data-Driven Reasons Business Should Encourage Time Off.
Be sure to follow EBG and TicketsatWork to stay up to date on all the great happenings, giveaways and grand prize sweepstakes (hint: Universal Orlando Resort™) the team has planned for #SHRM17.